Music / Apocalyptica

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Apocalyptica is a metal band from Helsinki, Finland formed in 1993. Originally formed as a Metallica tribute band, they recorded their first album, Plays Metallica By Four Cellos. The title is not a joke.

For their first three albums (their second being a tribute album to other heavy metal bands such as Pantera, the third an album of original songs,) their line-up consisted of four cellists. They then played at a festival of which Slayer was headlining. Dave Lombardo, a fan of the string quartet, asked them if they knew any Slayer and, upon finding that they do know how to play Slayer, asked them to join him for a short set, telling them to give him a call if they ever needed a drummer. When one of the members quit in 2002, they called up Lombardo for their fourth album, Reflections, though he did not remain as their main drummer, he contributed to their next two albums before officially leaving in 2007.

Lombardo is not the only member of another band they have worked with and have collaborated with various vocalists, most notably Rammstein's Till Lindemann, HIM's Ville Valo, The Rasmus's Lauri Ylönen, Stone Sour/Slipknot's Corey Taylor, Joe Dupalantier and Tooru "Kyo" Nishimura. They were also featured on melodic death metal band Amon Amarth's album Twilight of the Thunder God for the song "Live for the Kill" and have played sets with Rammstein and Kivilaakso appeared on four tracks from Sonata Arctica's album The Days Of Grays.

For their eight studio album, Shadowmaker, they brought in Franky Perez to be their sole vocalist, breaking their trend of being an instrumental band with only guests for a few songs.

    Band Members and Guest Singers 

Current Line-up:

  • Eicca Topinen: Cello (1993-present)
  • Paavo Lötjönen: Cello (1993-present)
  • Pertu Kivilaakso: Cello (1993, 1999-present)
  • Mikko Sirén Drums (2003-present, their official touring drummer)
  • Franky Perez: Vocals (2014-present)

Former Members:

  • Max Lilja: Cello (1993-2002)

Session Members:

  • Dave Lombardo: Drums (2003-2007, the first drummer they officially played with)
  • Sami Kuoppamäki: Drums
  • Antero Manninen: Cello (1993-1999, 2002-spring 2009)
  • Toryn Green: Touring Vocals (2008-present)
  • Tony Kakko: Guest Vocals (2008 in Finland and Japan)
  • Johnny Andrews: Touring Vocals (Spring 2008)
  • Adam Gontier: Vocals (2008 in New York)
  • Cristina Scabbia: Vocals (2008 at Download Festival)
  • Tipe Johnson: Touring Vocals (2009 in East-Europe)

Guest Vocalists:

  • Adam Gontier (Three Days Grace) on "I Don't Care"
  • Corey Taylor (Slipknot, Stone Sour) on "I'm Not Jesus"
  • Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil) on "SOS (Anything But Love)"
  • Emmanuelle Monet (Dolly) on "En Vie"
  • Lauri Ylönen (The Rasmus) on "Life Burns!" and "Bittersweet"
  • Linda Sundblad (Lambretta) on "Faraway Vol. 2"
  • Marta Jandova (Die Happy) on "Wie Weit"
  • Mats Leven (Therion, Krux) on backing vocals on "SOS" and "I Don't Care"
  • Matt Tuck (Bullet for My Valentine) on "Repressed"
  • Matthias Sayer (Farmer Boys) on "Hope Vol. 2"
  • Max Cavalera (Ex-Sepultura, Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy, Nailbomb) on "Repressed"
  • Nina Hagen on "Seemann"
  • Sandra Nasic (Guano Apes) on "Path Vol. 2"
  • Till Lindemann (Rammstein) on "Helden"
  • Ville Valo (HIM) on "Bittersweet"
  • Gavin Rossdale (Bush) on "End of Me"
  • Brent Smith (Shinedown) on "Not Strong Enough"
  • Doug Robb (Hoobastank) on the alternate, American single version of "Not Strong Enough"
  • Lacey Sturm (Flyleaf) on "Broken Pieces"
  • Joe Duplantier (Gojira) on "Bring Them to Light"
  • Tooru "Kyo" Nishimura (Dir en grey) as tour vocalist in 2010

Studio Discography:
  • Plays Metallica By Four Cellos (1996, consists entirely of Metallica covers)
  • Inquisition Symphony (1998, Their last Tribute Album, with their first three original compositions)
  • Cult (2000, first album to feature percussion and Eicca Toppinen doubling up on double bass)
  • Reflections (2003)
  • Apocalyptica (2005)
  • Worlds Collide (2007)
  • 7th Symphony (2010)
  • Shadowmaker (2015)


This band has examples of:

  • Anti-Love Song: Lyrically, "Anything But Love" details a female character talking to the man who is going to rape her. She essentially tells him to be as cruel and evil as he wants ("Go on infect me, go on and scare me to death.") and make sure she is traumatized and scared. Because she'd rather that than have him love her.
  • Chronological Album Title: 7th Symphony is the band's seventh album.
  • Cover Version: After Metallica, the band went on to covering song from Faith No More, Sepultura, Pantera, Slayer, David Bowie and Black Sabbath.
  • Distinct Double Album: The first disc of Amplified: A Decade of Reinventing the Cello is all instrumentals, second consists of songs with vocals (some of which were previously released as instrumentals.)
  • Instrumentals: Apocalyptica does almost entirely instrumentals. It helps that they don't actually have a vocalist in their lineup and all of their songs with lyrics are sung by guest vocalists.
  • Last Note Nightmare: "Fisheye" from their self titled album ends like this. When you think the song is over, a few more measures of thrashy and cacophonic cello and drum noise ensue.
  • Mr. Fanservice:The band actively plays to this trope, most often playing on stage shirtless just to please the fangirls. This was particularly evident with Eicca in the early days, though he's put his shirt back on and Perttu Kivilaakso has taken the role.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: The band is a Sibelius-Academy-trained cello-metal ensemble, who began as a Metallica tribute band.
  • Pedophile Priest: "I'm Not Jesus" is an angry song from the perspective of an ex-victim of one of these.
    I thought you were a good man
    I thought you talked to God
    You hypocratic, messianic, child-abusing turned satanic!
    Do you remember me?
    Do you remember me?
    The kid I used to be?
  • Religion Rant Song: "I'm Not Jesus" is a Type 3. See above for more information.
  • Soprano and Gravel: The sung version of "Bittersweet" plays with the trope by way of guest vocalists Ville Valo from H.I.M. and Lauri Ylönen from The Rasmus): both are male, and Lauri's higher tenor voice is actually the graveled one in comparison to Ville's velvet-smooth bass. It makes an interesting effect when Ville suddenly slides up into the same range as Lauri.
  • Video Full of Film Clips: The music video for "Hope Vol. II" features clips from French horror thriller Vidocq. The song itself appears in the film's ending credits.


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