You know things are going well when you can sell out a 12,000-capacity arena playing a set made up of material that’s both brand new and entirely instrumental. For pioneering Finnish cello-metallers Apocalyptica, the 200th birthday of composer Richard Wagner was just such an occasion, which they commemorated with a spectacular theatrical performance including 14 tracks written by founding member Eicca Toppinen.
It’s all original material inspired by Wagner and incorporating re-interpretations of his most well-known music. Flying Dutchman is impressively heavy, Birth Pain is a mournful slow-burner while Ludwig – Wonderland is a thrilling display of technical prowess.
While 14 instrumental tracks may not be able to hold everyone’s attention, it’s a testament to Apocalyptica’s insane talent that they could pull this off at all, and the album represents a welcome return to their roots that diehard fans and lovers of all things dark and beautiful will enjoy from beginning to end.