METALLICA’s Next Album Will Contain ‘Shorter, More To-The-Point’ Songs

Last fall, METALLICA started writing the studio follow-up to 2008’s “Death Magnetic”, working from riffs and licks taped during the band’s tuning-room jams over the past three years of touring.

“We’re about seven, eight songs into it,” METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich tells Rolling Stone magazine about the record, which will once again be produced by Rick Rubin. “We do it in rounds. We come up with something, we leave it, go to the next thing, come up with something basic, leave it and circle back around. Next month we’ll go back and start embellishing: ‘Let’s double that one part and come up with a middle bit.'”

“If ‘Death Magnetic’ was a logical successor to [1988’s] ‘…And Justice For All’, the next album will be a heavier Black Album,” METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett tells Rolling Stone, using the popular nickname for 1991’s “Metallica”. “We’re not going to the depths of complexity that we did for ‘Death Magnetic’. The stuff we’re coming up with is more groove-oriented, a heavier version of what we were doing in the early Nineties.”

“When people talk about the old stuff, they think ‘Justice’,” Ulrich tells Rolling Stone. “But look at ‘Harvester Of Sorrow’ on that album. It’s a fairly simple five-minute song. And ‘Fuel’ [on 1997’s ‘Reload’] is an absolute scorcher live. Right now, I’m thinking shorter, more to-the-point.”

A 3D movie starring METALLICA is in the early stages of production, with a projected release date of summer 2013. The film does not have a title yet, a finished script or a director. “Imagine if you took ‘The Song Remains The Same’,” Ulrich tells Rolling Stone, referring to the 1976 LED ZEPPELIN movie, “which is 75 percent concert, 25 percent other stuff, and flipped it around. And all the nonconcert footage, instead of being about the band members, is a story that unfolds, set against the backdrop of the concert.”

According to Ulrich, the METALLICA members are financing the film production on their own. “We tend to pay for these things ourselves,” he says. “The minute you take somebody else’s money, you have to consider their opinions. And that’s no fun.”

“We didn’t want to do it at first,” Hammett tells Rolling Stone about the 3D flick. “We were sold on it by our managers, that it would be a lot of fun and we would have a big-ass stage to play on — the biggest METALLICA live show we’ve ever done, next-level stuff.”

METALLICA will release a physical CD edition of its current digital EP, “Beyond Magnetic”, on January 31. The four-song EP, which featured songs recorded during the sessions for “Death Magnetic”, was issued digitally on December 13, shortly after the band premiered all four songs live during its quartet of 30th anniversary shows in San Francisco earlier that month.

The tracks are “Hate Train”, “Just A Bullet Away”, “Hell And Back” and “Rebel Of Babylon”.

METALLICA issued a collaborative album with Lou Reed called “Lulu” in November, but the conceptual disc was a commercial and critical flop.

The band is scheduled to perform the Black Album in its entirety at several European festivals this summer, and has hinted at several other big events on tap for 2012.