Between 1996, when Apocalyptica released their debut album, and 2010, when they issued current outing, ‘7th Symphony’, these Finnish ‘heavy cellists’ have – in the words of band spokesman Eicca Toppinen – been on “a massive journey”, going from cello ensemble to bona fide rock act with a rabid, global fan-base.
When these graduates of the prestigious Sibelius Academy in Helsinki first started plying their trade, it was hard for the watching world to put a name to a musical style that effectively sought to fuse together the seemingly disparate worlds of classical music and hard rock… of Prokofiev & Pantera… of Shostakovich & Slayer… to find the middle ground between the mosh pit and the orchestra pit, whilst being 100 per cent respectful to both camps.
‘Heavy Cello Mayhem’? ‘Rock‘n’Resin’? Many tags were run up many flagpoles, but happily the lack of a ready-made label did nothing to halt the rise of the band to international prominence – a rise that continues apace to this day, on the back of a succession of noted and strong-selling singles, albums & DVDs.
By adding pre-amps & pick-ups to an instrument dating back to the sixteenth century, Toppinen & Co. found a connection with classical followers & HM fans alike, although Apocalyptica onstage and in the flesh are very much an experience forged in sinew & sweat from the rock‘n’roll side of the tracks; stand well back and never mind the batons, cos what we have here is a spectacle designed to engage every one of the senses: lashings of leather, massed low-flyin’ elbows and buckets of sweat – not to mention the most lethal wieldin’ of a bow since Kevin Costner was last seen in tights!
At the moment, the band are taking a deserved break, as since 2007’s ‘Worlds Collide’ propelled them into the upper reaches of the US charts, the demands on their time have grown dramatically; however, a (temporary) absence will only serve to make their return all the sweeter… More power to their elbows!