7th Symphony review by Apocalyptica

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  • Released: Aug 23, 2010
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.6 (35 votes)
Apocalyptica: 7th Symphony
3

Sound — 9
Three years have passed since Finland's stringed tour de force Apocalyptica released its previous full-length Worlds Collide, but its latest venture remains fairly consistent with its predecessor. 7th Symphony balances the band's two favorite musical genres classical and heavy metal and in the process proves that both can come across equally as heavy. Included this time around are four vocalists (the same number utilized on the last album), each having a quite distinctive, powerful sound that gives the songs unique identities. There are a few moments that lean toward a more traditional, rock-driven approach and the orchestral instrumentation gets lost in the mix, but that musical choice in some ways gives 7th Symphony a more unpredictable sound. The album opens with the powerful, gritty instrumental At The Gates of Manala, which highlights the string section and the distortion-driven rhythm section equally. It's in songs like that one where Apocalyptica (cellists Eicca Toppinen, Paavo Ltjnen, Perttu Kivilaakso, and drummer Mikko Sirn) can truly show its range, unrestrained by the limitations that a vocal-driven song might contain. It takes a fairly different approach to Worlds Collide's title track (the opener on the previous record), which relied strongly on a more subdued, eerie cinematic style. Both are effective because of the incredible proficiency of the musicians/songwriters involved, but At The Gates Of Manala may be more at home with the metal crowd. The vocal tracks always carry a much different feeling that the instrumentals, possibly because they are the ones that will eventually be deemed hit-single/Billboard material. While Gavin Rossdale is a competent singer and Gojira's Joseph Duplantier provides his own vocal punch, the standouts are Shinedown's Brent Smith and Flyleaf's Lacey Mosley. The latter two singers simply have a range and power that matches Apocalyptica's instrumental versatility. Slayer's Dave Lombardo once again makes an appearance as a guest drummer on one of the tracks, in this case 2010, and his distinctive power is an asset to the song. What is always refreshing about Apocalyptica, however, is that they are never afraid to take the tempo down, turn off the amps, and write an absolutely gorgeous classical string piece. The highlight on this record is undoubtedly Sacra, a solemn and sorrowful instrumental that is simply breathtaking.

Lyrics — 8
While there are only four tracks with vocals on 7th Symphony, pretty much all of them do revolve around love/passion/heartbreak. Broken Pieces is about the fear of losing someone, while Not Strong Enough is more geared toward those who are torn between pleasure and pain. Because of Apocalyptica's grandiose sound, they could have easily taken the path of a lot of melodic metal bands (singing about apocalypse, death, and/or possibly dragons), but they take a more traditional approach in regards to its lyrical content.

Overall Impression — 9
7th Symphony is a multi-faceted release, as is the case with most of Apocalyptica's catalog. Yes, you have some songs that do work as your staple radio singles, but on the other hand you have selections that could head to head with Samuel Barber's Adagio For Strings (that insanely sad composition heard in movies like Platoon). At times one almost wishes that Apocalyptica would delve even deeper into that classical side, but when it comes to the live show, there is something to be said about seeing cellos emit a bevy of brutal tones.

18 comments sorted by best / new / date

    EpiExplorer
    there is something to be said about seeing cellos emit a bevy of brutal tones
    I'm really tempted to say something like 'Eat turd and diiiiie' but that quote is kinda true... But I dont get why UG reviews a CD on THE DAY ITS BEEN RELEASED. Also the song with that flyleaf girl is lame. 'Bring them to light' is pure brilliance though.
    gorundur
    Just because a CD got relesed doesn't mean that the UG-Team didn't get a copy from the production before. Thats actually usual this way so that the media can spread words for the marketing of the CD.
    crazysam23_Atax
    Jhnny wrote: multipleofone wrote: I wish they would stick to instrumentals and not Nickelback-esque radio rock tunes Agreed, the vocals ruin the whole idea of the band... Their instrumental songs are pure brilliance and what Apocalyptica should sound like, but the songs with vocals... meh...
    I agree 100%. Although, I would be interested in hearing the song Lacey Mosley sang on. She's a good singer.
    Hajoxsu
    This album is my favorite album by Apocalyptica, and all the songs with vocalists are amazing. Better than any of their other songs with vocalists. Apocalyptica just keeps getting better and better. They really are the cello gods.
    PlectrumTheory
    Gyoung1991 wrote: EpiExplorer wrote: duncang m : ...yeah. Why do you think UG's any different? POSTED: 08/23/2010 - 07:42 am / quote | Linkerman : I've heard something about the song "Sacra" having Portuguese influences, and being inspired by the Portuguese discoveries... I definitely can hear it in the track, but if it's true they were thinking of Portugal when they wrote it or not, i don't know. But if it's true, it's pretty awesome! Can't wait to see them live here in Portugal on the 14th of October! I purchased the ticket months ago, so the expectations are building higher and higher... POSTED: 08/23/2010 - 08:16 am / quote | rocker222 : its a great album 7-10 POSTED: 08/23/2010 - 10:48 am / quote | wrote: ...yeah. Why do you think UG's any different? This is why we should employ people to say what is wrong in the world. They did in the 1600's, lulz.. What are you saying...
    I'm Covinced he might not know whats going on.... Any ways probably going to check this out...
    Gyoung1991
    EpiExplorer wrote: duncang m : ...yeah. Why do you think UG's any different? POSTED: 08/23/2010 - 07:42 am / quote | Linkerman : I've heard something about the song "Sacra" having Portuguese influences, and being inspired by the Portuguese discoveries... I definitely can hear it in the track, but if it's true they were thinking of Portugal when they wrote it or not, i don't know. But if it's true, it's pretty awesome! Can't wait to see them live here in Portugal on the 14th of October! I purchased the ticket months ago, so the expectations are building higher and higher... POSTED: 08/23/2010 - 08:16 am / quote | rocker222 : its a great album 7-10 POSTED: 08/23/2010 - 10:48 am / quote | wrote: ...yeah. Why do you think UG's any different? This is why we should employ people to say what is wrong in the world. They did in the 1600's, lulz..
    What are you saying...
    Teodor
    1. At the Gates of Manala - "Manala" is actually a club/bar in Helsinki...the song is interesting, with some really odd time signatures. It does get a little burdensome to listen to after a while. 2. End of Me - Gavin Rossdale from Bush guests on this track, and it's a decent track overall, but it's too radio-friendly (Apocalyptica said it was inspired by Foo Fighters?) and not very Apo-like. 3. Not Strong Enough - Brent from Shinedown guests on this track and his vocals are always very impressive; this track is very reminiscent of "I don't care" off of Worlds Collide. 4. 2010 - the mandatory Lombardo track on the record; it's drum-gasmic, it's heavy, and it's fun. 5. Beautiful - a short classical piece; very somber and relaxing. 6. Broken Pieces - Lacey from Flyleaf guests on this track, and she delivers some interesting vocals. Probably the most mainstream track on the record, but it's still better than "End of Me." 7. On the Rooftop - electronic-sounding piece with a heavy interlude; reminiscent of "Cohkka". 8. Bring them to Light - a fun heavy track featuring Joe from Gojira. 9. Sacra - the true gem of the record; a slow and hypnotizing track that slowly draws you into its wanderings. 10. Rage of Poseidon - a continuation of the thematic substance of "Manala," "Poseidon" is the weaker of the two. Overall, "7th Symphony" is a solid effort; compared to albums like "Cult" it's definitely not up to par in terms of complexity and originality, but compared to "Worlds Collide" it's a definite improvement.
    palm mute
    multipleofone wrote: I wish they would stick to instrumentals and not Nickelback-esque radio rock tunes
    Exactly, I love their first three albums for that reason. Nothing but well done covers and some pretty good originals on those. The track with Gojira's Joe Duplantier is interesting, but it's not as amazing as it could/should be. Rage of Poseidon is pretty good, alot better than anything on World's Collide atleast. Overall a decent album (minus the vocal tracks), but not as good as I think they are capable of
    Jøhnny
    multipleofone wrote: I wish they would stick to instrumentals and not Nickelback-esque radio rock tunes
    Agreed, the vocals ruin the whole idea of the band... Their instrumental songs are pure brilliance and what Apocalyptica should sound like, but the songs with vocals... meh...
    EpiExplorer
    duncang m : ...yeah. Why do you think UG's any different? POSTED: 08/23/2010 - 07:42 am / quote | Linkerman : I've heard something about the song "Sacra" having Portuguese influences, and being inspired by the Portuguese discoveries... I definitely can hear it in the track, but if it's true they were thinking of Portugal when they wrote it or not, i don't know. But if it's true, it's pretty awesome! Can't wait to see them live here in Portugal on the 14th of October! I purchased the ticket months ago, so the expectations are building higher and higher... POSTED: 08/23/2010 - 08:16 am / quote | rocker222 : its a great album 7-10 POSTED: 08/23/2010 - 10:48 am / quote | wrote: ...yeah. Why do you think UG's any different?
    This is why we should employ people to say what is wrong in the world. They did in the 1600's, lulz..
    Linkerman
    I've heard something about the song "Sacra" having Portuguese influences, and being inspired by the Portuguese discoveries... I definitely can hear it in the track, but if it's true they were thinking of Portugal when they wrote it or not, i don't know. But if it's true, it's pretty awesome! Can't wait to see them live here in Portugal on the 14th of October! I purchased the ticket months ago, so the expectations are building higher and higher...
    EpiExplorer
    duncang m : EpiExplorer wrote: But I dont get why UG reviews a CD on THE DAY ITS BEEN RELEASED. You really believe that's what happens? POSTED: 08/23/2010 - 06:56 am / quote | wrote: EpiExplorer wrote: But I dont get why UG reviews a CD on THE DAY ITS BEEN RELEASED. You really believe that's what happens?
    Random epic quoting, yay. I'm just saying it gives a wierd impression. Unless I'm mistaken in this case, most reviewing boards/critics get the CD like, a week in advance or whatever..
    duncang
    EpiExplorer wrote: But I dont get why UG reviews a CD on THE DAY ITS BEEN RELEASED.
    You really believe that's what happens?