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Drummer Lars Ulrich personally addressed the issue during a recent Rolling Stone interview, saying that "we're one day closer to the next record being released than we were yesterday. Unless there's what's called an 'Act of God,' I would hedge my bets that '201' would be the first three digits in the release year. And I don't know much beyond that. We've been jamming along. We've been putting in some time," he explained.
Guitarist Kirk Hammett noted that the four-piece has "really started" working on a "Death Magnetic" follow-up, once again pointing at the immense amount of riffs the group has at their disposal.
"We've jammed on certain bits and pieces of music and figured out this piece of music works, this works, this doesn't," Kirk said. "But we're still going through that process. James [Hetfield] has 800 pieces of music. I have 400 pieces of music. Once we figure out what pieces of music are actually gonna work for us, then we're going to start turning those pieces of music into songs and seeing where that leads us."
Asked to at least reveal the title of the new track Metallica will perform at the upcoming "By Request" tour, Lars replied: "Are you kidding me? That's six weeks from now. We played two new songs on the 2006 tour, right when we were writing and getting ready to record 'Death Magnetic.' At those gigs, they were very, very eloquently entitled 'New Song 1' and 'New Song 2.' You can't f--k with that."