Metallica have almost finished their new studio album which is reportedly due in February.
Drummer Lars Ulrich told Examiner.com the band will be polishing up vocal mixes until December with producer Rick Rubin.
They chose not to work with longtime "fifth member" Bob Rock - the first time an outsider has produced a Metallica album since 1988's And Justice For All...
"For our own sanity, our own creative survival, we needed to work with a different set of circumstances and dynamics," Ulrich says. "So we've been stripped of our defense mechanisms, and it's been very invigorating to be challenged again. Rick's taken everything we've known about making records and completely turned it upside down."
"Most of the intros are four to five minutes," he says. "I don't know - Metallica and short songs just don't go that well together. But whereas St. Anger was an exercise in over-pummelling the listener, these new songs echo some of our stuff from the '80s - long, epic journeys through different musical landscapes, heavier, but a lot more melodic."