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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 become their primary 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; the band has collaborated with several 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 they have played sets with Rammstein. Kivilaakso also 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 lead vocalist, breaking their trend of being an instrumental band that only brings in guest vocalists 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
  • Joakim Brodén (Sabaton) on "Live or Die"
  • Lzzy Hale (Halestorm) on "Talk to Me"

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)
  • Cell-0 (2020)

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.
  • Breaking Old Trends: The majority of the songs on preceding albums were instrumental with the few vocal songs having been performed with different guests. Shadowmaker breaks the trend by having a single vocalist who performs on the majority of the songs.
  • Chronological Album Title: 7th Symphony is the band's seventh album.
  • Cover Version: After Metallica, the band went on to covering songs from Faith No More, Sepultura, Pantera, Slayer, David Bowie and Black Sabbath.
  • Crossover: Apocalyptica collaborated with Sabaton for a re-recording of "Angels Calling" to promote their 2020 European tour together, and Joakim returned the favor by doing vocals on Apocalyptica's "Live or Die".
  • Defiled Forever: The victim in "S.O.S. (Anything But Love)".
    Without any faith, without any light
    Condemn me to live, condemn me to lie
    Inside I am dead
  • 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.)
  • Drama Queen: The subject of "End of Me."
    Can't resist poisoning the message
    Just a narcissist trapped inside the wreckage
    And the sympathy I had is gone
    Deadened by the ceremony
    Drama queen,
    Stand behind your empire
    As your kingdom falls
  • Flames of Love: "Slow Burn" is an angsty love song built on fire metaphors, though it is less about passion and more about how love burns you.
  • Genre Mashup: The band is a Sibelius-Academy-trained cello-metal ensemble, who began as a Metallica tribute band.
  • Hypocrite: "I'm Not Jesus" is directed at a Pedophile Priest.
    I've thought you were a good man
    I've thought you talked to God
    You hypocritic, messianic, child-abusing turned satanic!
  • Instrumentals: Apocalyptica does mostly instrumentals, including the entirety of their first four albums (excluding bonus content) and Cell-0. They don't 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. 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.
  • Ode to Apathy: "I Don't Care" is directed at an abusive partner as the narrator gives up on trying to salvage their relationship.
    If you were dead or still alive
    I don't care
  • Pedophile Priest: "I'm Not Jesus" is an angry song from the perspective of an ex-victim of one of these.
    Dirty little secret
    Dirty little lies
    Say your prayers and comb your hair
    Save your soul tonight
    Do you remember me?
    The kid I used to be?
  • Religion Rant Song: "I'm Not Jesus" is a Type 3, directed at a Pedophile Priest, with a bit of type 1 as well: "Jesus wasn't there!"
  • 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.
  • With Lyrics: Their first few vocal songs were "vol. 2" versions of "Path" and "Hope" from Cult, and "Faraway" from Reflections. The Self-Titled Album has a vocal version of "Quutamo" as a hidden track.