Metallica released four albums in the '80s, three in the '90s, two in the '00s, one in the '10s, and we're still waiting on the first album of this decade. In an interview with Goldmine, guitarist Kirk Hammett was asked why Metallica takes so long to put out new records. Hammett said it's just the band's process to take forever these days, and that working on his latest solo EP Portals was a welcome break.
"Yeah, you know, it's not getting any quicker, too. It's just like, we have a way of working. We have a process that unfortunately takes a long time. It's just the way we work, the way it is, the way it works as a band. And I've grown to accept that.
"You know, putting out Portals is great for me because it kind of frees me up from that schedule. I can come up with a few tracks, record them and put them out, and I can do it on a completely different time schedule from the band. And that's great because it doesn't seem to get in the way of the band's schedule because, like I say, we move at our own pace."
Hammett also talked a little bit about his writing process with the band, saying that spontaneity plays a big role in coming up with new ideas.
"When I go in and create Metallica stuff, I give it my full creative energies. The way I look at it is, all the notes are already there. You just have to find them. I'm serious. They're already there. You just gotta friggin' find them. And so there's that but also a reliance on spontaneity, on real in-the-moment creation. I think that's where I'm most effective.
"It's like, any time I sit down to try and compose something that should be spontaneous, it ends up sounding composed. There's nothing wrong with that, but I think catching yourself in a spontaneous moment is just much more exciting and much more honest. That might not make me sound like Eddie Van Halen, but that's beside the point. I really feel like I'm playing for the song when I play that way."
All we know for certain at this point is that there's definitely a new Metallica record. Hammett stated in a previous interview, "Well, let's just say that over the Covid years, we weren't just sitting around on the couch texting each other, complaining about how we couldn't work. That was the exact opposite of what happened! We've been working through the lost years – so you can draw your own conclusions from that!"