SM AIRPORT — Grammy-Award winning rock gods Metallica tonight will serenade video game geeks at Hangar 8 in an effort to raise $1 million for soldiers returning from combat.

(An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the concert was to be held at Barker Hangar.)

The multi-platinum band known for its heavy metal offerings will perform during the launch party for Santa Monica-based video game developer Activision’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” one of the most highly-anticipated, first-person shooters to be released this year.

The event will raise funds for The Call of Duty Endowment, a non-profit organization that helps soldiers transition to civilian life and assists them in establishing jobs and careers.

“We are honored to have Metallica partner with us to pay tribute to the brave servicemen and women who have risked their lives at war only to return home to find their biggest challenge is searching for a job,” stated Robert Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. “Today, the unemployment rate for veterans is 21 percent higher than the rate for all Americans, with veterans’ unemployment topping 500,000. We believe that the business community can and should do more.”

Tickets will not be for sale, but fans of the band can win tickets by going to the group’s website, ww.metclub.com. The band warned fans that security at the Santa Monica Airport will be high and they should not even think about sneaking in.

“PS: The Santa Monica Airport is a fully functioning airport and pretty damn serious about their security,” Metallica write on their website. “We were asked to relay to you that anyone attempting to sneak on to the grounds of the airport will be subjected to the long arm of the law … including possible arrest. So as much as we would love to have all you all join us there, if you do not win a ticket, probably best to sit this one out.”

Metallilca and Activision have a prior relationship. The band released “Guitar Hero: Metallica” in 2009. Formed in Los Angeles in 1981 by drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist and vocalist James Hetfield, Metallica have become one of the most influential and commercially successful rock bands in history, having sold more than 100 million albums worldwide and playing to tens of millions of fans the world over.

“The Call of Duty” franchise has broken several sales records, with one installment, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” topping $1 billion in sales.

Black Ops will release worldwide on Nov. 9.

After the Santa Monica show, Metallica is heading to Australia for the Oceania leg of the World Magnetic Tour, which kicked off in October 2008 in promotion of the band’s ninth studio album, “Death Magnetic.”

news@www.smdp.com

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