Welcome Back: Apocalyptica

After more than 20 years, Finnish cello metallers Apocalyptica have a singer. Not a guest vocalist or a one-time collaboration or a short-time live appointment, but a musician who has sung on a whole album and will participate in all of their live shows on the subsequent tour. Instead of needing guest vocalists that varied from Ville Valo to Max Cavalera, Franky Perez has sung on all of Shadowmaker.

According to the band, the reason for this was fairly straightforward.

“It’s a natural conclusion, working as a band. We still want to make vocal music, and it was great to do all the collaborations in the past, but the more you have guests participating in recording, the more you have management and labels and more people involved,” says cellist and founder member Eicca Toppinen.

“This time we really wanted to keep it on us, and the only possible solution was to try to find a singer to sing the record and tour on the back of the album – to make the whole tour – to get things more connected, to go back to the unit itself, what we are as a band. Because we were fooling around with so many different things for a long time.”/o:p

The band have, remarkably, survived the novelty factor that brought them to public attention in the late 90s when they were still a Metallica covers band. While novelty factor can get you noticed fast, it can also cause people to get bored and turn away. There has to be something substantive underneath that fans can cling on to, or the band will fizzle out.

Clearly, that Apocalyptica are still playing shows 20 years on suggests they have that, and that the majority of the set is their own music doubly so. Not that they are above using the novelty factor to their advantage on occasion…

“We were on the 70,000 Tons Of Metal cruise recently, and we had a pool deck show, so we knew that it was a late night, people were having great parties by the pools, so let’s give them a party set for one hour, 15 minutes,” Eicca says, by way of example. “We played Master Of Puppets and Creeping Death. We enjoy playing those songs. We do it rarely… but that was a special occasion!”