Apocalyptica explain the 'Metallica only' setlist behind their UK tour

An Apocalyptica press shot

Apocalyptica were formed in 1993 by a group of metal-loving, classically trained cellists from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. Their debut album, Plays Metallica By Four Cellos, transformed the group into cult favourites and they’ve recorded seven more albums.

Is it intimidating to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the group’s debut at such a prestigious venue as London’s Royal Festival Hall?

Our biggest wish was to invite metalheads into classical concert houses to help us celebrate this anniversary. We jumped on the opportunity to play the Royal Festival Hall. Because we have a classical education we are not at all intimidated by classic venues. It makes us very happy to celebrate our anniversary in such surroundings.

Will you be playing a Metallica-only set?

That’s correct. We will play the entire original first album, followed by an intermission, and return with our versions of yet more Metallica classics.

Will you include anything from Metallica’s new album Hardwired… To Self-Destruct?

No. The latest Metallica material we have worked on is from Death Magnetic [2008]. When Hardwired was released we already had our set list and had started rehearsals.

How well have you got to know the Metallica guys?

Metallica are not only an inspiration, they have supported our career since the very start by inviting us to support them two decades ago. We’ve been in contact with them ever since.

Apocalyptica have long-since recorded self-written material. Will a Metallica-only show feel like a step backwards?

It’s really more of a step back to where it all started for us. Obviously we do specific songs on cello only during our regular sets, but this will be a totally different beast. I don’t know yet how it might feel – probably very exciting!

As well as playing at the Stone Free Festival in June, what does the future hold for Apocalyptica?

This anniversary tour takes us all over the world for the rest of the year. Meanwhile, we start writing new music which we hope to record and release in 2018. DL

The tour begins on February 27.

Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.