Apocalyptica Within The Fire
Sunday, April 26 2015
7:00 PM Door|8:00 PM Show
Upstate Concert Hall
1208 New York 146
Clifton Park, New York 12065
On sale at all Ticketmaster Locations, The Club Box Office, and The Northern Lights Smoke Shop
Finnish cello-based heavy rockers Apocalyptica want to be remembered as the band that brought balls back to heavy metal and the band that did so in a unique way. Since its inception, the band has been mining the classical form and structure, coming up with something totally unpredictable and utterly unforgettable. Twenty years into an inimitable and formidable career, they are still reinventing themselves and finding new sources of inspiration. That's not easy to do!
"As a musician, I can't think about Grammys or selling this or that amount of records. That can't be the goal of this job. We are focused on the main thing, which is making music," Apocalyptica's Eicca Toppinen said. "I can't say we are the only ones doing that, but at least we do it our way."
That's the mission statement and the infallible goal of Apocalyptica – to do the music they want to do without rules or regulations or parameters. They continue to flip the script and twist convention to suit themselves two decades deep.
Reflecting on the band's rich history, from the Metallica covers that turned the music scene on its ear to 2007's critically lauded and fan applauded Worlds Collide, which saw them collaborating with everyone from Slipknot's Corey Taylor to Rammstein's Till Lindemann to Lacuna Coil's Cristina Scabbia, Toppinen said, "When we released our first album, people thought, 'This is a novelty act, or a one album project.' We thought that as well, in the beginning."
But my, how times have changed. He continued, "Now, when I look back, the feedback from the world is that Apocalyptica also changed major things in the metal music scene."
Indeed, they've blown the doors open, fusing classical music with modern metal conventions and the result is something that cannot be argued with. "What we do may not be for everyone, but we opened new doors and new ways of thinking and encouraged people, who have told us, 'When I heard you, I thought that I can do this.' It was good. We changed some things in the scene," Toppinen said.
That's not lip service nor is it said with any sort of bravado.
Apocalyptica continue to change, to evolve and do new things. They haven't released an album since 2010's 7th Symphony, on which they toured mightily, playing 200 shows all over the world. But they've not been immobile or stagnant or inactive since.
In fact, it's quite the opposite. "People wonder where we are, what we are doing," Toppinen acknowledged. "Well, we're coming back, stronger than ever."
The first new music from the band in three years will come in the form of a live CD of "the Wagner Thing," as Toppinen lovingly calls it. Officially, "the Wagner Thing" is the Wagner Reloaded musical and theatrical project, one that defied categorization or containment.
May 22, 2013 marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of composer Richard Wagner. Gregor Seyffert, an award-winning choreographer and dancer, staged a brilliant and magical, cross-genre event, featuring elements of dance and theater in a live concert celebrating the oeuvre of Wagner. The event was not based on sole works but on Wagner's body of work and his life. It was then presented on stage, with Apocalyptica composing the music.
The live CD, titled Wagner Reloaded – Live in Leipzig, will be comprised of the very compositions from that event.
Overall, Wagner Reloaded was not some sort of therapy project nor was it Apocalyptica Plays Wagner, either. It was, as is the case with all Apocalyptica material, something else. Ultimately, it's new Apocalyptica compositions, inspired by this event.
"We took elements of [Wagner's] life and used his original music and rearranged it. Most of the time, I wrote a new score for it," Toppinen explained. "I call it a 'score' since it felt like I wrote a movie score. I had to fulfill the needs of the stage."
Toppinen also acknowledged that the live CD will satisfy longtime fans for a specific reason, saying, "What makes it cool for many old Apocalyptica fans is that there are no vocals. It is a purely instrumental album and old school fans will love it. Since our music having vocals divides people, the old fans consider [vocal-less Apocalyptica] the 'real' Apocalyptica, while others love the vocal tracks. But this will delight the old fans."
Talk about knowing your audience and satiating fans!
The live release is also old school in that Toppinen wrote all the music, which is how things transpired in the band over 10 years ago. As Apocalyptica have grown and developed, there has been more of a division of labor and more sharing of the responsibility when it comes to writing music. So while the music was penned by solely by Toppinen, it was performed by the band in the live realm.
The whole band was involved. Therefore, it is/was an Apocalyptica project.
Wagner Reloaded certainly further stoked the creative fires. "We were asked so many times to do this type of project, but this was the first one we got excited about," Toppinen said. "I was writing music for a movie that does not exist. I had a list of themes and every theme that Gregor had in his mind, I had to think about how long the scenes were and then write the music, all the while thinking about having Apocalyptica perform it with a symphony orchestra and choir, and around 100 dancers."
It was a visual spectacle, like a lush carnival come to life, and a massive undertaking for the band, with Toppinen acknowledging, "Everything sounded so crazy on this project. I thought, 'If we can make this work, it can be special.' The production was massive. The stage was huge. It was big, and I like a big challenge. This was like Mission: Impossible. So I wanted to try it."
Mission: Impossible became Mission: Accomplished. And now it's time for Apocalyptica to take what they learned in the process and start to distill ideas into a proper new album.
So while the band had a year off from active touring while " doing the Wagner thing," the creativity still flowed and they stayed sharp, working on something grand. It's the first time the band has had any significant –relatively speaking—time off since 1996. "It's been 17 years," Toppinen stated. "It's good to have time off. We can do new things and have new inspiration. We have a freedom to do things differently than a normal album."
The immediate Apocalyptica itinerary will find the band spending the fall writing music for a studio album, with a late spring 2014 studio start being eyed. There is some touring on the docket, set for March 2014with 17 shows in Europe featuring a 25-piece orchestra. The other dates on the tour will boast performances of the band's repertoire and they will be backed by a small orchestra.
While there is a level of excitement for what Apocalyptica can do next, they are not quite sure where the journey will begin or end and that's just fine with the band. Life is about the journey and the destination. "For our next step, I don't know yet," Toppinen said.
He furthered, "The band is in a great position and in a good state. We have toured successfully and we have a strong fanbase. While record companies get scared when we want to have a break, since we can't be out of market for a while, we know we have a band that is so unique that people won't forget us with a four-year break."
Toppinen finished, "We are in perfect shape. We're still hungry for the future to make music together. If you have that hunger and want to try something new, you'll never know where you end up. I only know that we are motivated and excited, and have heads full of fresh ideas."
Most bands are petering out and running on fumes at the 20-year mark, if they make it that far. Such is not the case for Apocalyptica. Instead, they are at their creative apex and there is no ceiling on what they can and will accomplish. Their time is now.
(Source: Agent Provided)