According to drummer Lars Ulrich, Metallica is "a couple of nips and tucks" away from completing its ninth studio album, due for release in September 2008.
Ulrich was speaking during a conference call to promote Metallica´s 13 June appearance at the Bonnaroo Music Festival. Metallica is currently planning the album´s packaging, though there is still no confirmed title for the album, and the songs still have working names.
"We sort of promised ourselves that unlike all the records we made in the '90s, (which) were just completely stressed-out and just nutty, that we were gonna try and have a little more sane environment - and we've actually, surprising mostly to ourselves, been able to keep to that," Ulrich said. "We've pretty much finished the music now, so all the next level stuff is just starting to go down."
Ulrich said Metallica had 26 songs ready, which were trimmed to 14 when the group started working with producer Rick Rubin. There are now 11 slated for the album, though Ulrich said "length issues" might mean one song may have to be eliminated.
"These are long songs ... We're talking seven-minute, eight-minute, nine-minute nutty-ass songs. We don't make them long or short on purpose; you just kind of do what feels natural. We're not really gonna edit them, (so) we're gonna lose another one at some point in the next month or so and probably end up with 10."
Ulrich described the album as "definitely pretty all over the place. There's a lot of variation, a lot of fast, slow, melodic ... kind of hardcore, nutty super-fast speed stuff. It's a little more like how some of the earlier records were a little more dynamic within the songs."
By Michael Leonard