Wagner Reloaded: Live In Leipzig
I’ve been a fan of Apocalyptica ever since the release of their debut album, Plays Metallica With Four Cellos and have been keeping tabs on them for many years now. The band slowly but surely changed their approach by adding a real drummer and later real guitars. Then they started adding vocals and have worked with some of metal and rock’s most treasured artists. Sure, at this point one can play the “sold out” card, but then again, what else could they have really done with just four cellos? And that brings us into the band’s latest release, which seems to cover a slew of tracks from the orchestral composer Richard Wagner in a way that only Apocalyptica could.
But here is my problem, and I’m sure it’s one that has been well addressed by quite a few Wagner fans already. For those of us who wanted to hear an even more aggressive approach to a man’s music that has historically been known to “shake the rafters” in size and scope (word had it that his orchestra was one of the loudest ever conceived, making him a godfather of heavy metal in that regard), I really have to say that the band picked some rather wimpy tracks to cover and they didn’t do him much justice with their renditions either. I’m definitely a man of many tastes, classical certainly being one of them, yet I’m terribly upset to see that only “The Flying Dutchman” and “Path In Life” have been done complete and total justice by the band. But where is “Ride Of The Valkyries,” or the ultimate classic, “O, Fortuna?” Of course, you could hear Therion’s version, which is remarkable, but I would’ve loved to hear Apocalyptica take it on. Another thing that I didn’t like about this album is that they took a lot of Wagner’s music and spliced it together, creating tracks like “Stormy Wagner” for example. It just didn’t suit my fancy at all.
And that is another thing I would like to bring up, as this “heavy metal performed with a live orchestra” is something that I’ve already heard from bands like Therion, but of course, they also used the choirs. It’s also a bit like the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which decided to cash out on Christmas music, having first written two under-appreciated albums based on Beethoven and Clockwork Orange. Though there is still quite a bit of cello performance and the production quality of the recording is so clean that you can’t even tell it’s a live show; I believe I might be one of the only people who expected more from this album. I felt that the riffs were bit bland and there just wasn’t enough melody on the guitar end. Plus, there are as I’ve previous said, far too many lukewarm tracks on the piece for me. I guess that I expected something a bit more abrasive, as it’s a combination of metal and orchestral might. When I spoke with a friend about this one and described the concept behind it, he only replied: “Aren’t they good for that sort of thing?” and my response to that question was the soul crushing, “Well, I thought so too.” (Eric May)
Purchase Wagner Reloaded: Live In Leipzig here: www.apocalyptica.com/en/wagner-reloaded