Apocalyptica are always good for a surprise – and it was clearly a surprise when they announced they would work on a cross genre event about Wagner. The album “Wagner Reloaded” now offers a live recording of the songs Apocalyptica played at the very first performance of this piece of theatre, dance and, well, the band´s music – all nicely arranged by band mastermind, Eicca Toppinen.
„Ludwig – Requiem“ & „Destruction“are probably the most melancholic pieces on this album. Both songs are very thoughtful and emotional thanks to the cello sound that will give you goose bumps. “Destruction” is, on one hand, a bit monotonous but, on the other hand, it still manages to easily catch the listener´s attention. Reason for this might be the fragile sound of the cello, which nicely harmonises with the piano. “Lullaby” starts with a fascinating intro – you can hear a heartbeat, which is accompanied by a really adorable melody. It´s a piece of music that invites the listener to daydream. Diverse cello lines dominate, the orchestra stands back but only at the beginning; later it joins in and helps to build up the suspense. The end of the song is a bit chaotic, it could´ve been a bit more harmonious, I think. “Bubbles” continues the story seamlessly when it comes to the musical aspects. Yet it seems that the songs lasts for an eternity, even the pure cello sound cannot make up for that. Then it gets a bit faster and rockier with „Stormy Wagner“ but the song also has a melancholic side. The rough break in the middle of the song seems a bit clumsy but I´m pretty sure that it is exactly how Toppinen wanted it, just to show the contrasting worlds collide – and I must admit it has its charm! „Flying Dutchman“ is the ultimate proof that also a full orchestra can rock as hell without sounding misplaced – a really cool song, in which the cello is hardly heard, though. And that´s a pity. Also the other songs on this album are versatile pieces of music and are evidence of the well-thought-out concept the songs are based on. Here and there I miss that certain something I´m used to from “normal” Apocalyptica albums.
In conclusion: “Wagner Reloaded” is an album that will also be appreciated by die-hard Apocalyptica fans, since the band stayed close to their musical style and successfully managed to open up to Wagner influences. The band created something that you can also enjoy without having the theatre and dance part in front of your eyes – but maybe one could enjoy it even more as a DVD with all the visuals.