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METALLICA’s own frontman himself James Hetfield guests on APOCALYPTICA’s cover of “One”

APOCALYPTICA are thrilled to announce the third single from Apocalyptica Plays Metallica, Vol. 2 – the hotly-anticipated sequel to their legendary debut record. “One” falls hot on the heels of first singles “The Four Horsemen” and “The Unforgiven II“, and features none other than METALLICA frontman James Hetfield himself.

Apocalyptica Plays Metallica Vol. 2” will continue the journey that began in 1996 when cellists from Helsinki’s world-renowned Sibelius Academy played symphonic tribute to the biggest of the big four – heavy metal titans METALLICA. For their tenth record the classically-minded dynamos are returning to their roots to bring a legendary story full circle. It also features a host of surprises, including an unprecedented collaboration.

The LP’s third single “One“, taken from METALLICA‘s 1988 landmark “…And Justice For All” is a breathtaking reinterpretation of one of the biggest of The Big Four’s greatest musical moments – a true crowning creative achievement in their staggering 40 year career. In a stunning development, the single sees METALLICA frontman James Hetfield himself joining proceedings for a soul-stirring, spoken-word rendition of those inimitable, now immortal lyrics. More than a unique collaboration, this is history in the making.

“I think it’s incredible that James wanted to do it,” says APOCALYPTICA‘s Eicca Toppinen. “We were always thinking, ‘it’d be great to someday do something with Metallica!’ I think the excitement for him came from the different approach we were taking – sometimes the craziest ideas are what excites people and that was our challenge.”

“We used everything at our disposal to make it as bombastic as possible. It had to be epic! The result was truly cinematic, with James Hetfield narrating the story with those poetic lyrics. It was powerful and touching,” adds Perttu Kivilaakso. “As a fan I have to say it was unbelievable to finally hear it. I was in my home crying. My hands were shaking. It was an incredible journey.”

Apocalyptica Plays Metallica Vol. 2” was produced by longtime collaborator and studio supremo Joe Barresi (QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, SOUNDGARDEN, NINE INCH NAILS, TOOL) and will be released via new label Throwdown Entertainment on June 7th.

“Apocalyptica Plays Metallica Vol. 2” Tracklisting:

Ride the Lightning
St. Anger
The Unforgiven II
Blackened
The Call of Ktulu
(in memory of Cliff Burton)
The Four Horsemen (ft. Rob Trujillo)
Holier Than Thou
To Live Is To Die

One (ft.. James Hetfield)
One (Instrumental)

In the lore of heavy metal only a handful of artists can claim to have changed history, and even fewer can say they’ve done so twice. Enter APOCALYPTICA and one of metal’s greatest, most unlikely success stories. By any account it’s the stuff of legend, and it’s about to come full circle.

Cast your mind back thirty years. The giants of the 70s and 80s still ruled the scene, but a generation of up-and-coming artists were pushing hard on the boundaries of heavy music, and then APOCALYPTICA came along and smashed them down with cello case.

Formed in 1993 at the world-renowned Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland, APOCALYPTICA began life as a loving, lo-fi nod to METALLICA from four classically-trained musicians with no greater ambition than to explore their favourite band’s music with their chosen instrument.

As founding band leader Eicca Toppinnen explains, the project would take on a life of its own when they finally released “Plays Metallica By Four Cellos” in 1996. More than a debut, it was a monster in waiting.

“We just loved Metallica and we wanted to play it with the instruments we were able to play, which just happened to be cellos,” says Eicca. “We played a metal club in Helsinki, and then we were asked to do an album and we thought the guy must be kidding. Like, who listens to this shit on record? And then like five months after it was released we were opening for Metallica. It’s still unbelievable to me.”

Unbeknownst to APOCALYPTICA, they’d just boarded a rocket ship that would propel them through eight rapturously received records, a staggering six million records sold, and a relentless touring schedule that would see them bringing their uniquely symphonic concept of heaviness to every time zone and countless festival stages around the world.

More importantly, the band would evolve and grow beyond the bounds of their beginning as a loving tribute to METALLICA, establishing themselves as gifted songwriters in their own right. A host of collaborations would follow with artists as far-ranging as Ville Valo of HIM, BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE, SLIPKNOT’s Corey Taylor, and SLAYER drum hero Dave Lombardo among many others.

But for all of APOCALYPTICA’s countless achievements and recognition, there is perhaps one that stands above all others. They would come to know and befriend METALLICA themselves, and it is that relationship which would see them not just performing at METALLICA’s 30th anniversary shows in 2011 among other highlights, but cementing a friendship behind the scenes that would bespeak a powerful, mutual respect between the musicians. And it was off the back of another anniversary – when APOCALYPTICA’s debut “Plays Metallica by Four Cellos” turned 25 – that the idea came about. The response to that marathon tour, totalling over 200 shows, was hard to ignore.

“We played the full first album and it was so much more fun and exciting than we expected,” says Eicca. “We got the idea to do something like the first album, but we couldn’t do it in exactly the same way – we needed to challenge ourselves and bring a totally new perspective to the original energy and emotion of Metallica.”

The result was nothing short of a sonic love-letter – an album they’d simply, elegantly title “Plays Metallica, Vol. 2“, and the passion poured into the recording project by Eicca Toppinen, Perttu Kivilaakso, Paavo Lötjönen and Mikko Sirén – the band’s long-time drummer who after completion of this album leaves amicably on this unique high-note – is plain to hear and see. Perttu Kivilaakso concurs, adding that the new album – produced by longtime collaborator and studio supremo Joe Barresi – was more than another selection of hits.

“We’ve been talking about making another Metallica album for around 20 years, as there were still so many great songs we wanted to play! We waited for the perfect moment to do it. Thinking of that teenage me who is now getting to play his favorite tracks gives me goosebumps! Out of maybe 20 tracks, nine made it onto the album, and we needed to figure out which songs from the latest albums would work, too.”

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And judging by the deep cuts and recent highlights making up APOCALYPTICA‘s ninth album, this is no mere best-of. As Eicca explains, it’s an expression of METALLICA’s massive dynamic and creative range. And it’s about more than which tracks. It’s who’s on it. “I’ve become really good friends with the guys over the years, because our journey started with them,” he says.

“We opened for Metallica for two nights, and Lars was so blown away – he flew to Helsinki earlier than the rest of the band so he could see our show, and the next day the whole band was there. We’ve never asked anything from them, and they’re such great people. Lars is the guy who makes things happen – he has this endless vision.”

The ensuing conversation would see not just APOCALYPTICA continuing their unique homage to one of the greatest metal bands of all time. It would see them actually featuring Rob Trujillo on a storming rendition of thrash classic “The Four Horsemen” as a lead single, followed by a stunning rendition “The Unforgiven II” taken from METALLICA’s 1997 release, “Reload” – proof-positive of the master musicians’ desire to create a follow-up that celebrates the entirety of METALLICA’s illustrious career.

For their third single, the band opted to blow people’s minds with a completely unique reimagining of “One“, taken from METALLICA’s 1988 landmark “…And Justice For All“. Featuring none other than James Hetfield voicing a spoken-word rendition of those inimitable, now immortal lyrics, it stands as far more than a unique collaboration. It is nothing short of history in the making.

“I think it’s incredible that James wanted to do it,” says Eicca Toppinen. “We were always thinking, ‘it’d be great to someday do something with Metallica!’ I think the excitement for him came from the different approach we were taking – sometimes the craziest ideas are what excites people and that was our challenge.”

“”We used everything at our disposal to make it as bombastic as possible. It had to be epic! The result was truly cinematic, with James Hetfield narrating the story with those poetic lyrics. It was powerful and touching,” adds Perttu Kivilaakso. “As a fan I have to say it was unbelievable to finally hear it. I was in my home crying. My hands were shaking. It was an incredible journey.”