Finnish "cello rock" group Apocalyptica has signed a worldwide, multi-album recording deal with 20-20 Entertainment, Martin Dodd's New York-based joint venture with Sony BMG International.

Finnish "cello rock" group Apocalyptica has signed a worldwide, multi-album recording deal with 20-20 Entertainment, Martin Dodd's New York-based joint venture with Sony BMG International.

According to a statement issued today (March 20) from Sony BMG, the band is to enter the studio later in the year to record their sixth album, which will feature new material with unidentified collaborations.

"We are immensely proud to sign Apocalytica," comments Maarten Steinkamp, president, Sony BMG Continental Europe and chairman/CEO of the company's German operations. "Apocalyptica are unique and we look forward to working with them and developing their success yet further."

In the statement, Steinkamp describes the decision to sign the act as "another example that shows how highly committed we are to working and breaking repertoire from all across Europe."

Since the release of their debut 1996 album "Plays Metallica by Four Cellos" on Finnish indie label Zen Garden, the band has sold roughly 2.5 million albums, Sony BMG says.

Until recently, the act was signed to Universal Music Germany. Their most recent album "Apocalyptica" (Vertigo/Universal), its first set of original material, was released in Europe in early 2005.

Having recently completed a world tour comprising 150 dates, the band is booked for a string of European concerts and festivals over the next six months and a U.S. tour is in the pipeline.

Metal band Bullet For My Valentine is another act currently signed to 20-20.

Dodd joined Sony Music International in 2004 as senior VP of worldwide A&R. The Danish-born executive was one of the architects of the success of Jive in the '90s, serving from August 1992 to September 2002 as senior VP of A&R for Zomba Europe, where he worked with such acts as 'N Sync, Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys. Dodd was also instrumental in setting up in the '90s the Stockholm-based Cheiron Production Facility, a joint-venture between Zomba and producers Dennis Pop and Max Martin.

Following the merger of Sony BMG, Dodd set up 20-20 to develop new acts.