Metallica Classical Gas

"Wimps with cellos playing our music!! We're gonna kick your..."

It's one thing if, like the Cardigans, you show your appreciation for your

favorite band (Black Sabbath) by tossing a cover of one of their classics on

each CD you release. It's quite another thing, however, to release a debut that

is nothing but eight covers of your #1 fave, even if they are radically

different from any versions anyone's ever heard.

The culprits are four

Finnish cellists (Erica Toppinen, Max Lilja, Antero Manninen, Paavo Lotjonen)

who calls themselves Apocalyptica and the band du jour is Metallica. Yeah,

that Metallica. Apocalyptica Plays Metallica By Four Cellos

(April 8) is as unlikely a debut as you will hear this year (or any, really)

and it comes from four classically-trained musicians, all attendees of the

pretigious Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland and all huge Metallica fans.

The sound is somewhere between metal and classical, with faintly

distorted, aggressive cello lines piling up on each other in a furious, often

frantic way that more often than not succeeds in transforming the real band's

speedy metal operas into speedy classical dirges which have a strangely rich,

baroque sound.

The band, who've tested their songs in metal clubs and

opened in Europe for the Sex Pistols, Bad Religion and Sepultura, cover hits

like "Enter Sandman," "Master of Puppets," Wherever I May Roam," "The

Unforgiven," as well as "Harvester of Sorrow," "Sad But True," "Creeping Death"

and "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)." We couldn't make this up if we tried.