Apocalyptica is a Finnish symphonic metal band from Helsinki, formed in 1993. The band is composed of classically trained cellists Eicca Toppinen, Paavo Lötjönen, and Perttu Kivilaakso, and jazz drummer Mikko Sirén. Originally a classical-style Metallica tribute band, the band eventually adopted a neoclassical metal style without the use of conventional guitars and bass. They have sold over four million albums to date.
A cello quartet, Eicca Toppinen, Paavo Lötjönen, Max Lilja, and Antero Manninen formed Apocalyptica in 1993 at Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. The band released their debut studio album, Plays Metallica by Four Cellos, in 1996. The album consisted of only eight Metallica covers . The band was featured on two songs on the Waltari album Space Avenue in 1997. Apocalyptica released their second studio album, Inquisition Symphony, produced by Hiili Hiilesmaa in 1998. Inquisition Symphony contained covers of Metallica and other metal bands such as Faith No More, Sepultura, and Pantera. It also contained three original songs by Eicca Toppinen.
Antero Manninen left the group in 1999 and was replaced by Perttu Kivilaakso. Perttu had previously performed with the band in 1995. Apocalyptica released their third studio album, Cult, in 2000. It featured mostly original songs and three cover songs. The first Apocalyptica track to include vocals, "Path Vol. 2", sung by Sandra Nasic of Guano Apes, was released shortly after Cult. Max Lilja left the group in 2002 and joined Hevein.
Apocalyptica released their fourth studio album, Reflections, in 2003, containing only original songs. Reflections featured an experimental sound different from the acoustic arrangements of Inquisition Symphony and Cult. Dave Lombardo from Slayer played drums on five songs from Reflections. Session drummer Sami Kuoppamäki covered the rest. When Lombardo declined the following tour, Apocalyptica hired Mikko Sirén, who would stay with the band for future tours as well as the recording of the next album.
Apocalyptica released their self-titled fifth studio album in 2005 which featured Ville Valo of HIM, Lauri Ylönen of the Rasmus, and Dave Lombardo, returning from the previous album.
Apocalyptica was on the track "Intro" from Bullet for My Valentine's album The Poison in 2005. The group performed with Marta Jandová and represented Baden-Württemberg in the Bundesvision Song Contest 2005 with the song "Wie weit", placing 5th with 77 points. Mikko Sirén became an official band member in December 2005 having played around 200 shows with the band.
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