Apocalyptica: 7th Symphony

String-driven thing.

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There’s generally something wrong with novelty acts

Apocalyptica started life as a string quartet playing quasi-classical arrangements of Metallica songs. Their range expanded to include similar covers of Faith No More, Black Sabbath, Sepultura, and Pantera. Then, inevitably, original material crept in, some of which was surprisingly excellent, all culminating in 2007’s phenomenally good album Worlds Collide.

The momentum continues here, with more angular cello-centred metal featuring guest singers including Gavin Rossdale of Bush and Joe Duplantier of Gojira. It’s refreshing and – for a mainstream act – relatively free of clichés other than those that Apocalyptica themselves have created.

Tommy Udo

Allan McLachlan spent the late 70s studying politics at Strathclyde University and cut his teeth as a journalist in the west of Scotland on arts and culture magazines. He moved to London in the late 80s and started his life-long love affair with the metropolitan district as Music Editor on City Limits magazine. Following a brief period as News Editor on Sounds, he went freelance and then scored the high-profile gig of News Editor at NME. Quickly making his mark, he adopted the nom de plume Tommy Udo. He moved onto the NME's website, then Xfm online before his eventual longer-term tenure on Metal Hammer and associated magazines. He wrote biographies of Nine Inch Nails and Charles Manson. A devotee of Asian cinema, Tommy was an expert on 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano and co-wrote an English language biography on the Japanese actor and director. He died in 2019.