Apocalyptica is a symphonic metal band from Helsinki, Finland, formed in 1993. The band is composed of classically trained cellists Eicca Toppinen, Paavo Lötjönen, and Perttu Kivilaakso (all three of whom are graduates of the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki), drummer Mikko Sirén and vocalist Franky Perez.
Originally a Metallica classical tribute band, Apocalyptica’s first release was Plays Metallica by Four Cellos. Their debut made immediate waves for their cover of Master of Puppets, sounding even darker than the original when played on cellos. Their sophomore album resulted in even more accessibility with the haunting tune of Fade To Black (originally Metallica, off Ride The Lightning).
What is truly remarkable about how they cover these songs is that one of the cellos plays the vocal melody, not just the guitar parts. The entire effect is a massively layered epic sound and a melodic shockwave that can only come from classically trained musicians. If ever there were proof that both classical music can be heavy as all hell and that metal is first and foremost based upon it before any other genre, Apocalyptica are the shining example.
As soon as I heard Apocalyptica was going to make the trip across the Atlantic from Finland to do a show in Kansas City on the night before my 45th birthday, I immediately sat down to write something on the 4 cello players that take classical music to a whole new level in metal. I first heard Apocalyptica from their cover of Fade To Black from their second album. Apocalyptica’s covers of various Metallica songs include: Welcome Home (Sanitarium), Harvester of Sorrow, Orion, plus many more. They also perform a classical piece by Grieg – Hall of the Mountain King, which sounds like a band of hell’s demons constructing a blast of evil hissing on the cellos, leaving all of us to bang our heads and throw up the horns.
I can’t wait for the show the 24th and hope to see some of you there! Apocalyptica deserve every mention they get in the same sentence and with the same reverence as Yngwie Malmsteen, Randy Rhoads and every other neo-classical shredder, and are every bit the same caliber of musicians.
Keep kicking ass… horns (and bows) up! \m/
Eicca Toppinen – rhythm cello, keyboards
Paavo Lötjönen – bass cello
Perttu Kivilaakso – lead cello, rhythm cello
Mikko Sirén – drums
Antero Manninen – lead/rhythm cello
Lauri Kankkunen — lead/rhythm cello