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Apocalyptica accompanying Rammstein in concert

Cello rock and cello metal are subgenres of rock music and heavy metal characterized by the use of cellos (as well as other bowed string instruments such as the violin and viola) as primary instruments, alongside or in place of more traditional rock instruments such as electric guitars, electric bass guitar, and drum set.

Cellos, often in groups of three or more, are used to create a sound, rhythm, and texture similar to that of familiar rock music, but distinctly reshaped by the unique timbres and more traditional genres of the cello (in particular) and other string instruments used. The cellos and other stringed instruments are often amplified and/or modified electronically, and often played in a manner imitative of the sound of electric guitars. They are often combined with other elements typical of rock music such as rock-style vocals and drumming.

Cello rock bands

Cello rock has been developing slowly over the years, with its direct influences dating as far back as the 1930s in Russia and Germany.[citation needed] The 1971 self-titled debut by the Electric Light Orchestra featured rock songs arranged for cellos, and the subsequent tour consisted of a standard rock band augmented by four cellos.

Current prominent bands include:

  • Rasputina (formed 1992), an American band that uses distortion effects pedals on their cellos. The band is made up of two cellists, song-writer and vocalist Melora Creager, and drummer Jonathon TeBeest. They are known for their references to the Victorian era and eccentric song subjects, as well as their string of albums since the mid 1990s. Rasputina opened for Marilyn Manson in 2002.
  • Primitivity (formed in 2000) is a American cello rock band from Washington, D.C.. Lead by Loren Westbrook-Fritts, the ensemble began by covering songs of Megadeth. The group has performed on National Public Radio. Their debut album titled Plays Megadeth For Cello. was arranged and recorded entirely by Loren Westbrook-Fritts. The group has performed along with Loren Westbrook-Fritts as Artists in Residence at Strathmore Hall in Bethesda, Maryland in February 2010. The band has composed and performed original music for an upcoming album.
  • A Collective of Dirt (formed late 2007) of Olympia, Washington. The four piece performs on amplified Cellos and violin playing fast punkish music with screaming vocals.
  • Aaron Minsky, or Von Cello (whose band goes by the same name), is a cellist who pioneered the (self titled) "celtar" style of playing, which is playing the cello like a guitar, held over the knees or with a guitar strap over the neck, and strummed and picked with a guitar pick. When playing as a band, Von Cello consists of cellist Aaron Minsky and others on the bass, drums, vocals, and keyboards. They Von Cello has released CDs covering genres from classical crossover to "metal cello" a genre coined by Von Cello.
  • Break of Reality (formed in 2003), is an American instrumental rock band consisting of three cellists and a percussionist. The band's sound consists of many musical influences, such as metal, classical, and cinematic rock. The group has two original albums to its credit, and is also known for covering bands like System of a Down and Coheed and Cambria.

Other bands include:

In addition to cello rock groups that feature cello as the primary melodic instruments, some rock groups and artists have featured acoustic or electric celli as part of the band. In most cases, the cello is not a full member of the band, but is used only for a specific song, but a few artists have featured a cellist as a full band member. Such artists include The Walla Recovery[1], the singer Poe (featuring cellist Cameron Stone), Tarja (featuring cellist Max Lilja, a former Apocalyptica member), Hevein (also featuring Lilja), Darling Violetta (featuring cellist Gerri Sutyak), The Dreamscapes Project (featuring cellist Dr Path Guy), Mirramaze (featuring cellist/composer Kiki) and Veruca Salt (featuring cellist Eric Remschneider on the album Resolver).

See also




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