Pulling classical strings now and getting tough!
Their new album Reflections (release date: February 10, 2003) will catapult Apocalyptica, the heavy cello thunder from the darkest depths of Finland, straight out of their image of being the most unique cover-band in the world. Where once Metallica, Slayer, and Sepultura ruled the world of the classically-trained cellists Eicca Toppinen, Paavo Lötjönen, and Perttu Kivilakso, it is now their very own musical self.
Apocalyptica has always been very creative project definitely rooted in the here and now, is how Perttu Kivilakso, at 24 the youngest of the now down to three riders of the apocalypse, explains the philosophy behind the new album. Once, creativity for us meant imitating the typical Heavy Metal guitar sound on our instruments. Now it means exploring our own musical vision. We simply wanted to employ our instruments on a much wider scale and also got interested in developing new techniques for the cello.
Hundreds and hundreds of lonely hours were spent in the studio searching for their own sound. The result, plain and simple: We created a new musical style, cello-rock.
On their predecessor Cult, Apocalyptica had first dissolved musical boundaries. Back home in Finland, the album was consequently reviewed by journalists from the classical terrain and whats wrong with that? is all Paavo Lötjönen (at 32, the oldest member of the band) has for a comment. We are professionals, we are very serious about what we are doing and we approach our music with sincerity so wheres the problem?
Well, there is none. Apocalyptica is simply in the front line of an indigeneous Finnish music culture where artists strive to mix and match the most varied of musical styles.
Rarely, though, is the resulting effort as seemlessly perfect as on Reflections.
Apocalypticas musical influences range from the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich to Heavy Metal and opera and are so multifarious that bridging them takes more than a simple balancing act. The mastery of such monumental sounds requires ability and exceptional flexibility. Eicca Toppinen, the groups main composer and at 27 still too young to be in any way affected by the Heavy Metal adage If its too loud youre too old proudly takes stock:
Faraway, the the most important ballad on the album, ends with a baffling phat groove and throughout the song thoroughly finishes off any traces of the effete in cello-playing which the sound-heavy Finns find rearing its ugly head all over the place (except on their own album, that is). Cortčge is similarly complex: We combined classical orchestration with reminiscences of Dmitri Shostakovich and added some Slayer-styled really hard and dark metal on top. Quite convenient, then, that Dave Lombardo, drummer of said trash legend Slayer, was the hired hand on four additional songs on Reflections as well,Prologue, No Education, Somewhere Around Nothing and Resurrection.
Perttu Kivilakso wrote three songs for the new album, Resurrection, Pandemonium, and Conclusion. "Conclusion was a wish come true for him and the other band-members: A beautiful song as a showcase for classical cello at its best. We had been missing out on the pure classical beautiful cello sound on our previous albums this time we wrote a song where we could play out that longing.
Other longings were also given vent, because Apocalyptica does not just feed on Heavy Metal which, although, according to youngster Perttus credible assertions, it has accompanied them since cradle days. They mostly feed on the beauty of Finnish nature. The shockingly dark woods, the enormous space and beauty of Lapland, the breathtaking lakeviews all of that is inspiration for us. Evoked quite wonderfully in Cohkka, a mountain named in the Samish language. Rather lively instead is Somewhere Around Nothing. The best groove ever on an Apocalyptica album, enthuses Perttu. Big thanks should go to Mr. Lombardo!
Eicca Toppinen also wrote the last song on the album which takes the band beyond their new philosophy: He wrote Epilogue (Relief) originally for the stage version of Fjodor Dostojevskys Crime And Punishment. The last act revolves around the redemption of Raskolnikov. The song found its place at the end of the album immediately. We had nothing more to say now...