Heather Smith of Graveshadow / photo Paul Piazza
By Paul Piazza
After the Apocalyptica show at Ace of Spades last Thursday night, people on the streets were actually discussing the opener, local symphonic metal band Graveshadow.
The conversation centered on Graveshadow’s lyrical content—there was talk of Anne Rice novels, science fiction and fantasy onstage during the evening’s set—and essentially went like this: “Werewolves? I’m in!”
Thus, it was a good night for the Sacramento group, who played a high-energy 40-minute set before the headliner took over. Vocalist Heather Smith and bassist Ben Armstrong were bouncing all over while guitarists Matt Mitchell and William Walker led a balanced guitar attack. Keyboardist Valerie Hudak deftly straddled between two sets of keys, thrashing her head wildly all the while.
Matt Smith and Valery Hudak of Graveshadow / photo Paul Piazza
The three cellists of Apocalyptic / photo Paul Piazza
By the time the Finnish masters of cello metal prepared to take the stage, Ace of Spades was packed to near capacity.
The members of Apocalyptica cut their teeth on Metallica songs while still young lads studying classical music at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. The ensuing album Plays Metallica by Four Cellos became an international sensation and the group has continued to tour and record around the world, playing a mix of hits from metal bands and its own classical compositions.
On this particular night, the core three cellists of the five-piece group were the center of the show. Pertu Kivilaasko, in particular, held his own on some speed metal cello soloing.
But it wasn’t cellos or Metallica that folks talked about on R Street after the gig. It was werewolves.
Pertu Kivilaasko of Apocalyptica / photo Paul Piazza