Cult [Bonus Track]

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Fans who remember Apocalyptica from its first two albums might have suspected that the four Finnish cellists would fade into obscurity after their stock of Metallica covers ran dry. Sure, the shtick worked well while it lasted, but the irony of classically trained cellists covering heavy metal will only hold listeners' attention for so long. This is why, on their third album, they've taken some risks. The ensemble has grown to feature a double bass, orchestral percussion, and distorted cellos. Plus, they stick strickly to their own songs, and, at a time when heavy metal has gone the way of dodo birds and disco, they've refused to abandon their roots. Cult, Apocalyptica's third album, is a meld of late-'80s melodramatic heavy metal and late-1800s romanticism. When it's all said and done, these Finns can flat out play. "Struggle" opens up with eerie insect noises and then pounces into a section that sounds eerily like Sepultura. Some of the harmonies on "Pray" are so cleverly placed they can be mistaken for a human voice for the first few notes. Every song is an epic, and every song is dark and heavy. It's not old school Metallica, but it is some of the most intelligent, original heavy metal being made today. ~ Kieran McCarthy, Rovi

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