We’re down to our last two posts in this Finland Tribute “Week” series. Today, for the sake of completeness, we’re betraying the title and thematic focus of this site. Of the three bands we’re writing about today, only one — Apocalyptica — is a band whose music is on our personal playlists, and none of them fits our definition of extreme. But in terms of global appeal, they’re certainly among the most popular quasi-metal acts to come out of Finland in the last decade. So, we’re paying respect to them through this post. While gritting our teeth. For the sake of completeness.
Apocalyptica started in 1993 when four classically trained cellists at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki started playing Metallica songs on their cellos. They released a debut album in 1996 (Plays Metallica by Four Cellos), consisting entirely of Metallica covers. Their second album, Inquisition Symphony (1998) included more Metallica covers, plus songs by Faith No More, Sepultura, and Pantera. As fun as it was to hear metal songs covered by cellists, many people (including us) thought this would be a one-and-done novelty act.
We couldn’t have been more wrong. The third album (Cult, 2000) included mainly original songs, and the fourth one (Reflections, 2003) was nothing but original tunes and included drums along with the cellos (with Slayer’s Dave Lombardo providing the drum tracks). Guest vocalists began to appear on the band’s albums, which led to even greater heights of sky-rocketing popularity. Now, with nine albums in their discography (including a couple of “best of” releases), the band has sold over three million records worldwide and has played somewhere in the vicinity of 1,000 concerts in 50 countries. Some novelty act.
We’ve seen Apocalyptica in concert twice, and their shows are massively entertaining. The live productions are slick, but these dudes work their butts off on stage, and the fun they have while playing is irresistibly infectious. And yes, a lot of their music legitimately qualifies as metal, despite the hard-rock feel of most of those songs with guest vocalists. (more after the jump . . .)