When we last talked about Metallica's new album, the successor to 2008's Death Magnetic, the band was promising shorter, heavier songs. While I don't neccisarily agree they can do "heavier," I really hope that they attempt shorter songs, as that was my biggest complaint with Death Magnetic (which I liked). Now, while out promoting Orion Fest, the band gave some new quotes to Metal Hammer magazine about how the writing process is going:
Lars: We're circling the new stuff. We've started writing a little more in stages. There's so many projects that we do all the time When we wrote the 'black album,' we started writing it and we finished writing it without anything else [going on] — it was three months, boom. We don't do it like that anymore. We'll write for awhile and we'll go to Brazil and then we'll come back and go do a week's worth of shows with Lou Reed, and then we'll write for two weeks and then we'll pick our noses and we'll do something else and then we'll play the Fillmore, you know what I mean? So it's difficult to be cohesive in an interview about it. I don't really have any direction yet, and I've heard most of it. It sounds heavy and energetic and very Metallica-like, but whether it's more like Death Magnetic or more like this or that, I don't know."
The band also seems pretty set on working with Rick Rubin again, which is nothing but good news for this listener. But they haven't locked him in yet.
Lars: "Rick is a lot about creating comfort and atmosphere and a vibe, and right now that's kinda how it's looking. We haven't sat down and gone to the next level on direction and practical elements and all that type of stuff. I saw Rick in L.A. two weeks ago and we talked about him coming up to San Francisco in March or April to start talking about the process, but as yu know, we've got another couple of balls in the air with our movie and live dates and the Orion festival. It never ends, and right now some of these balls are quite time-consuming. Rick is not a one-trick pony; he builds a particular ease around whatever your task is, so I think whatever we want to do for this next record, he will help us with that, whatever it may be."
James: "He's a different kind of producer. He's challenging. He's a very cut-and-dried, to-the-point kind of producer, but he's also very open, and open to lots of ideas. He does have lots of great ideas of his own as well. But I think that the main thing for us was getting to the core and essence of Metallica, and that's the reason we chose to work with him. He gets the best out of artists that have been around for a while, I believe. And he helps you get back to that essence. That's what we wanted him for."
What this basically means is that Metallica will be self-producing, and then Rick will come in and give a thumbs up or a thumbs down and some critiques. I'm sure at this point in their career, that's how they would prefer it. I can't say I'm excited for new output, but I can say that I'm curious to hear what the indisputable largest metal band ever creates. While there is no official timetable for the release, with all the touring the band has scheduled, I'd say we shouldn't hold our breath for a release until early-2013 at best.