Metallica Likely To Play New Songs Tonight At Reading Festival

In a bit of a Metallica exclusive, the band booker for the Reading Festival in Leeds, (currently taking place this weekend), gave two interesting tidbits on the biggest hard rock band in the world in a very brief interview with Kerrang!.

The first bit of news that the Reading band booker, John Mac, revealed was that “obviously, Metallica are very close to finishing their next album.” This info is pretty huge in and of itself since Metallica band members James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Rob Trujillo have been extremely cagey about where Metallica was in the recording process. With Lars claiming at the beginning of the summer that Metallica was “in it” — as far as the recording process was concerned — and Rob stating that the new songs were “heavy but unique,” the band has been sticking to giving non-answers when it comes to the new Metallica album.

Whether John Mac knows something that only “insiders” know is up for debate. However, someone like the band booker for the Reading festival surely has to have his pulse on the finger of the music industry. Mac saying that Metallica is “very close” to finishing their next album is the best news rabid Metallica fans have had since the release of their last album, Death Magnetic, almost seven years ago.

Perhaps a bit more credible is Mac’s conviction that Metallica will play some new songs at their appearance this evening in Leeds.

“They’re the kind of band that will [play new material], and I think that it’s going to be really interesting to see.”

There is, of course, an enormous amount of precedent to Metallica playing new material during festival gigs prior to an album’s release. You can go all the way back to the Monsters of Rock tour that Metallica did back in 1988 with Van Halen, when they debuted Harvester of Sorrow from their forthcoming …And Justice for All album as part of their set. Ever since then, Metallica has made a habit of playing new songs early — or songs that they “thought” were going to be on the next album but never were.

Metallica streamed the songs from Death Magnetic, piece by piece, via their website in advance of the album’s release.

Earlier this summer, Metallica’s drummer, Lars Ulrich, seemed to over emphasize that Metallica wouldn’t do a “surprise release” for their new album — whatever that meant. However, if Metallica’s album is truly close to being finished, the lack of information about it, the lack of even a name of a producer, seems to point to the idea that something peculiar may be up concerning the possibly imminent release of Metallica’s next album.

[Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]