Apocalyptica: Shadowmaker Tour

Pro Motion Concerts & The Rialto Theatre Present

Apocalyptica: Shadowmaker Tour

10 Years, Failure Anthem

May 07 Sat

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

The Rialto Theatre

$26 - $31

This event is all ages

Standing Room w/ Limited Festival Seating in Rear

Apocalyptica: Shadowmaker Tour
Apocalyptica: Shadowmaker Tour
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 2014 with 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.
10 Years
10 Years
After a year and a half on the road touring 2010's Feeding The Wolves, 10 Years reached a turning point. It was time to move forward and take full control of their career by launching their own label, Palehorse Records. In addition, the band decided to self-produce their fourth album, Minus the Machine, at drummer/guitarist Brian Vodinh's Kashmir Recording.

Splitting up with a major label after five years was "a very scary step to take," Hasek admits. "It's like breaking up with a longtime girlfriend. You're used to the motions, but when it becomes stale and unhappy, you need to move on and get energy back into your life. There was no anger on either side. We just painlessly parted ways."

Working together as a band for the first time since writing the Gold-selling album The Autumn Effect helped 10 Years go back to their roots, without label-enforced pressure to create a radio-friendly "hit," and free to experiment with the hard rock sounds that lie at the core of their music. "Our true fans who buy the albums, not just the singles, understand that our singles, for the most part, misrepresent the entire album," says Hasek. "As a band, we like to explore more and go a little left of center with song structures. We wanted to create an album that has no boundaries, and where we didn't have to make every song 'three minutes and 30 seconds' for a label to approve it. There's a fine line with that, of course, and we're very aware of it. We all grew up on rock music, and as many albums as we've written, the way we've written them, it's ingrained in us to work within a time frame that fits radio. There are definitely songs that work well for that, but as a whole, we wanted this album to represent a journey in a sense."

This chapter of 10 Years began in 2001, when Hasek took over as vocalist. Three years later they released their independent album, Killing All That Holds You, featuring the groundbreaking single "Wasteland," which led to their signing with Universal Records. "That song was created in 2001 or 2002," says Hasek. "We weren't seeking to write a smash single. We were just writing music." The Autumn Effect (2005) led to widespread radio and video play, a fiercely loyal fan base, and tours with heavyweights like Linkin Park, Korn and the Deftones. When their sophomore effort, Division, was released in 2008, 10 Years had cemented their place as one of hard rock's top contenders and most sought-after live bands. Still, says Hasek, despite the success, "it all came to a head" with the band's 3rd major label release, Feeding The Wolves. "When you feel like you're being told to go through motions and jump through hoops, it takes the heart out of it," he says. "We know that we need a hit and we understand that it's important. However, as musicians, we're not a band that says, 'We're going to make a hit.' It's better to do what comes naturally and then figure out the after-effect."

With that in mind, 10 Years created their most powerful songs to date for Minus The Machine, with Hasek again relying on personal experiences for his lyrics. "Everyone asks about my inspiration for lyrics, and the best thing I can give them is a very generic answer: life," he says. "Life is the experience — it's everything you go through: the ups, the downs. I tend to gravitate more toward the therapy method. I'm not great at writing happy pop songs. So, I usually get the negative emotions out through music. As a person, I'm very happy and thankful for my life, but when it comes to lyrics, it's therapy for me."

One thing that won't change is 10 Years' connection with their fans. With the release of Minus The Machine, the band is looking forward to hitting the road, performing in close contact with their dedicated audience. "After the last touring cycle, we realized where we should strive to be, and that's to be totally fine in the club environment," says Hasek. "We don't plan to chase after arena rock or amphitheaters. If things like that happen, then so be it, but we live and die by the loyalty of the club audiences. Our fans are loyal. They travel with us, and they want us to be loyal to ourselves. That's what keeps them coming back. What we tried to do on this album is really give them what they want and what they need because they've been so good to us through the ups and downs of our career."

"First and foremost, when it's all said and done, we're proud of this album in its entirety," he says. "That speaks volumes to us because we're our own worst critics. We pick everything apart. An album is your child, it's your baby, and you know it better than anyone. To sit back and be 100 percent proud of what we've accomplished is so gratifying, and we think everything else will fall into place. We hope that everyone will enjoy what we've tried to do."
Failure Anthem
Failure Anthem get right to the point on their full-length debut album for Razor & Tie, the cleverly titled First World Problems. The Greensboro, NC quintet—JD [vocals], Ryan [bass, backup vocals], Kile [guitar], Zane [drums], and Wil [rhythm guitars]—architect eleven impactful, invigorating, and infectious anthems with hooks so robust that modern bells and whistles just aren't necessary. It's a tried-and-true approach that feels timeless as the boys make hard rock hypnotic again. Like a big screen blockbuster you can't turn away from, they don't waste any time reaching the climax either…

The group began to take shape in the summer of 2013. While working at a local Greensboro studio alongside his friend Drew Fulk and assistant engineer Zane, Kile penned his own music. He spent the day handling recording for everybody from Nightmares to Cane Hill and producing and co-writing with the likes of Motionless In White, while nights were devoted to a new project with Zane, Wil, and Ryan. After watching a Facebook video of JD covering Matt Anderson's "Coal Mining Blues," Kile reached out to the vocalist. In between his career as an esteemed chef working under the likes of Wolfgang Puck and Gino Angelini and serving as a Naval Culinary Specialist, JD continually wrote music and performed. However, he returned to South Carolina from a stint in California at just the right moment.

"I saw that video, and I called him," Kile recalls. "It just made sense because his voice instantly worked with everything we were doing. Everybody felt that it was something special."

"This is family," adds Wil. "Kile and I have been friends and played guitar together for over ten years. We've all played in numerous bands around town, and we've known each other. We all knew JD too, and it simply worked."

"I'd known Kile for over ten years at that point," says JD. "He recorded my previous band Written In Blood. I'd been on a journey—living like a gypsy and cooking food. I came back to South Carolina to take care of my mother who had just been diagnosed with cancer. It was a crazy coincidence that I was back and Kile was doing a rock band. The stars truly aligned."

Joining forces with influential rock manager Larry Mazer, Failure Anthem began to build a passionate regional fan base. They supported Halestorm and Scott Stapp at packed shows and eventually caught the attention of Razor & Tie. With Kile and Drew overseeing production, mixing, and mastering, the band wrote and recorded First World Problems in 2014.

Zane exclaims, "Our love for making great rock songs drew us together. We all come from very different backgrounds musically and stylistically, but as a band, we mesh really well, have found of our own, and have a great time doing it."

"Obviously, we're a rock band," declares Kile. "There are a bunch of influences going on in there. We'll have hints of metal and even an electronic side."

As a result, a sonic barrage fuels the title track. Augmented by pinch harmonic squeals, intense rhythms, and an overpowering refrain, "First World Problems" properly introduces Failure Anthem to the unsuspecting masses.

"The song is a satirical look at how people complain about the most unimportant things—like their latte being wrong or not having cell phone service," explains Kile. "It's a very real issue for this day and age."

"I ended up living in a homeless shelter when I was in L.A.," sighs JD. "It's a hard time living on the streets, and you see what real problems are as opposed to First World Problems. This track is a song for us. It's tough-as-nails and edgy. It punches people in the face and gives them truth."

On the other end of the spectrum, the powerful "Paralyzed" breaks from an anthemic chorus into a searing solo. "It's a love song about finding yourself within another person," JD goes on. "Everything just means more once you find that significant other. I think everybody can feel that."

Elsewhere, "Leap of Faith" urges honesty with oneself over a thick wall of distortion. The band also open up immensely on the soaring ballad "Here for Good," which Kile aptly describes as, "your straightforward love song about being committed to a person and assuring her that no matter how hard things get, you'll fight through it."

That fighting mentality is encased within the group's moniker. Ryan explains, "As a band name, mantra, and mindset, Failure Anthem just reminds me that we all have struggles and failures in life, but all we can do is turn them into opportunities to learn and grow from."

"Failure Anthem has an underdog meaning," says Kile. "It's the outlier concept. The person who is allegedly not built to succeed is actually the one who comes out on top. That message is in the music."

Wil agrees, "I want everyone to find something in our songs that represents a piece of their own story. Our record is a roller coaster of aggression, passion, devastation, loss, gain, triumph, and happiness."

For Failure Anthem, it's all about sharing that uplifting message via the songs in the end. "I'd like for people to gain inspiration, knowledge, and strength when they listen to Failure Anthem," JD concludes. "It's meant to push you through the day."

That's the point of all great rock music…
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