Countless mainstream metal bands such as All That Remains, As I Lay Dying, Bullet For My Valentine, and August Burns Red usually consist of fast paced drummers, a bassist, two guitarists, a singer or screamer, and the occasional keyboard or synth player. As far as conventional bands go, Apocalyptica is far from the norm.
Cellists Eicca Toppinen, Paavo Lötjönen, Max Lilja, and Antero Manninen formed Apocalyptica in Helsinki, Finland in 1993 with the original intent to be a Metallica tribute band. After their first public appearance in 1994, the media convinced the band to do an album with the cover songs they played live, and they succeeded; over one million copies of Plays Metallica by Four Cellos were sold.
Since then, Apocalyptica has written original songs and LPs and has featured many guest musicians on them. They’ve worked with Ville Valo of HIM, Lauri Ylönen of The Rasmus, Corey Taylor of Slipknot, and Dave Lombardo of Slayer. Whether these appearances were what drove the band to fame, no one knows. “[We had] no idea,” current drummer Mikko Sirén said about the ever-growing popularity of Apocalyptica across the globe. “We didn’t plan it.” Most of the musicians that the Finnish guys have worked with came up to them at festivals or contacted them personally, saying they liked the band and wanted to collaborate.
On their latest effort, 7th Symphony, Gavin Rossdale of Bush, Joseph Duplantier of Gojira, Lacey Mosley of Flyleaf and Brent Smith of Shinedown were all featured. When asked about the newest album, Sirén spoke about how the writing of this album was different than their past albums. Before Symphony’s release, the band was on a two and a half yearlong tour and was not very prepared; most of the tracks were arranged during recording. When talking about the album artwork, Sirén said he wanted it to be “dark, dangerous, but [also] beautiful, fragile and romantic.”
Recently the band has canceled all shows in the United States, because one of the members was really sick. All shows will be postponed, including a show at Starland Ballroom on March 17th, 2011 with opening act, Process of Fusion. Mikko hopes to see more of a response to Apocalyptica’s music in the states, because “[most people have] no idea what the band is about. [Hopefully they will think] we’re something good to see.”
- Blog by Terri Caputo, check out hers here