Apocalyptica Cult

The story has been told in many different versions over the years, and it goes a little like this: band is formed, band plays a bunch of covers to get noticed, band gets noticed, bands gets signed and writes own material. It's here that the story hits an obvious fork in the road (i.e. their original stuff sucks, or not). Like I said, this story has been lived out a million times, but possibly never with as much fanfare and pretension as on Cult, Apocalyptica's third album. The young Finnish foursome are talented cello players who couple their love for bombastic classical music with Metallica. Their first album was all Metallica covers, strange sounding, but damn good versions of a variety of Hetfield/Ulrich faves. Their second featured an expansion into other metal bands and some original stuff, and Cult is primarily original works with a quick nod to "Until it Sleeps" and "Fight Fire With Fire." What of this original stuff? Truth be told, Eicca Toppinen and his cohorts are really influenced by Hetfield and co. You can just picture vintage-era Metallica (think Master of Puppets) belting out many of the melodies and thunderous riffs found in tracks like "Path," "Pray!," "Kaamos" and "Hyperventilation." The four cellists work well together in dissecting and reconstructing traditional metal sounds, and display alternate ways of creating a heavy atmosphere. For example, lower register bow/string abuse coupled with the darkest sounding melodies harmonised to all Hades. All without drums, mind you. A neat change of paces for the electric guitar weary metal fan. (Universal)