Metallica: Lars Ulrich Talks Down ‘Surprise iTunes Album’

Metallica is reportedly either on the verge or in the midst of recording their new album – depending on who you believe – but Metallica’s drummer, Lars Ulrich, recently said that the band won’t be dropping a surprise album on iTunes without notice… or will they?

Metallica hasn’t released an album since 2008’s Death Magnetic – an album that firmly re-established the band at top of the metal heap after its much-maligned release of 2003’s St. Anger. As such, metal fans have been chomping at the proverbial bit for a new release. Now, every time a music reporter gets within shouting distance of one of the members of the biggest metal band on the planet, the first question out of their mouths is, “When’s the new album coming out?”

According to the Venture Capital Post, Lars says it won’t be long.

“We’ve got lots of songs, and we’re honing them and tweaking them. It’s pretty close. You want to tweak it and get it good, but you also want to record it in a way where it doesn’t feel labored over and over thought.”

Unexpectedly, Metallica’s drummer also made a comment about how the album might be released – or rather, not be released.

“Right now, it’s not like we’re going to do one of those things where we’ll just give it to iTunes on Thursday without telling anybody. That’s not in the cards.”

Whether Ulrich’s comments are a reference to U2’s latest album release – in which the band released their album to everyone in the world with an iTunes account for free – or to some other promotional idea brought before the band, is anyone’s guess. In Metallica’s 2005 documentary, Some Kind of Monster, the band was approached by their management and told they need to provide some sort of gimmick to fans to encourage them to buy the album on CD instead of via – legal or otherwise – digital download, (much to the chagrin of the band). What they finally decided on was releasing a DVD with the St. Anger CD that showed Hetfield, Ulrich, Hammet, and then-new bassist, Robert Trujillo, playing every song from the St. Anger album live in their rehearsal room. Perhaps a new round of discussions prompted by Metallica’s management brought on Ulrich’s comments about iTunes?

Whatever the release method, Ulrich says that Metallica is close to bringing the creative elements together for a new album. However, fans may be advised to not hold their breath.

“When I say we’re close to being done, it means the next month or so. There’s a lot of stuff going on as life continues with family and personal events. But we are certainly down there [writing] pretty much every day.”

Since the release of their 1991 self-titled album, Metallica, each and every Metallica album has debuted at number one on the Billboard charts, and you can bet that their next album will likely to do the same. The next time fans in the United States can catch the band is when they headline the United States debut of the famous Rock ‘n Rio festival in Las Vegas in May.

[Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images]