Apocalyptica – Cell-0



Silver Lining Music

Release: January 10, 2020


There is something invigorating in getting lost in instrumental melodies. No words, just sounds! And such a treat is exactly what Finnish metal band Apocalyptica are delivering on their ninth studio album, “Cell-0”, which was released on January 10 via Silver Lining Music. “Cell-0” marks a return to the roots for the band as this is their first fully instrumental album since 2003’s “Reflections”. 


Commenting on the album, founding member Eicca Toppinen stated that “Cell-0 represents the core of everything. For us it is a particle that symbolizes the essence of all. That is to say, where everything comes from and where everything ends up…”. If their Metallica covers took the metal scene by storm and surprise in 1996, it is their original compositions that earned them a well-deserved spot in the limelight.



Ashes of the modern world



En route to mayhem

Call my name

Fire & ice

Scream for the silent


Beyond the stars


 And listening to this album is easy to understand why, as each of the 9 tracks on “Cell-0” has a personality and a story all of its own, so to say. And this is a feat not many bands can achieve, as “Cell-0” is a diverse and varied album, with captivating melodies and hooks that run the full gamut of emotions and feelings. All this with just sounds, no lyrics. As Perttu Kivilaakso explains “it is tough to express without lyrics, but in Cell-0 we found particles of our universe previously unknown to us. Millions of notes combine to create music just as millions of cells combine to create life, and when you visualize the whole thing, similar patterns appear”. Opening the album on a somber note, “Ashes of the modern world” (love this title, by the way) feels like the soundtrack to a world going insane, with its fast-paced playing and intense build-ups. The added war drums on this track reinforce this sensation creating a whirlwind of sounds and moods. The tempestuous yet classy “Cell-0” feels like an orchestral piece in several acts (or movements) each with its own feels and moods, with a marching theme to it. Also I find Mikko Sirén’s drumming in this one to be perfect. Both the thrashy “En route to mayhem” as well as the cinematic “Rise” feel more like classic Apocalyptica in terms of style and arrangements, as well as in its delivery. The difference is that “En route to mayhem” is brutal but also sensitive, while “Rise” is more tranquil and serene even in its more upbeat parts.

 Soft and delicate but also punchy and robust “Call my name” has this sublime beauty to it that is hard to put into words. It just transports you into another world altogether. The Celtic influenced “Fire & ice” continue this journey into another world, elevating everything to another level, mainly thanks to Troy Donockley’s Uilleann pipes taking central stage for the first part, while the middle section is pure drama and chaos. I kind of wish they had the pipes throughout this track, though I get the duality of “Fire & ice”, the dance between light and dark, the balance of yin and yang. The intense “Scream for the silent” has some piano lines mixed in for an added dose of melody, while the crescendo of this track adds to the sense of theatricality that envelops this album. The mournful opening notes of “Catharsis” soon give way to more piano melodies that counterbalance the cellos and drums, making for an atmospheric piece of music. The epic “Beyond the stars” closes the album with an elegant display of virtuosity and craftsmanship, from the cello melodies to the lush piano arrangements to the drum fills.    

Exploring the versatility of the cello to the maximum, the quartet created music that is both heavy and meaningful, managing to capture the essence of what Apocalyptica stands for while also creating a sonic universe that won’t unravel itself in the absence of lyrics and vocals, as the notes provide the listener with emotions and melodies galore. What these Finns have done with only cellos and drums has to be heard to be fully appreciated.


Rating: 9.5 / 10








By Andrea


Eicca Toppinen – Cello

Perttu Kivilaakso – Cello

Paavo Lötjönen – Cello

Mikko Sirén – Drums

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