The first thing we need to take into account is collaborations. Now, being a group of cellists, they've relied on guest musicians and vocalists to help complete albums, with past outings featuring COREY TAYLOR, VILLE VALO and CHRISTINA SCABBIA to name but a few. Whereas the big name draws are impressive in their own right, each album has felt more like a project of sorts, so here we find them trying something new; sticking to one vocalist…former SCARS ON BROADWAY guitarist FRANKY PEREZ. After a brief intro; “I-III-V Seed Of Chaos”, we first hear him on “Cold Blood” and for all intents and purposes it’s a decent, catchy rock song. The instrumental ability of the Finn’s often means you forget they’re playing cellos and despite being an enjoyable listen, doesn't really feel like it’s an Apocalyptica track…it’s quite generic in that sense.
The title track offers up the more atmospheric, drawn-out style of play we've grown to love. At over seven minutes long, it’s a mixed bag of treats. You've got your slower, brooding portions of the song, the chorus is big, it’s bold, with a slight melancholic tinge allowing for a dynamic listen, and when the Finn’s let rip with their bows it’s simply majestic. Such a welcome return to your eardrums… “Slow Burn” and “Hole In My Soul” are again, pleasant listens too, allowing you get accustomed to Perez’ vocals all the more, especially the latter, a wonderfully sweet little song, before we’re hit with “Riot Lights”, an intense flurry of strings, incredibly frenetic, it’s the sound of instability and chaos and really wakes the album up.
Elsewhere tracks such as “Sea Song (You Waded Out)”, which oozes with sadness, and the blissfully morose closing track “Dead Man’s Eyes” continue with the albums overall feel of despair and inner torment, culminating in what is essentially a very emotional musical journey. It’s easy to say that this album doesn't have any big hits; there’s no “I’m Not Jesus” or “Life Burns!”…but it’s not an album that needs a big single. Apocalyptica gambled here with one vocalist and a new creative direction, and for the first time in their career, here, they actually sound like a band, as oppose to glorified session musicians. They've got the capability and the quality to make this line-up work…let’s just hope they settle and re-hone their craft, because this incarnation is a promising one.