Lars Ulrich has said it's "far too early" for Metallica to be thinking about releasing a new album, despite the band feeling "rejuvenated and just ready to get back in".
Still in the midst of The Black Album's 30th anniversary celebrations, James Hetfield and co. have been keeping busy with the release of The Metallica Blacklist and the album's reissue, as well as late night television appearances and other promotional obligations.
When asked about the possibility of a potential new album while speaking to SiriusXM on Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk on September 9, Lars replied "We're on that path. I don't know if it's cohesive enough to call a record, but we're dipping our toes. We've been trying to stay busy.
"We did the drive-in thing last summer. We did an All Within My Hands event in November. We did [The Late Show With Stephen] Colbert. We're doing [Jimmy] Kimmel [Live!] tomorrow. We're engaged.
"And we are creating at some level. It's way too early to talk about a record or a timeline or anything. But we're staying busy. And it's exciting to just think of the possibilities. Right now we're so rejuvenated and just ready to get back in."
However, frontman James Hetfield seemed more than confident that a new release would arrive at some point, noting earlier this year on The Fierce Life podcast that the group had written "quite a few songs" over the coronavirus quarantine, adding: "We'll see how many we like first, and then we'll put 'em out. We're pretty selfish that way; we like what we write as well."
Elaborating on the songwriting process, Hetfield stated that he "started doing a weekly Zoom with those guys, just to check in", and that the band had 10 new songs in the works. He explains, "...I just told them one time, 'Hey, I'm gonna write something. I'm just gonna play something and send it to you guys. You do whatever you want with it and see what happens and layer on to it.'
"So that's how we did a version of Blackened [in] 2020. I just basically played something. They hadn't heard it before. They played on it. Then it kind of got layered together. Then we started experimenting with writing on Zoom. Lars and I would get together, or Kirk [Hammett, guitar] and Lars, and we would get little bits of time here and there writing. It was difficult because of the delay in the sound, so we couldn't actually play together, but we would play to a click track and watch each other play.
"We had our producer, who was running my computer while I was playing. He was running my computer from L.A., and I'm in Vail [Colorado]. And then Lars had an assistant running his computer from L.A. — he's up here in San Francisco — and we were playing together, and it was pretty bizarre. We started writing. We got about — I don't know — over 10 songs going that way. And then we finally got together. There's only so much you can do on Zoom."
In conversation with Classic Rock Magazine in July, Hetfield stated that "things are moving really well" and the band had been "pretty successful" in terms of productivity. He explains, "We've tried to make the most of the COVID year and a half, and we've been pretty successful. We've got together remotely and worked, and we've got together [properly] and worked.
"Things are moving really well. I would say that the music we're coming up with is very appropriate for the times."