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51ZKix1zQ2L. SL500 AA300 There’s a part of me that still prefers the oldAPOCALYPTICA, as in the cello-playing quartet of Finnish metallers, whipping their hair around while performing covers of Metallica, Faith No More, and Pantera. That said, the current incarnation of the band still manages to delight, despite carrying a sound that doesn’t quite feel like the band I initially came to enjoy – instead blending more into a “symphonic metal” realm as opposed to a unique flavor of organic sounds.

On their seventh studio album, appropriately entitled 7th SYMPHONY, the band has continued it’s recent tradition of featuring guest vocalists on four tracks while keeping an instrumental focus for the rest of the album.

Unfortunately, it’s always the four vocalized tracks in which Apocalyptica loses it’s true voice – that held within it’s instrumentation. As with their past couple of albums, the inevitable radio singles are those which feature the guests (here it’s BUSH frontman Gavin Rossdale, SHINEDOWN’s Brent Smith, Lacey of FLYLEAF, and Joseph Duplantier of GOJIRA), and thus diminish the true spirit of the band. The bottom line is that these songs sound more like the bands from which the vocalists came, rather than Apocalyptica.

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“End of Me” could easily be mistaken for a single from the forthcoming album from the reunited/revamped BUSH, while “Broken Pieces” is bound to prompt radio listeners to bombard stations with phone calls asking “When is that new FLYLEAF coming out?”

The instrumental tracks are stellar as always (SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo even stops by on “2010”), with songs like “Rage of Poseidon,” “On the Rooftop with Quasimodo,” and “Beautiful” capturing a cinematic vibe full of lush strings and crushing power.

With that, listeners grabbed by the aforementioned singles will likely be surprised by the other six songs on the album, but hopefully not turned away.

Rating: 3/5

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