APOCALYPTICA
"Worlds Collide"

(Sony/BMG)

01. Worlds Collide
02. Grace
03. I'm Not Jesus
04. Ion
05. Helden
06. Stroke
07. Last Hope
08. I Don't Care
09. Burn
10. S.O.S (Anything But Love)
11. Peace

RATING: 8/10

While they'll most likely always be known to many as that band that plays METALLICA songs on cellos, APOCALYPTICA has been making great strides over the past decade or so to shake the novelty of being a cover band. By bringing a full-time drummer into the fold and utilizing effects such as distortion and wah pedal, the Finns have successfully solidified themselves as a legitimate metal band. Their latest effort, "Worlds Collide" gives what is quickly becoming a stagnant and bland mainstream metal scene a much-needed kick in the ass.

While previous efforts have seen a known talent or two step in and make a contribution, over half the tracks on "Worlds Collide" feature guest musicians. Unfortunately, half of those do more harm than good. The album's lead single, "I'm No Jesus" features SLIPKNOT/STONE SOUR frontman Corey Taylor in a performance that could have very easily found in spot on the singer's unmasked musical outlet. This song, and the Adam Gontier (THREE DAYS GRACE) led "I Don't Care" made me wonder if the vocalists were contributing to an APOCALYPTICA album, or vice versa. Cristina Scabbia's vocal on "S.O.S (Anything But Love)" fits alongside the cellist's inherently dark tones, but I still feel like I'm listening to LACUNA COIL. A wildly unique take on David Bowie's "Heroes" (listed as "Helden" and sung in German by RAMMSTEIN's Till Lindeman) is by far the best non-instrumental track featured on the disc. A truly haunting collaboration indeed. Contributions from SLAYER skin-pounder Dave Lombardo ("Last Hope") and Japanese guitarist/actor "Hotei Tomoyasu ("Grace") are nothing short of awe-inspiring as the musicians work together towards a common and innovative goal, instead forcing the cellists to write towards the guest artist as the vocalists seemed to do. As for the rest of "Worlds Collide", expect some of the most progressive, yet still highly accessible and ear-pleasing metal put to tape in sometime. The title track and "Ion" attack with the intensity of an insane 17th century composer who's been shot forward to present day and dropped in the midst of a SOULFLY rehearsal. Album closer "Peace" delivers a more traditional sounding cello melody, but still features some very metal undertones.

I've always thought the cello was tailor-made for metal. Even when played in a traditional manner, the instrument's dark and foreboding sound seem a perfect fit for a genre built around negative emotion. Whether or not APOCALYPTICA will ever become that bridge that allows free passage between metal and the rest of the musical universe remains to be seen, but until then all of us open-minded horn-throwers out there can just sit back and enjoy.

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