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Metallica’s new album – everything we know so far about the band’s 11th

It could be coming sooner rather than later...

Metallica’s last album may have arrived after an eight year wait, but work has already begun work on its follow-up.

In our NME review at the time, we said that predecessor ‘Hardwired… To Self Destruct’ saw the band “remain both vital and innovative,” describing it as “a mixed bag of killers and still-epic fillers… swaggery dirge-metal brilliance [and] widdly guitar madness”.

As we await album number 11 from the thrash titans, here’s everything there is to know so far.

What’s the release date for Metallica’s new album?

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A firm release date hasn’t yet been announced, but there shouldn’t be as much of a wait as there was for their previous LP. The 12-track, 77-minute double record ‘Hardwired…’ was released in November 2016 and followed on from 2008’s Death Magnetic’, itself coming five years after 2003’s divisive ‘St. Anger’.

In March 2019, bassist Robert Trujillo assured fans that the band’s next album will be out a lot quicker than the previous two. “It will come a lot sooner than the previous two did… this time around I think we’ll be able to jump on it a lot quicker and jump in the studio and start working,” Trujillo told The Music podcast.

“We’ve all vowed to get this one going sooner than later. Now, how soon? I don’t know. We’ve been touring non-stop. It’s been over two years now. At some point, sure, we’ll need to take a little bit of a break. It’s sort of the right thing for us to do because we’ve been going so hard.”

Has work begun on the album?

Yes. Trujillo confirmed that the metal veterans had already begun “jamming” on new material.

“We have a zone we call ‘The Tuning Room’, which is a space where we can jam and warm up before the show,” he said of The Music podcast. “We’re always in there coming up with ideas and you may get a few seconds of an idea but everything is recorded, always. And then of course at home, everyone has got ideas.”

Metallica producer

What has been said about Metallica’s new album?

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Trujillo has said that take elements from both of their previous two albums, being both collaborative and allowing frontman James Hetfield to bring ideas to the table.

“‘Death Magnetic’ was, for the most part, a collaborative effort,” Trujillo told The Music. “‘Hardwired’ was more central to James’ specific ideas and was also taking the spirit of what we had done on the previous record.”

“I’m excited about the next record because I believe it will also be a culmination of the two records and another journey. There’s no shortage of original ideas, that’s the beauty of being in this band.”

Have we heard any new music?

Not yet. But the band have a busy tour schedule – playing European stadium and arena shows from May through to August 2019 before embarking on a tour of Australia and New Zealand in October – so we could see some new songs debuted live over the coming months.  

Metallica play UK and Ireland shows at Slane Castle, County Meath on 8 June, Manchester’s Etihad Stadium on 18 June and London’s Twickenham Stadium on 20 June.

During the band’s live dates recently, they’ve been covering a wide range of artists, from ABBA and Prince to Garbage. Could these influences make their way into their new music? We’ll have to wait and see.

Do we have an album title?

No, but we’ll update this as soon as it’s announced.

Is there a tracklist?

Not currently. That will be announced nearer the time.

Who could Metallica work with on the album?

Producer/engineer Greg Fidelman has worked with the band for their last two albums (plus 2011 Lou Reed collaboration ‘Lulu’) so we can expect him to be involved once again on this upcoming release.

2008’s ‘Death Magnetic’ was the first time since 1988 that long-time collaborator Bob Rock hadn’t been involved in a Metallica album, with Rick Rubin coming on board for that release. It’s unknown whether either will play a role in the metal band’s next effort.

Metallica and Lady Gaga
Metallica and Lady Gaga

There had previously been suggestion that Lady Gaga could feature on the next Metallica record, following on from their 2017 Grammys collaboration. However, this is thought to have been a April Fool’s prank by guitarist Kirk Hammett.

Speaking after their Grammy Awards performance, Hetfield ruled out the possibility of further collaboration with Gaga. When asked whether they would team up again, the frontman said: “No. But even just talking with her, being around her, her energy was very, very exciting. She has lots of ideas, and she likes to push the boundaries like we do. So it was a good fit.”

Are there any solo records planned?

Last year, Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett teased a solo album, describing what it would sound like by stating that it “would not look like a metal album at all.”

During an interview with Metal Hammer, Hammett revealed that he has a bunch of solo material “sitting around” that’s “obviously not Metallica stuff”, adding that “the pile gets bigger and bigger.”

“One of these days when it feels right… I still feel I have so much to give Metallica. When that feels more complete, maybe I’ll think about doing that other stuff,” Hammett said.

“It would not look like a metal album at all,” he continued. “It’ll be something so weird and far-ranging in styles, but cohesive at the same time. I wouldn’t be surprised if all of us did some solo, independent, autonomous sort of thing. I think it’s healthy, and if anything, when you come back to the band you’d come back with more enthusiasm. It’d feel like going on a little camping trip, and it’s always good to come back home to a nice warm bed!”

Kirk Hammett solo material

What else have Metallica been up to?

Metallica have been marking the milestones of some of their classic records in recent years, with the 30th anniversary deluxe re-release of ‘…And Justice For All’ coming in November 2018 and plans already set to mark the 20th anniversary of their ‘S&M’ album with a special performance with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Dubbed ‘S&M²’, the event will take place at San Francisco’s Chase Center on September 6, 2019.

Meanwhile, the band recently launched their own brand of whiskey and unveiled a range of watches styled on their most iconic artwork.

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