Apocalyptica adds permanent vocalist to heavy metal cello mix

Finnish heavy metal instrumentalists Apocalyptica are back with their eighth studio album, Shadowmaker, which is the band’s first album to feature a single vocalist rather than the revolving door of lead singers that’s marked previous works. Former Scars On Broadway singer-guitarist Franky Perez gets the nod as frontman for the quartet of three cellists and a drummer. “We felt that there was serious magic in the way Franky sings and Franky's voice,” states the group’s founder and leader Eicca Toppinen. “For us, it was kind of a scary challenge to make the step to get a singer in the band, because people are used to that we are working with amazing singers,” says Toppinen in an interview with Artisan News.

Apocalyptica began in 1993 as four cellists who shared a love of both classical music and heavy metal. Early albums feature covers of Metallica and other metal groups as well as notable guest vocalists including Corey Taylor (Slipknot, Stone Sour), Adam Gontier (Three Days Grace, Art of Dying), and Gavin Rossdale (Bush). “When we made the first album, our expectations were, ‘Okay, if we sell one thousand copies and get a few shows, that’s cool.’ Then, we got the requests to play a lot of shows after the first album and the sound changed totally,” recalls Toppinen. “We realized, ‘Okay, the first album sounds horrible, so let’s make another one which is more exciting.’”

It was 2007’s Worlds Collide that turned Apocalyptica into an international sensation, selling more than four million records to date. The Sony BMG CD features several guest collaborators including Gontier, who sang the track ‘I Don’t Care,’ giving the band its first No. 1 single on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart. The track also helped propel the album to No. 7 on both the Billboard Hard Rock Albums and Independent Albums charts, and No. 59 on the Billboard 200. Taylor’s vocals on ‘I’m Not Jesus’ spurred another Top 10 Mainstream Rock hit that addresses the disturbing issue of child abuse by clerics.

In 2010, Apocalyptica culminated “17 years of hard work” with 7th Symphony via Jive Records/Sony Music. The album was a Top 5 hit in the band’s native Finland as well as Germany and Poland. The track list maintained the group’s formula of having four tracks feature guest vocalists and the remaining cuts presented as instrumentals. The first single, ‘End of Me,’ showcases Gavin Rossdale of Bush on vocals. The song became a Top 5 Mainstream Rock hit, while third single, ‘Not Strong Enough’ with Doug Robb of Hoobastank, reached No. 21.

Shadowmaker on the newly formed Better Noise Records/Eleven Seven Music Group was helmed by Grammy Award-winning producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Deftones, Mastodon). The new album is described in a label news release as a body of work that “slices through every facet of human emotion whilst maintaining a consistent musical sensibility that is unmistakably of this band and no other.”

First single ‘Cold Blood’ is currently No. 27 on the Mediabase Active Rock airplay chart and No. 30 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs chart. Apocalyptica is currently touring the U.S. and Canada, including stops at Rock On The Range in Columbus, Ohio (May 15) and Rocklahoma in Pryor, Okla. (May 22). The European leg of the Shadowmaker tour opens June 13 at the Download Festival in England and concludes Nov. 6 in Paris.

Watch the official music video for ‘Cold Blood’ from Shadowmaker, the eighth studio album by heavy metal cellists Apocalyptica.

As A Matter of Fact…

* Helsinki, Finland, quartet Apocalyptica was formed in 1993 when Eicca Toppinen recruited three of his classmates at the prestigious Sibelius Academy. In 1996, the group released its debut studio album, Plays Metallica by Four Cellos, which consisted solely of Metallica covers played on cellos.

* Fans of both classical music and heavy metal began to take notice as Apocalyptica reappeared in 1998 with second album, s Inquisition Symphony, which features four Metallica covers; compositions by Faith No More, Pantera, and Sepultura; and three original tracks by Toppinen.

* Apocalyptica borrows elements from classical music, metal, world, folk, and progressive rock, adding double bass and percussion to its musical mix on the 2001 album Cult. The set is the first of two original track albums that also included 2003's Reflections, which features guest drummer Dave Lombardo from Slayer.

* The band added Mikko Sirén as permanent drummer with the release of a 2005 self-titled project. The collection Amplified: A Decade of Reinventing the Cello followed in 2006, and the band’s sixth studio album, 2007’s Worlds Collide, was the first Apocalyptica album to chart on the Billboard 200 (No. 59).

* An adventurous undertaking in 2010 titled 7th Symphony peaked at No. 31 on Billboard 200 and features guest appearances by ex-Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale, Brent Smith from Shinedown, Slayer's Dave Lombardo, Lacey Mosley of Flyleaf, and Joe Duplantier of Gojira.

* In 2013, Apocalyptica issued the ambitious Wagner Reloaded: Live in Leipzig, the quartet’s first live album and 11th album overall. The live set is in celebration of the 200th birthday of composer Richard Wagner and features the MDR Symphony Orchestra.

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