Metallica Making “Glacial Progress” on New Album
Metallica are deep into “some pretty serious writing” for their next album. After first floating the idea of working on new music while under quarantine in April, by June Lars Ulrich had revealed that Metallica were, indeed, in writing mode. James and Rob have both said they’ve been busy working on new songs, too, and Kirk Hammett has trumpeted the fact that he has over 600 song ideas recorded (after infamously losing his cell phone with 300+ ideas prior to the sessions for Hardwired). The band were having some technical issues collaborating over the internet and were looking into doing so in-person in a bubble last they checked in, but that was months ago already.
According to Lars Ulrich in a new interview, that bubble jam sesh still hasn’t materialized, or if it has, it wasn’t substantial enough to make much progress. Speaking to Classic Rock about the follow-up to Hardwired, the drummer said:
“[It’s been] glacial. These are the craziest of times and nothing is letting up. There’s a little bit of movement [in that direction], but it’s hard to do a lot when we’re not together.”
Back in the fall, Lars explained more in depth the problems of collaborating from afar, telling Kara Swisher at the CNBC Evolve Summit that the band prefer to jam to write new music instead of sending files back and forth, and that the technology for that simply isn’t there yet:
“Being a rock and roll band and working virtually is not super easy. Time delays, all these things make it really hard. The main thing we miss is being able to hear each other. [Laughs] So if we’re all four in a room together, we can connect with each other and we can hear each other. If I’m playing here in San Francisco, and Kirk and James, our two guitar players, are either in O’ahu or Colorado, there are significant time delays. It’s very hard for us to play at the same time. If I’m doing what we call steering, which means that I’m playing a beat and they’re playing to me, I can’t hear what they’re playing, and vice versa. We can’t all hear each other in a universal fashion. So there are some significant complications we have. Our recording team and our production team are speaking to software makers all over the world [about] how to crack the code on this. Nobody has quite figured it out yet.”
Regardless, Ulrich recently stated that he feels Metallica’s next album will be their best… so, ya know.
Metallica have managed to stayed busy during the pandemic, racking up over a billion Spotify streams in 2020 alone. In May, they released a semi-acoustic, reimagined version of “Blackened.” Then, in August, they hosted a pre-recorded drive-in concert at hundreds of outdoor movie theaters and released a recording of last year’s S&M2 concert. A re-worked version of “Nothing Else Matters” is scheduled to appear in Disney’s upcoming Jungle Cruise movie starring The Rock and Emily Blunt. And the band hosted a virtual charity concert in November to benefit their All Within My Hands foundation, raising over $1.3 million.