Finland’s neo-classical, cello-driven chamber and oriented gothic rockers, Apocalyptica, have exceptionally defined their own sonority throughout their career as something thrilling and orchestral, therefore, successfully pioneering — so to speak — in a scene often crowded by merciless and controversial musical acts, and as the black orchids they have become, often shedding their skin in gloom just to retain a position among a heavier audience unprepared for their bewitching uniqueness.
To commemorate the twenty years after the release of their notorious, ill-famed studio record, ‘Plays Metallica by Four Cellos,’ released on May 10th, 1996 by Mercury Records — a label owned by Universal Music Group — the quartet re-released the now remastered version of ‘Plays Metallica by Four Cellos’ with three additional bonus songs on July 22nd, 2016. Added to this latest version were freshly recorded and never-before-released instrumental recordings of ‘Battery,’ ‘Nothing Else Matters’ and ‘Seek & Destroy,’ something to note is that Apocalyptica joined Metallica on stage at the Fillmore in San Francisco, United States of America, as part of the week-long celebration of the latter act’s thirteenth anniversary in December 2011, which most likely, lead them to reconsider the re-release their debut album with additional cover versions.
Apocalyptica, ever since their appearance in 1996, were always considered an anomaly and — if not — an unthinkable musical project with a driven line out of the habitual, by combining classical chamber music with orchestral arrangements, symphonic yet metallic stratum that of late, appropriated a more indistinguishable rock-ish aura to their creative sonority, which undoubtedly, set the foundations for other musical acts originating thereafter, such as Portuguese Opus Diabolicum — which nowadays stands as one of the most prolific cover acts paying reverence to Moonspell — and Corvos, another Portuguese chamber project that quickly attained a stable reputation amongst the aficionados of the genre, not to mention worldwide recognition.
As aforementioned said, ‘Plays Metallica by Four Cellos’ marked the outset of a lengthy pilgrimage for Apocalyptica, which granted them a mention in The Guardian as one of the “10 of the best: metal meets classical” on October 30th, 2014 written by Tom Service, one of the Music section editors, as well as many awards throughout their career including the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Award, back in 2008, as the best Best Breakthrough musical act.
For those unaware, and as a side note: by the end of the nineteenth-century, the cello had a surprisingly limited repertoire when contrasted to various other conventional orchestral instruments. Conversely, the twentieth-century was a glorious occasion for the cello. Technically, it is in fact, an enormously versatile instrument: from peculiar avant-garde experimentation to upholding rock stars on large stages, from providing drones in Indian music to the most contemporary jazz and infrequently, blues.
Although more than two decades have passed, Apocalyptica extended their repertoire to material of Sepultura, Pantera and Faith No More, among others, and began also to compose their own originals, changed the lineup and, in albums like ‘Reflections,’ ‘Worlds Collide’ or ‘7th Symphony,’ began collaborations with well-respected musicians like Dave Lombardo, Til Lindemann and Joe Duplantier, from Slayer, Rammstein and Gojira, respectively. Along the way, while developing an identity far beyond the “band of covers” glorified by exoticism, they also managed to establish themselves as a mass phenomenon, rising to the sales charts and marking their presence on the stages of great festivals. The act’s latest studio record is entitled ‘Shadowmaker’ and was released two years ago.
During the fall of this year, Colombian Festival del Diablo will honour us with the presence of a single concert featuring Apocalyptica, as an introduction to their yet to be announced, festival programme. Thankfully, since its inception in 2014 — and after two successful yearly editions followed by last year’s intermission — Festival del Diablo is to return following an overwhelming outpour of support.
Apocalyptica is scheduled to perform at Teatro Royal Center, in Bogotá, Colombia, on November 19th, 2017 from 20:00 to 23:00. Nevertheless, ticket sales as well as pricing, are yet to be announced.