The Helsinki, Finland quartet Apocalyptica were initially comprised of classically trained cellists Eicca Toppinen, Max Lilja, Antero Manninen, and Paavo Lotjonen; formed in 1993, the group made waves internationally in 1996 with Plays Metallica by Four Cellos, which combined their formal background with their love of heavy metal.
The album found favor with both classical buffs and metalheads alike, and two years later, Apocalyptica resurfaced with Inquisition Symphony, which featured covers of material by Faith No More and Pantera. Manninen soon left the band and was replaced by Perttu Kivilaanso. They added double bass and percussion to the mix for 2001's Cult, a collection of all-original material, and again on 2003's Reflections, which featured guest drummer Dave Lombardo from Slayer. Max Lilja had left the band and Mikko Sirén joined as the band's permanent drummer. After Reflections was reissued as Reflections Revised, featuring a bonus track with new wave diva Nina Hagen, 2005 saw the release of the eponymous Apocalyptica, followed in 2006 by the collection Amplified: A Decade of Reinventing the Cello. The band returned to the studio the following year for Worlds Collide. Rammstein vocalist Till Lindemann appeared on the album performing a German-language version of David Bowie's "Helden." Apocalyptica issued their obligatory Live album in 2008, and followed it with the adventurous 7th Symphony in 2010, with 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. 2013 saw the group issue the ambitious Wagner Reloaded: Live in Leipzig, and in 2015 they released their eighth studio album, Shadowmaker, which eschewed the usual rotating cast of vocalists in favor of relying solely on the talents of Scars on Broadway singer/guitarist Franky Perez. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi