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Apocalyptica: Apocalyptica Plays Metallica By Four Cellos; Mercury 532707 2
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The Independent Culture
Rock music has always had a shaky relationship with its classical counterpart, ever since the likes of Deep Purple and ELO tried to force the two forms together in the early Seventies. In those days, classical rock (dread phrase!) was invariably a doomed attempt to do rock versions of classical pieces. The results were never fair to either form.

Apocalyptica are also conservatory-trained - four young cellists from Finland's prestigious Sibelius Academy - but there the comparisons end. Crucially, the flow of ideas works in reverse here, with the group applying classical methods to rock songs. Bizarrely, it works.

Metallica are the perfect subject for such a project. Compared to most poodle-haired metallists, their music has always had a sombre, deadly serious tone, and been more concerned with looming emotional power than sheer speed and technique. Transposed to four cellos, the stately, almost courtly nature of tunes such as "Master of Puppets" and "Creeping Death" is revealed. Sleevenotes list each musician's make of instrument, bow and strings - a nice ironic pastiche of those interminable equipment lists on prog-rock albums. Do you suppose Guiseppe Pedrazzini or Louis Guerzan offer sponsorship deals, like Fender and Yamaha?

ANDY GILL

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