"Headbangers Symphony"

(Nuclear Blast)

01. Scherzo (Beethoven)
02. Night on Bald Mountain (Mussorgsky)
03. Je Crois Entendre Encore (Bizet)
04. Double Cello Concerto in G Minor (Vivaldi)
05. Adagio (Albinoni)
06. Symphony No. 40 (Mozart)
07. Swan Lake (Tchaikovsky)
08. Madame Butterfly (Puccini)
09. Pathétique (Beethoven)
10. Meditation (Massenet)
11. Air on the G String (Bach)

RATING: 8/10

By now, the correlations between classical music and heavy metal have long been understood by the masses, foremost through guitarists. From metal, The Great Kat and Yngwie Malmsteen being two obvious classical devotees; ACCEPT's Wolf Hoffmann is another. While ACCEPT was sitting on the wayside before staging a brilliant comeback, Hoffmann let his inner Ravel (Bolero's composer) run wild with his 1997 solo album, "Classical". On that album, Wolf did the unthinkable by turning "Bolero" into a freeform blues ride.

Almost two decades later, Hoffmann returns to the orchestral forum with "Headbangers Symphony", another set of guitar-railed interpretations of the old masters. This time, his thrashing, bass-bombed take on Beethoven's "Pathetique" is a mosher's delight with the novelty of philharmonics giving the human whirlpool added loft.

For "Headbangers Symphony", Hoffman pulls from the classical repertoire Beethoven's "Scherzo" and "Pathetique", Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake", Puccini's "Madame Butterfly", Bach's "Air On the G String", Vivaldi's "Double Cello Concerto in G Minor", Mussogorsky's "Night On Bald Mountain", Bizet's "Je Crois Entendre Encore", Albinoni's "Adagio" and Symphony No. 40 by Mozart, considered by some to be the music world's first true metalhead.

Even a classical music newcomer will be able to recognize and rock out with Wolf on this album. Mozart and Beethoven alone leaving us some of the most distinguishable building block harmonies for future generations, Wolf Hoffman's tasteful (and sometimes freestyled) salute makes it more than just another "shredding to the classics" exercise.

"A Clockwork Orange" fans will enjoy Hoffmann's squealing rip through Beethoven's "Scherzo", which he makes his own by soloing like a madman with the core refrain churning behind him. Coming close to double-timing Mussogorsky's "Night on Bald Mountain", Wolf lets his drums whisk the rhythm so that he efficiently moves through it in 4:22 as he does with Vivaldi in 3:31.

Embracing the slower, romantic measures of Albinoni, Bach and Bizet, Wolf Hoffmann sways elegant impressions overtop the unwound melodies. His passages from "Swan Lake" will not only ring familiar of Tchaikovsky, it will identify no less than a hundred power metal and symphonic metal sequences, debts from all paid here by Wolf.

You just know The Great Kat's gonna have an ear-gouging response to this album!


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