Classy Classical Metal . . .
Transcribed by Odyssey Music on 22 July 2016 and conducted by Brian McGowan
The original release in 1996, from Finnish cello quartet, Apocalyptica, was hammered for its “poor production values”. 20 years later that criticism’s been turned into an opportunity. Remastered now, giving it a new improved sound – with 3 bonus tracks adding a 30% extra marketing boost – Plays Metallica now sounds like it should have done to begin with.
Yes, it’s scratchy in places, but only where it should be, like on 1982’s ‘Seek And Destroy’, a string driven reminder of Metallica’s garage rock roots. Otherwise, the technical revision buffs up this small scale classical account of Heavy Metal’s biggest band, and has the music shimmering and shining with a warm, natural glow.
Where Metallica’s own symphonic metal aberration, S&M, sounded like a band v orchestra tag match, Apocalyptica’s album digs down into the music, uncovering texture and intensity, the type of stuff that lends itself to classical translation – crisply and clearly articulating the older, more complex material, like ‘Master Of Puppets’ and ‘Creeping Death’. And like their Croation counterparts, 2 Cellos, they show a tutored ear for the finer points as well as a firm grasp of the essentials. These are mandatory skills for any classical quartet attempting to interpret Thrash genre classics like ‘Welcome Home’ or adding a pizzicato undertow to bonus track, ‘Battery’. And perhaps especially to do genuine justice to the heavier chord progressions on more recent material, like ‘The Unforgiven’, and the bleak and barren ‘Enter Sandman’.
Unlike the real thing, as the last track fades, you don’t check yourself for bruises, instead you might just celebrate a genre crossover that will work for fans of Metallica as well as this talented cello quartet.
8 out of 10
- Enter Sandman
- Master Of Puppets
- Harvester Of Sorrow
- The Unforgiven
- Sad But True
- Creeping Death
- Wherever I May Roam
- Welcome Home
- Battery (bonus track)
- Nothing Else Matters (bonus track)
- Seek And Destroy (bonus track)