Apocalyptica – Apocalyptica Plays Metallica Vol 2 – A Review

Apocalyptica – Apocalyptica Plays Metallica Vol 2 – A Review

7th June 2024 0 By Owen Edmonds

Everyone knows about Apocalyptica by now, they are no longer the sensation they were back in late 90’s when they first broke onto the scene. If you’ve been living under a rock let me provide some education for you. Apocalyptica use the medium of cello’s (and drums, etc) to play versions of metal songs. Sounds cool right. Well it is. 

Heavy Metal and Classical music have a lot in common, from phrasing, power chords, dramatic time signatures to the sheer heaviness of the music itself.

So without wasting anymore of your time, let’s crack on.

The Review

The ten tracks chosen for this record cover the length and breadth of Metallica’s career from The Four Horseman to St Anger (an interesting choice to cover given that albums awfulness).

Opening up with Ride the Lightning you have the unmistakeable riffs, driving drums but if it’s your first time listening to something like this I imagine you’ll be a little surprised at the sound. Those aren’t guitars you hear, they are cello’s, albeit played through amps with effects pedals etc. It’s a nice sounded song.

Second up is the aforementioned St Anger. Now I’m more than willing to say that this is an album that I just don’t like, we’ve all seen the documentary Some Kind of Monster and all the BS that was going on with the band at the time it was being made. That clearly shows in the quality (or lack thereof) in the tracks off that album, funnily enough the title track is one of maybe 3 songs I can tolerate (Frantic and Sweet Amber) so I was interested to see if another band could do anything with it. Thankfully, it is so much better than the original. This version is actually good and makes me want to listen to it again.

Not quite.

One of the weird moments for me was The Unforgiven II, I just couldn’t vibe with this version. I’m not sure what it was but it just didn’t work, maybe this type of song doesn’t suit the treatment that Apocalyptica gives it.

One of my favorite ever Metallica songs is Call of Ktulu, the absolute ridiculousness of Cliff Burton always had a huge impact on me. So I don’t mind this version of the song, there are some really nice parts, it is less in your face as some but there is something missing from it.

Another that doesn’t quite hit the mark for me is Four Horseman. It’s a fairly basic track in its original form and whilst there are some changes to it to better suit the cello and the inclusion of the Unforgiven III section work well, I guess the first part of the song just didn’t blow me away. I do like the second half of it though, so it’s far from a poor track.


Oh Yes

However, with the fourth track, Blackened, this style works brilliantly. So much so that after hearing it for the first time, I played it again straight after. This is exactly what I want a band like Apocalyptica to do with these classic metal songs. You know exactly what they’re playing, you even sing along at times but there is a spin, a take that helps to elevate the music. The breakdown after the second chorus, the call and response section has an almost imperceptible vocal line that is computerised but sings the lyrics and this works so well. Then there is a quieter section just after the “See our mother die” where you just have the cello’s for a few brief seconds with little to no effects. Then comes the solo and it works. Lovely stuff.

The beginning of To Live is to Die, one of the most poignant metal songs of all time was pretty (not a word I was expecting to use) and the cello lends a mournful quality to song. The track itself is a much shorter version than the original clocking in at only 3 minutes long which means it is harder to get the emotion of the original over, but having the cello allows them to do this, just.


The album has 2 versions of One. The first version features James Hetfield and Rob Trujillo, it is the basic musical track in both versions but the second version is a pure instrumental.]

They begin with an ominous soundscape of war and destruction before the main riff kicks in. It works. There are soaring violins, what maybe a glockenspiel (I think, maybe it’s a , a range of other instruments. Then in version 1, Mr Hetfield speaks the lyrics rather than singing them.

I’ve recently listened to William Shatner’s newest album (that is spectacular on it’s own) sadly James speaking the lyrics reminds me too much of Shatner so I’m taken out of the song. 

The second version, without James Hetfield, works much much better for me and is the version I prefer by quite some margin. Maybe some of you would like Hetfields Shatner impression, I’d like to hear from you if you do.


A couple of hits and misses throughout the album. I’ve seen them perform at festivals over the years and they are always entertaining and worth seeing live. For me, Blackened is the cream of this album and one that I will be coming back to time and again. 

However, as there are some misses, I can’t give it a huge score, so
Score 7.5/10.

Track Listing

  1. Ride the Lightning 6.47
  2. St Anger 4.18
  3. The Unforgiven II 4.05
  4. Blackened (feat Dave Lombardo) 5.58
  5. The Call of Ktulu 7.26
  6. The Four Horseman (feat Rob Trujillo) 4.46
  7. Holier Than Thou 3.42
  8. To Live is to Die 3.00
  9. One (feat James Hetfield & Rob Trujillo) 9.34
  10. One (feat Rob Trujillo)(Instrumental) 9.34
    Label – Throwdown Entertainment
    Release – 7th June 2024

    For all things, Apocalyptica, click HERE, and to purchase the album, click HERE

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