Apocalyptica, The HiFi, Sydney, 31/08/12

Apocalyptica... Nothing Else Did Matter

Because of its intimate nature, chamber music has been described as "the music of friends” this was indeed the case on Friday night as hundreds of like minded punters swarmed the doors of the HiFi to witness the magnificent valour of Apocalyptica.

The Sydney HiFi was alive with enchantment as the crowds swarmed in black to luxuriate in the sounds of Rise of Avernus. A compelling and charming Sydney based dark rock and classical doom band, who, although they have not been on the stages for too long, took to it without hesitation and set the atmosphere for the evening. The vocal harmonies of Cat Guirguis accompanied by the deep effervescent growls of Matthew Bell created a sombre dark radiance the crowds were eating up.

Opening with On the Rooftop with Quasimodo; an exquisite and wraithlike piece; the three Cellists began with blood and bow to an open mouthed and bug eyed audience. The spectacle of the night bore ethereal ferocity as Apocalyptica began to bring out the big guns with Grace and Quutamo. It wasn’t long before the Finnish masterminds began littering the set with Metallica to the somewhat mixed review of fans. During several smoke breaks I received many a statement from said fans wishing the Metallica covers would cease, I was in partial agreement, only due to the fact that Apocalyptica no longer need to qualify their talents with renditions of One, Nothing Else Matters, Seek & Destroy - executed superbly we must keep in mind, Apocalyptica are metal heads after all. The band does take the music of Metallica to new heights of heroic celebration and honour. The cello has the ideal range to cover both the deep growling tones of bass and rhythm guitars and quick staccato bowing produces the same stocky rhythm sound as Hetfield's guitar; it’s capricious, utterly brilliant and literally the only way I can listen to Metallica. To create an even more intimate setting, the floor of bodies provided the anthemic chants for the music.

The band enjoyed baiting the crowds with antics of animalistic nature, heads whipping to and fro, while grinding those strings, and if you think a strange sight is viewing a circle pit whilst hearing chamber music, then yes you are dead right however in this instance it was vindicated by the sheer veracity of their talent and over a decade of pent up anticipation and pleasure from the Sydney fans.  The band presented a mischievousness and distinguished stage presence as they mesmerised the crowd with their luminosity.

It was now time to witness the genius behind Apocalyptica. Perttu Kivilaakso took the stage alone to perform Psalm 1. It has been stated that many punters were slammed as they found it necessary to converse amongst themselves, clap and cheer during Perttu’s solo however not where I was standing; you could have heard a pin drop. My mind was still, calm and I was in euphoria. With each breathtaking stroke I could feel the tears running down my cheek. The instinct, the capacity, the unrelenting romanticism of Perttu Kivilaakso is undeniable.

The remainder of the set consisted of vocal and instrumental originals performed by touring vocalist Tipe Johnson who brought fan favourites End of Me; I’m not Jesus and I Don’t Care to jaw dropping animation. Accompanied by the bellowing chants from the floor, the venue was alive with the sounds of elegance as the band graced the stage with four encores.

Apocalyptica are their own breed of debonair. The harmony and unison is intimidating, the band take you to the whimsical side of music and overwhelm the soul. They are a band that stands squarely at the crux of classical music and bring the wildness and intensity of metal.

I will scale the ends of the earth to see this band again as I refuse to wait another decade to savor the live music of Apocalyptica.