In a new promotional video for EMG pickups, Metallica front man James Hetfield let slip something that all Metallica fans have been waiting to hear: “We’re recording right now.”
It’s been just over seven years since Metallica’s latest release, Death Magnetic. More than one person has made the observation that The Beatles released their entire discography within the span of seven years, so what’s the hold up on Metallica’s new album?
Since the start of last summer, Metallica fans have drooled over tidbits from Metallica drummer, Lars Ulrich, bassist Rob Trujillo, and lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, as each of them have dropped subtle and vague hints about where the “Cap’ns of Krunch” were in the process of releasing their latest album. Ulrich had commented that the band was “in it,” though that could be taken with a grain of salt. Trujillo had said that Metallica’s new music would be “heavy but unique” — which wasn’t exactly seen as a major revelation, and Kirk Hammett mentioned that Metallica was slowly but surely moving into the next phase of the recording process — but never mentioned which process they were on or what was coming next.
What’s worse, there was also speculation that Metallica couldn’t afford to put out a new album right now. Hang on — let’s clarify that statement. By no means are the members of Metallica standing on a street corner with a tin cup and an eye patch looking for handouts. The band itself is doing just fine. However, a book that came out last year titled Into the Black stated that Metallica — as a band — might have overextended themselves with their 3D film, Through the Never, a venture that “might have” done well enough to make its money back. At any rate, more than one journalist put forth the idea that Metallica isn’t so interested in making a new album as they are in touring as much as possible to replenish some extended investments that didn’t do so hot.
I am of the opinion that this is not the case.
In the interview for EMG, (which is shown below), James says that Metallica got together because they wanted to be “four guys jammin’ in a room” that didn’t have to worry about punching a clock at a factory. Guess what? They made it. And then some. Each album they’ve released since their self-titled LP — commonly known as “The Black Album” — has debuted at number one on the Billboard Charts, even in the age of internet streaming and stealing. The band has gone on to sell out stadiums from Los Angeles to New York to Tokyo to London to Mexico City. Let’s get one thing straight: If Metallica shows up in a given town, they can double down on the possibility that they’ll sell out the gig.
All right. If we believe that, then what’s the hold up?
Perhaps the hold up is the product of age. When you’re 17, or even 25, and the world is against you because you have no money and your job sucks and you’ve got no voice, then it seems imperative as an artist to somehow — to some way — get heard. Fast forward 30 or 40 years to a place in your life where you can call it quits and never have to worry about money again. Fast forward to a place in your life to when the vast majority of your artistic work was based on negativity and aggression, but you’re not really feeling all that negative or aggressive anymore.
Will there be more Metallica albums? Yes. According to Mr. Hetfield and Mr. Ulrich and Mr. Hammett and Mr. Trujillo. Will there be two or three or even four more Metallica albums? God, I hope so.
What we know is that James Hetfield, the front man of Metallica and the hero and idol of many a metal fan says that the best hard rock band to ever grace the planet is recording a new album. And, at the moment, that information will have to suffice.
[Photos by Raphael Dias: Getty Images]