It will be epic and apocalyptic in January 2022! Do not miss!
Epica is a Dutch symphonic metal band, founded by guitarist and vocalist Mark Jansen after his departure from After Forever.
Formed as a symphonic metal band with gothic tendencies, later Epica have incorporated into their sound strong death metal influences. Starting from the third album, even progressive metal attitudes have become evident. In addition, the band often uses thrash metal and groove metal riffs, black metal passages (mostly in the drum technique), power metal moments and references to Arabic music. Some songs also have electronic shades, djent transitions and folk metal melodies derived from middle eastern, Chinese and Celtic traditions. Epica is also known for the attention to the vocal lines that, in contrast to the heavy context, weave very catchy, easy to hold, sophisticated and emotional melodies. In the band’s sound the use of female vocals and male growls, performed by Simone Simons and Mark Jansen respectively, is fundamental. They primarily write their own lyrics, which often deal with philosophical, psychological, spiritual, moral, scientific, environmental, socio-political, global and topical and personal themes. Epica is also known for their wide use of orchestra and opera choirs.
In 2003, Epica’s debut album The Phantom Agony was released through Transmission Records. Consign to Oblivion followed in 2005, and debuted at No. 12 in the Dutch charts. They moved labels to Nuclear Blast following Transmission’s bankruptcy, and in 2007, released their third studio album The Divine Conspiracy, which charted at No. 9 in the Netherlands. 2009’s Design Your Universe was met with yet greater success, debuting at No. 8 in the Dutch Albums Chart, and charting across Europe, also garnering much critical acclaim. Epica’s fifth studio album Requiem for the Indifferent was released in 2012. Well received by critics, it achieved international success, entering the US’s Billboard 200 at No. 104, and Japan’s Oricon Albums Chart at No. 172.
At the beginning of May 2014 the band released their sixth album, The Quantum Enigma, which was a huge international success, debuting on No. 110 on US Billboard 200 and peaking at No. 4 in Epica’s homeland Netherlands. In June 2015 Epica was awarded the Music Export Awards, which is given to the Dutch act with the most international success in the past year. Their seventh album, The Holographic Principle, was released in September 2016. The eighth studio album is in the works!
Apocalyptica is a Finnish symphonic metal band from Helsinki, Finland, formed in 1993. The band is composed of classically trained cellists Eicca Toppinen, Paavo Lötjönen, and Perttu Kivilaakso (all three of whom are graduates of the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki), and drummer Mikko Sirén. Originally a Metallica classical tribute band, the band eventually adopted a neoclassical metal style without the use of conventional guitars. They have sold over four million albums to date. The band’s ninth studio album, an instrumental, Cell-0 was released on January 10, 2020.
Four cellists, Eicca Toppinen, Paavo Lötjönen, Max Lilja, and Antero Manninen formed Apocalyptica in 1993 at Sibelius Academy. The band released their debut studio album, Plays Metallica by Four Cellos, in 1996. The album consisted of only 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 as well as Faith No More, Sepultura, and Pantera. The album included 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 10 original songs and 3 covers. The first Apocalyptica track to include vocals, “Path Vol. 2”, was released shortly after Cult. Max Lilja left the group in 2002 and joined Hevein.
Apocalyptica released their fourth studio album, Reflections, in 2003. It featured all 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.
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. Apocalyptica performing with Rammstein in Milan in 2005
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 remake 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”. Worlds Collide was released on April 15, 2008 in the United States. The first single, “I’m Not Jesus” featuring Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour, cracked the top 10 of both the Active rock and Alternative rock charts.
To end 2007, the band toured Europe, selling out many of the venues they played. In 2008 the tour continued in the United States and included numerous festivals in Europe.
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.
The band also appeared on Last Call with Carson Daly on October 31, 2008. Here they made their American television debut with a performance of “I Don’t Care” with Toryn Green.
In November 2008, Apocalyptica featuring Adam Gontier of Three Days Grace hit first at the BDS and Mediabase Active Rock radio charts with the single “I Don’t Care”. Later that month, the band ranked 3rd on Billboard’s Hot Modern Rock Track chart and 2nd on Billboard’s Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart just after AC/DC and just ahead of Metallica, an ironic twist since the band’s origins lie in performing Metallica covers. Recently, it reached No. 1 on the Billboard rock chart, making Apocalyptica the first Finnish band to top the US charts. The song “I Don’t Care” was also featured in the 16th episode of Season 8 of the TV series Smallville, which aired on March 19, 2009.
The seventh Apocalyptica studio album entitled 7th Symphony, produced by Joe Barresi and Howard Benson, was released on August 23, 2010 in Europe (Germany on August 20, 2010), and August 24 in the U.S. The first single aired on radio June 29, 2010.
The album features eight instrumentals plus four tracks with guest vocals. The first single, “End of Me”, features Gavin Rossdale, vocalist from the British alternative rock band Bush, who had previously collaborated with the band. Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo played on “2010.” “Bring Them to Light” features Joseph Duplantier, singer and guitarist from the French death metal band Gojira. “Broken Pieces” is a collaboration with Flyleaf singer Lacey Mosley. “Not Strong Enough” was performed by Brent Smith, vocalist from (Shinedown). “Not Strong Enough” was re-recorded with Doug Robb of Hoobastank before being released to US radio on January 18, 2011 due to distribution rights.
On October 7, 2011, RCA Music Group announced it was disbanding Jive Records along with Arista Records and J Records. With the shutdown, the band (and all other artists previously signed to these three labels) will release their future material on the RCA Records brand.
Apocalyptica performed live with Metallica on three songs, “No Leaf Clover”, “One” and “Seek & Destroy” in celebration of Metallica’s 30th Anniversary on December 5, 2011.
The band released an exclusive pledgers-only song “Solo Tu” featuring Erik Canales of Allison via fan-funding website Pledgemusic, as part of their Apocalyptica photo book project on October 28, 2011.
Apocalyptica took a year off from touring and recording after concluding the 7th Symphony world tour in Beijing September 2012. During the break the band worked on a crossover musical and theatrical project titled Wagner Reloaded, combining Wagner’s music with the sound of Apocalyptica, to celebrate German composer Richard Wagner’s 200th birthday. There were two live performances in Wagner’s birth town Leipzig, Germany on July 5 and 6, 2013. Eicca Toppinen arranged and composed the music for the production. The band released an album titled Wagner Reloaded-Live in Leipzig, in November 2013.
Apocalyptica released “Psalm” on May 10, 2013. It was performed by Perttu Kivilaakso on their most recent tour. The band also announced a tour with Finnish Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, which premiered in March 2014. The set will consist solely of instrumentally performed Apocalyptica songs, especially arranged for the band and the 25-piece orchestra.
Their eighth studio album, titled Shadowmaker, with Franky Perez singing on all vocal tracks, was released through Better Noise imprint of Eleven Seven Music on April 17, 2015. They also released a collaborative single with Vamps titled “Sin in Justice” on November 20.
Apocalyptica made the music for the episode “On Finn Ice” of Rovio Entertainment’s video game Angry Birds Seasons.
Apocalyptica celebrated their 20th anniversary of the first album Plays Metallica by Four Cellos in 2016 and it was re-released with 3 brand new bonus tracks. The band toured with Antero Manninen, who returned after eight years to play on the tour.
Following Manninen’s departure from the band in late 2018, they brought in a new touring member, Lauri Kankkunen, the first cellist of the Helsinki Chamber Orchestra, to continue on the 20th anniversary tour in April 2019.
In February 2019, the band released their first single with Finnish lyrics, featuring Sanni and Tippa. They performed the song at the 2019 Emma Gala in Helsinki.
“Life is like a wheel. Sooner or later, it always come around to where you started again.” – Stephen King
Looking back through history, the best music has always been born of brave acts of courage. It’s something Wheel frontman James Lascelles knows more than most, having relocated over a thousand miles from England to Finland to pursue music as a career. After meetingsomelikeminded musicians in Helsinki– namely bassist Mikko Määttä, drummer Santeri Saksala and guitarist Saku Mattila, eventually replaced by Roni Seppänen – Wheel was born.
Now, following on from the overwhelming success of their The Path and The Divide EPs, the quartet will be releasing their debut album Moving Backwards on February 22nd, 2019. It’s an expansive and mind-melting collage of progressive rock, grunge and film score that twists and turns in ways no band have ever done before… “We’re not really sure where we fit,” shrugs singer/guitarist James. “Or whether it’s metal or it’s rock, because it’s both… or neither ha ha! Well it’s both, one or the other depending which point in the track you’re up to. Karnivool are one of my favourite bands of all-time, as well as Radiohead and even Alice In Chains for some of the riffs. Fans of those kinds of groups will definitely understand what we’re trying to do. I guess with us, instead of the never- ending wait for that next Tool album, we thought we’d just make what we’d want to hear!”
As it turned out, they weren’t the only ones seeking such creative endeavours and word quickly spreading of their knack for time-defying grooves, heavyweight orchestration and dark surrealism. Dissecting the media’s portrayal of the nightmarish inhumanities of the Syrian refugee crisis on early single Please, they established themselves as a group very much unafraid to speak out. This time round, they’re holding their magnifying glass up to censorship and institutionalised mind control – an epidemic that’s sweeping that world, affecting just about every single human on the face of the Earth…
“The jumping off point was a podcast I was watching where Sam Harris was talking to Joe Rogan about this imagined future,” explains James, in between dates of their November tour with Finnish progressive folk titans Amorphis. “They covered censorship in academia, which is becoming increasingly common in the States. If it continues, filtering out into films, comedy and music – we’ll end up in a place where nobody can say anything anymore. The lyrics I wrote for Tyrant – with lines like ‘silence will become the banner’ – are heralding what’s to come, though I’m hoping we can nip it in the bud before it gets there. On this album, rather than looking at environmental or economic dystopia, we’re anticipating more of a more social one.”
With what could very well be the rock debut of its year under their belts, dates with Swedish art-rockers Soen [featuring ex-Opeth drummer Martin Lopez] and festival appearance keeping them busy throughout summer, 2019 will be a landmark time for the quartet.
Get ready for the year of Wheel.