Metallica: Where’s The New Album? Kirk Hammett Explains

Metallica fans have been chomping at the bit for a new album ever since the release of their last LP, Death Magnetic, in 2008. We’re coming up on eight years since that release, and that’s the longest Metallica aficionados have ever had to wait for a new album.

Over the past six months, most of the members of Metallica have weighed in as to exactly where the band is in recording their 10th full-length album. However, in each case, the members have been more than a bit gun-shy about giving any concrete details regarding the new Metallica album, with Lars Ulrich commenting that they were “f**king in it,” and bassist Robert Trujillo saying that the new album would be “unique but heavy.”

Perhaps the most concrete information Metallica fans have received came last week from outside Metallica, when the band booker for the Reading festival, John Mac, said that Metallica “was almost finished” with the new album.

Then again, how would he know?

In an interview with KOMP 92.3 FM, Kirk Hammett gave another non-answer answer.

“We’re just plowing away it and working on it every day, and we’re gearing up to actually record some of it now. It’s still so early in the process. You know, these songs we’re recording, they might be on the album, they might not be on the album. It’s just one of those things where we’re just trying to, like, negotiate through all the material and just figure out what the best way to move forward is. And so, that’s basically where we’re at right now.”

This interview was conducted in May, and it’s actually the first indicator from one of Metallica’s members that the band is actually in the studio and recording… maybe.

So what’s really with the delay?

Is it that Metallica has gotten to a point in their career where they have nothing left to prove, they have plenty of cash in the bank, (despite the reported losses from their Through the Never 3D movie), and the desire to put out a new album really isn’t a top priority anymore?

When Robert Trujillo joined the band circa the release of St. Anger, his vitality and skill seemed to jumpstart the band out of a decade-long malaise. Instead of playing the same 15 to 20 standards at each concert, Trujillo encouraged Metallica to branch out. For the first time in years (and in some cases for the first time ever), Metallica played songs live they would have never considered in the past. Blistering tracks like “Dyers Eve” and “Disposable Heroes” started making appearances in live sets. During the tour for Death Magnetic, Metallica fans thrilled to the fact that they could see the band three nights in a row, and see three shows that were 90 percent different from each other.

And then came Metallica’s 30th-anniversary party spanning an entire weekend. The band played onstage with acts that had inspired them such as Ozzy, Danzig, and King Diamond, as well as former bandmates that they’d seemingly patched up ties, including Jason Newsted and Dave Mustaine. The weekend was a high point in the band’s career. How may other acts have survived in such a strong way for 30 years?

Then came the movie.

Through the Never proved that Metallica doesn’t have the Midas Touch in every situation. Through the Never is what happens when you and three of your friends have tens of millions of dollars to make a movie and no one says “no” to anyone else’s ideas. Through the Never made A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica and Some Kind of Monster look like Citizen Kane and The Godfather.

The film was a flop, but it shouldn’t have been anything that Metallica couldn’t have overcome. They’ve made mistakes before, (Lulu, anyone?), and they crawled through the fire of Cliff Burton’s tragic death and the Napster fiasco (though time has proven that Lars was right all along in his fight with the streaming service).

So what happened? Why is the new Metallica album taking so long to be put out? What do you think?

[Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images]