One thing that cello-wielding virtuosos Apocalyptica can be relied upon for is variety: with an impressive roster of previous guest vocalists from Corey Taylor to Till Lindemann, the Finns have certainly come a long way since Plays Metallica By Four Cellos.
So for a band who could probably enlist just about anyone to sing on their eighth studio album, Shadowmaker, their decision to use just one singer – Franky Perez, former guitarist of Scars On Broadway – is a potentially genius move, but nevertheless presents a bit of a conundrum. Picking out a single vocal style to fit their sound was never going to be easy, and takes away a huge aspect of the band’s appeal.
That said, however, Franky is a brilliant singer, evident as soon as Cold Blood kicks in, and takes the music in a more modern direction. With some Myles Kennedy-esque soul in his voice, he delivers an emotive performance on the excellent, moody Hole In My Soul, while still leaving room for some incredible riffing from Eicca Toppinen and co on stunning instrumentals Till Death Do Us Part and Riot Lights.
It’s a strong standalone album, but whether or not this is the sound of Apocalyptica’s future remains to be seen./o:p