Apocalyptica is a Finnish cello metal band, composed of classically trained cellists and, since 2005, a drummer. Three of the cellists are graduates of the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. Their music features elements from classical music, neo-classical metal, thrash metal, and symphonic metal.
Apocalyptica was formed in 1993 when four cellists, Eicca Toppinen, Paavo Lötjönen, Max Lilja, and Antero Manninen gathered to play Metallica covers at Sibelius-Academy.They performed 1995 in an after-Christmas party as a "Jailhouse Band" at the Teatro Heavy Metal Club.That evening the line-up was Toppinen,Lilja,Manninen and Perttu Kivilaakso- who was about to join the band permanently later,at 1999. Among the audience was Kari Hynninen, who worked for the independent label Zen Garden Records. After listening to Apocalyptica's set, Kari Hynninen signed them on the spot to Zen Garden Records.
In 1996, Apocalyptica released their debut studio album, Plays Metallica by Four Cellos, which consisted solely of Metallica covers played on cellos. In 1998, Apocalyptica released their second studio album, Inquisition Symphony, which was produced by Hiili Hiilesmaa. Inquisition Symphony once again contained covers of Metallica, but also contained covers of Faith No More, Sepultura, and Pantera. For this album the band also decided to include three original songs written by Eicca Toppinen.
In 1999, Antero Manninen left the group, and was replaced by Perttu Kivilaakso. In 2000, Apocalyptica released their third studio album, Cult, which now featured 10 original songs, and only 3 covers. And it was after the recording of Cult that an Apocalyptica track was first seen featuring vocals, Path Vol. 2. In 2002, Max Lilja left the group and joined Hevein, leaving Apocalyptica with only three members.
In 2003, Apocalyptica released their fourth studio album, Reflections, which consisted for the first time of all original songs. Reflections featured a more experimental sound, instead of the previous acoustic style arrangements found on Inquisition Symphony and Cult. Dave Lombardo from Slayer played drums on five songs from Reflections. As he was unable to join the band on stage on the following tour, the band hired Mikko Sirén, who would stay with the band for future tours as well as the recording of the next album.
In 2005, Apocalyptica released their fifth studio album, Apocalyptica. This album featured a number of guest musicians including Ville Valo of HIM, Lauri Ylönen of The Rasmus, and once again Dave Lombardo. They also recorded the Intro for Bullet For My Valentine's album The Poison. In December 2005 Mikko Sirén was announced as an official bandmember after having played around 200 shows with the band.
Apocalyptica released their sixth studio album, Worlds Collide, on September 17 2007. It was produced by Jacob Hellner. To the surprise of many, the album includes a cover of the German version of David Bowie's song "Heroes". Till Lindemann of Rammstein, for whom they opened on the Reise, Reise tour, was the guest vocalist on the track "Helden". This album, Worlds Collide was released on April 15, 2008 in the United States.
To end 2007, the band toured Europe successfully, selling out many of the venues they played. Year 2008 the tour has continued in US and contained a numerous amount of festivals in Europe. Band has played approximately 850-1000 concerts during their career in about 50 countries.
Apocalyptica announced a large world tour for 2008, so far including concerts in Europe, North America and Mexico. They have sold over three million albums to date.
In June 2008, during the Rock in Rio concert in Lisbon, Apocalyptica joined the Greenpeace "energy [r]evolution campaign" and played the Beethoven 5th symphony from the stage.
Apocalyptica have covered songs by the following artists:
Often people mistake the String Quartet Tribute Series for Apocalyptica covering bands other than the ones mentioned above.