Norwegian electronic band Apoptygma Berzerk debuted in the early '90s as an industrial goth outfit. After the release of their 1993 debut Soli Deo Gloria, each successive release would incorporate elements from genres such as new wave, synth pop, and alternative rock — all connected by a pulsing digital heartbeat. They were a mainstay on the German charts in the 2000s, peaking in 2006 with the rock-leaning You and Me Against the World. While thriving just outside the mainstream, live releases, compilations, and no less than a dozen EPs maintained their presence with a devoted fan base into 2018, when they celebrated the 25th anniversary of their breakthrough debut.
APOP was conceived in 1989 by Stephan Groth (sometimes known as Grothesk) and Jon Erik Martinsen (who left the duo soon after formation). In the beginning, they made their mark as a hard-hitting goth industrial outfit, eventually morphing through the decades to incorporate a wide range of electronic influences. APOP's first single, "Ashes to Ashes," was released in 1991 on the Tatra label, helping them break internationally with an appearance on the Sex, Drugs & EBM compilation. They signed with Metropolis Records, which issued a career summation in 1998 entitled The Apopcalyptic Manifesto, a collection of early singles and tracks from their Norwegian debut LP Soli Deo Gloria. The full-length 7 followed later in the year.
In early 2000, Apoptygma Berzerk resurfaced with Welcome to Earth. Less aggressive than their early material, Earth was more new wave than industrial, marking a new direction for the group. Harmonizer added some synth pop textures to the mix in 2002, while 2005's You & Me Against the World incorporated rock guitars and more traditional song structures. That trajectory continued into the next year with the release of the Black EP, which included the angular indie rock "Shine On." The covers EP Nothing Else Matters followed in 2007, seeing Apoptygma covering tracks by Metallica, U2, and Marilyn Manson. A Joy Division cover would appear on the sequel to the Black EP, which they issued in 2011. In late 2016, APOP — comprising Groth, Ted Skogmann, Jonas Groth, and Audun "Angel" Stengel — continued their evolution on the atmospheric Exit Popularity Contest (the End Records), a compilation of three previously released instrumental EPs from 2014 (Stop Feeding the Beast), 2015 (Videodrone), and 2016 (Xenogenesis).
In 2019, Groth reissued APOP's debut Soli Deo Gloria as the reimagined SDGXXV, a collection of remixes provided by over a dozen artists, including Ancient Methods, Cronos Titan, and Codex Empire. ~ Steve Huey & Neil Z. Yeung