Release Date: Out Now
Review by Matt Bolton
Finnish 4-piece Apocalyptica leaves the guest musicians aside on their 8th release with new addition, Franky Perez, on vocals. Formerly playing guitar with Daron Malakian’s group Scars on Broadway and even being lead vocalist for Slash’s touring band before Myles Kennedy took over. It’s no wonder the man’s vocal style is so powerful.
Hitting us with two familiar songs to start things off, that being Cold Blood, which has grown on me since first hearing it live and title track, Shadowmaker, which is probably one of the best songs with vocals on the album. The cello playing beginning the song builds up to a strong vocal delivery by Franky. The drumming of Mikko Sirén is flawless throughout and the band really gets into it just two minutes in. Mikko bring the tempo up as Eicca Toppinen, Paavo Lötjönen, and Perttu Kivilaakso play their cellos like guitars. It is an experience to witness the three cellists in an intimate show rather than a stadium. Franky reminds me of Lajon of Sevendust when he screams in this song.
Then there are songs like Slow Burn and Hole in my Soul, they are all catchy songs. Much of the same in a way, though. If Apocalyptica don’t reach onto the charts with some of these songs, I don’t know, but then again it’s kind of scary I wouldn’t like them to go all mainstream. I feel something would be lost.
Frankys vocal abilities are no doubt top notch; sounding at times similar to Ed from Live, particularly on Sea Song (You Waded Me Out) which is a good thing. However, the highlights of the record are the instrumental pieces by the three cellists.
Highlights for me are the epic Reign of Fear; which showcases both the amazing cello playing of the three cellists and the precise drumming of Mikko who never misses a beat, Riot Lights where Mikko brings up the tempo to almost a dance beat. The cello playing sounds like a ringing guitar, and the last instrumental, Til Death Do Us Part, which leads to closing track, the very emotional Dead Man’s Eyes.
Overall this is a solid Apocalyptica album. Franky makes a welcome addition to the band and after seeing the band do their thing live it definitely works.