In a recent interview with Rolling Stone drummer Lars Ulrich has expressed the band's wish to continue trying new things to keep their music fresh.
"I still don't feel we've challenged ourselves enough. We can do whatever we want with our music. We've hidden a new Metallica CD in each ZIP code in America. Go find it! There's nothing but options."
One thing to notice is that there are 43,191 area codes in the current US ZIP directory. But even if that idea doesn't come to life, Ulrich insists there's plenty more to be done by the 30-year-old metal band. And he's still glad they recorded controversial album Lulu with Lou Reed, despite its receiving hugely negative response.
He says: "I don't want to be that band that just does record, tour, record, tour. I will say to my dying day: Who wouldn't want to make a record with Lou Reed?'
"They're adventures, uncharted territory places where you do more than just use muscle memory. I want to get away from that model: that the sole reason for a band to exist is to make another record."
Ulrich also talks about Metallica's playing their Black Album in its entirety on the current tour: "I've been sitting with [the songs from the 'Black' Album] for a month now, listening to them while I'm driving, immersing myself before we play them: 'Why did we go one key up there? Why did we repeat that thing four times instead of two?' I was thinking about it again today. There was a moment in 'Sad But True' with that half-chorus in the middle. Then it went back to the guitar solo, and then there was a little break before it goes into the third verse.
"I couldn't help thinking, 'Why was it put together like that?' Maybe we can slightly borrow that?' If you can't rip yourself off, what's the point? It will be interesting to see, once we take this album out to people in different countries, what we'll come back with for the writing sessions in the fall."
In the same interview James Hetfield, when asked about the current status on the new album, responded: "I only have 846 riffs. In iTunes, you can see how many things you've got. And that does not include the soundchecks, the stuff we goof around with here. You plug in an amp. Suddenly it makes you feel good you come up with a riff. 'Dude, did you get that?' You can't get away from being recorded here."
Kirk Hammet added: "We've known for at least two years that we have to start writing songs. It feels like I'm standing on the side of a hill: There's this big boulder at the top that I know is going to start rolling one of these days. And when it does, we won't be able to stop it. But it hasn't started rolling yet.
"It's on everybody's mind. When we finished [playing the 30th-anniversary shows] at the Fillmore [in San Francisco] last year, I thought, 'A year from now, I'm going to be 50. At this rate, does that mean I have two albums left in me? Three?' But if we run at a different rate, who knows? Five? The one thing I've learned is you can't be too prophectic in this band, because something happens, and things completely change."
Commenting on the actual amount of material ready for the new record, bassist Robert Trujillo says:
"I have about 20 ideas that I feel really good about, whereas on 'Death Magnetic' I had one or two. But one of them ended up being 'Suicide And Redemption'. Hetfield he's a writing machine.Kirk has over 300 ideas. There's so much stuff from the tuning-room jams, from all those years of touring. I like to think I have 20 ideas I believe in."