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Apocalyptica - "Worlds Collide" (CD)

Apocalyptica - "Worlds Collide" CD cover image

"Worlds Collide" track listing:

1. Worlds Collide
2. Grace
3. I'm Not Jesus
4. Ion
5. Helden
6. Stroke
7. Last Hope
8. I Don't Care
9. Burn
10. S.O.S (Anything But Love)
11. Peace

Reviewed by on November 22, 2007

"they have proven time and time again that they can write heavy songs with complex arrangements and still kick ass...on four cellos"

Once again, Apocalyptica's latest album is out in Europe months before the U.S. release. "Worlds Collide" marks their sixth studio album, and how far they have come since their first effort covering Metallica songs with four cellos.

Since "Reflections" (two albums ago), Apocalyptica has added drums as a full-time feature, changing the dynamic of their songs somewhat. For the most part, "Worlds Collide" is a natural progression of their last couple of albums, featuring drums and a more classical composition than in their earlier efforts. "Worlds Collide" does have some heavier moments, as well, and when the band retreats to the typical low-end of their cellos with moderate distortion, they also tend to sound more industrial in this latest effort.

The guest musicians on this album are a marked improvement and more metal than on past efforts. Apocalyptica has increased the number of songs featuring vocals to four on "Worlds Collide." Guest vocalists include Corey Taylor (Slipknot, Stone Sour), Till Lindemann (Rammstein), Adam Gontier (Three Days Grace) and Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil). Dave Lombardo is also once again featured on drums for the song "Last Hope." After "Reflections" and their self-titled effort, I was highly skeptical of further use of vocals by the band, but two of these songs on "Worlds Collide" have become my favorites and all of them are excellent single-quality (as is likely their intent).

The first two tracks are fairly consistent with what one would come to expect from Apocalyptica in recent years (with the addition of drums, as previously stated). "Worlds Collide" is a classical-sounding piece with well-executed heavy parts. "Grace" starts out with some heavy strumming of the cello before embarking on a somewhat fast-paced but more melodic song. A dose of guitar is added to the song by Tomoyasu Hotei, but while noticable, the guitars mostly play in line with the cellos and blend very well.

Both "Ion" and "Burn" sound more reminiscent of the band's "Cult"-era material with their outright heaviness, "Ion" being the most similar with its mid-paced and somewhat discordant sound and fewer symphonic effects. "Stroke" really stands out as an excellent track, alternating between heavy and symphonic, keeping a decent pace all the while.

"Last Hope" deviates from traditional Apocalyptica by making use of heavier drums--by none other than Slayer's Dave Lombardo--and the overall effect is that the song is heavier than ever. The drums drive the pace faster and the band breaks out with some extra heavy "riffs" as well as squelching leads and even a solo.

Of the vocal tracks, David Bowie's "Helden" ("Heroes" sung in German), which is sung by Rammstein's Till Lindemann is excellent. The song takes on a gothic-yet-upbeat sound (in a gothic/doomy sense) that reminds me of Type O Negative without the heavily-distorted guitars. Surprisingly, this is one song that doesn't sound the least bit industrial, despite featuring the frontman from Rammstein. "I Don't Care," featuring Adam Grontier of Three Days Grace, is the best candidate for a rock radio single. The song carries a depressing tone and slight grunge feeling to the main riff, sounding like a modern piece of grunge-inspired radio rock with a certain uniqueness that others don't possess. I found this track very enjoyable and well-produced despite its accessible, mainstream sound.

I did not find the other two vocal tracks as enjoyable, however. The first single, "I'm Not Jesus," featuring Corey Taylor, is an odd piece musically and makes use of his lighter Stone Sour style singing that I don't care for. It follows a fairly typical song structure however-- low/simple music during verses, build up in music and vocals, to chorus with a mid-song extended, upbeat. "S.O.S. (Anything But Love)," featuring Lacuna Coil's Cristina Scabbia, simply missed the mark for me both in the singing and lyrics. The vocals lead the song down its path and the music plays more of a supporting role.

Overall, Apocalyptica's "Worlds Collide" is a pleasant surprise and favorite album since "Cult" from this long-time favorite of mine. The band clearly is not exactly heavy metal, but since covering Metallica songs over ten years ago, they have proven time and time again that they can write heavy songs with complex arrangements and still kick ass...on four cellos. Rest assured that "Worlds Collide" is filled with plenty of heaviness to appease most fans of the band's older material.

Highs: A solid album with better non-instrumental songs and heavier songs in general than the past two albums

Lows: Two of the songs with vocals: "I'm Not Jesus" and "S.O.S. (Anything But Love)," just don't do it for me

Bottom line: Apocalyptica can still rock on four cellos and have produced another excellent album in "Worlds Collide"

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)