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Apocalyptica: What a Guitar Cannot Do


Have you ever tried melding the unmeldable or mixing the unmixable? No? Then you dont have to any longer since the guys from Apocalyptica have already done this messy job for you. Even the name of the band is nothing but a stylish combination of two words apocalypse and Metallica each reflecting their bizarre creed and musical preferences. Apocalypticas main peculiarity lies in the fact that the musicians somehow manage to play rock and metal on nothing but cellos. Its like the usual sound of heavy guitar riffs but a lot more powerful thanks to the specific timbre and enhanced acoustic capacity of the cello that transforms any run-of-the-mill rock composition into pure energy bursting from under the bow. This is what cello rock is all about and Apocalyptica was the one to bring this novel outgrowth of classical rock and metal to the unsuspecting European public. Like virtually any rock band, Apocalyptica didnt pop out of nowhere, but was nurtured on certain styles of music that helped shape their musical preferences. But the fact is that Apocalypticas musical influences range from the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich to Metallica, Slayer and Sepultura and are so diverse that bridging them takes more than a simple balancing act. The mastery of such monumental sounds requires ability and exceptional flexibility. Apocalyptica had it all in abundance. Being honour graduates of the prestigious Sibelius Academy in Finland the four riders of apocalypse definitely knew how to handle a cello and make it sing in their skilful hands.

               Paavo Loetjoenen, Eicca Toppinen, Perttu Kivilaakso and Max Lilja got to know each other while attending preparatory cello courses in Sibelius Musical Academy. In short breaks between practising Bach or Brams the future cello rockers were getting high on heavy metal. We met in summer camps for musicians on multiple occasions, says one of the heavy-metal cellists Max Lilja. Before we started doing covers of Metallicas songs we had already played a couple of songs by Jimmy Hendrix and some other pieces like that using two or three cellos, so the idea of playing something weird and unusual with our cellos was hardly new to us.

It was the summer of 1993, continues Max. We were rehearsing the entertainment programme for one of the summer camps and wanted to give the audience something special this time. So, we decided to try and play a couple of metal songs for our friends, professional classical musicians. I must admit we had a world of fun! Moreover we even achieved some success! At the gig the guys played five pieces by Metallica and got a surprisingly warm feedback from the audience.

After the concert the musicians came up with the idea to have another, more serious try on their brash experiments with heavy music. Indeed, practice makes perfect. Afterwards they played the programme in their Alma Mater and later began performing it in various Helsinki rock-clubs.

              In December 1995 the band was signed to Zen Garden and in 1996 their debut album, Plays Metallica by Four Cellos, saw the light of the day, unleashing heavy cello thunder upon the unsuspecting world. The bands take on the legends of heavy metal was surprisingly well received, especially by Metallica fans.

            After recording their initiation album the guys from Apocalyptica wanted to play the songs by other metal bands as well as try their hand at composing their own music. By the release time of the above-mentioned album the Finnish cellist quartet had already become real rock stars. Thus, Apocalyptica participated in the recording of albums by Heiland and Waltari and made an appearance at a musical festival together with Slayers ex-drummer Dave Lombardo. By the way, Dave enjoyed working with Apocalyptica so much that even gave the guys his telephone number accompanying this gesture with the words: Call me any time you need a drummer. And so they did, only much later when they realized that cellos alone wont do the trick. This sudden revelation heralded the turning point in Apocalypticas musical career. Since then they have been actively co-operating with other rock and metal bands and have even included vocals into their new songs (it is noteworthy that starting from Cult almost all of Apocalypticas later tracks were original compositions of Eicca Toppinen). Some of the most interesting examples of joint projects were: the song Path composed by Apocalyptica but written and sung by Sandra Nasic from the Guano Apes; a number of singles performed with guest vocalists Linda Sundblad (Lambretta) and Nina Hagen; and of course the monumental song Bittersweet written together with Ville Valo (H.I.M.) and Laury Ylonen (The Rasmus), which became the official soundtrack of the mega-popular video game The Settlers: Heritage of Kings.

At the beginning of 2002 the situation in the band started to get uneasy because of creative disagreements. As a result, Max Lilja left the band. Since then Apocalyptica continued to perform live, joined on stage by their old friend Antero Manninen. Today its one of the most popular and prosperous modern Finnish bands due to the constantly growing number of fans around the world. Yet, despite all the riches they seem to enjoy, the question of money troubles them from time to time, since a good professional cello may at times cost about 100,000 USD, which is a pretty fortune even for a well-to-do band. Perhaps, that is why the guys use expensive cellos only in the studio, while the cheaper ones are meant for playing at live gigs and on support tours. By the way, it is touring that usually helps Apocalyptica spin their new albums and consequently increase their sales worldwide. Needless to say, Apocalyptica has hoards of fans in almost every country of the world, where its sound has rent the air at least once. Unfortunately, Belarus has never been blessed with the presence of Apocalyptica in person, which is a good reason to envy our luckier Russian neighbours, who even managed to entice Apocalyptica into making the score for the last years Russian blockbuster Shadow Fighting. Later the soundtrack from this film topped the musical charts for quite some time attesting to yet another Apocalypticas success in a relatively new sphere. Hopefully, one fine day the guys from Apocalyptica will pay a visit to our country as well But most definitely it wont happen soon, since Apo-tour of 2005 came to an end almost two months ago, and the band have now sequestered in the studio composing something new and tasty for their loyal fans. So, lets pin our hopes on the future. Dum spiro spero, they say



1.            T (true), F (false):


a)       The name Apocalyptica means the end of the world in Finnish.

b)       Apocalyptica play rock and metal on cellos.

c)       The guys from Apocalyptica didnt get any music education.

d)       The first concert of the band wasnt successful.

e)       The band became well-known only after the release of their debut album.

f)        Apocalyptica actively co-operate with other rock and metal bands and even include vocals into their new songs.

g)       The guys use only professional and very expensive cellos.

h)       Apocalyptica took part in the recording of the soundtrack for a Russian movie.


2.            :













to handle

















3.            , :


1.        play / is / using / the / only / of / the / rock / band / peculiarity / musicians / that / the / cellos / music. , -, .


2.        and / began / covers / they / by / writing / playing / started / of / compositions / Metallica / Sepultura / later / but / own / their. , Metallica Sepultura, .


3.        Shostakovich / styles / and / composer / Eicca / all / likes / favourite / but / music / except / of / techno / rap / his / is / almost. , , .


4.        he / members / since / all / the / at / Paavos / of / are / musicians / started / the / playing / age / family / of / cello / the / seven. , .


5.        Max / the / and / at / of / age / nine / the / youngest / Academy / Music / student / its / of / entered / became. .


6.        from / the / down / and / upside / the / guys / in / for / the / ceiling /playing / Bittersweet / the / are / hanging / song / cellos / video. Bittersweet .


7.        break / more / guys / Apocalyptica / want / than / played / in / 140 / 2005 / now / concerts / the / so / take / a / to / long. 2005 Apocalyptica 140 , .



4.            :


1.        Apocalyptica , .


2.        , .


3.        Metallica - .


4.        2002 Apocalyptica - .


5.        1996 , Apocalyptica 20 , , .


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, , , , , . , , -, , . ( >>>)

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