Kirk Hammett Explains Why New Metallica Albums Take So Long – ‘I’ve Grown to Accept That’
Metallica released four albums in the '80s despite not starting until 1983, but things don't move as quickly for the band these days. In fact, after 1997's Reload the band has been averaging about six years between each new album. So why have things slowed down? Guitarist Kirk Hammett spoke on the subject during a recent interview with Goldmine magazine.
"Yeah, you know, it's not getting any quicker, too," remarked Hammett. "It's just like, we have a way of working. We have a process that unfortunately takes a long time. It's just the way we work, the way it is, the way it works as a band. And I've grown to accept that."
"You know, putting out [Hammett's solo effort] Portals is great for me because it kind of frees me up from that schedule," Kirk explained. "I can come up with a few tracks, record them and put them out, and I can do it on a completely different time schedule from the band. And that's great because it doesn't seem to get in the way of the band's schedule because, like I say, we move at our own pace."
The guitarist later spoke about the band's songwriting, explaining, "When I go in and create Metallica stuff, I give it my full creative energies. The way I look at it is, all the notes are already there. You just have to find them. I'm serious. They're already there. You just gotta friggin' find them. And so there's that but also a reliance on spontaneity, on real in-the-moment creation. I think that's where I'm most effective.:
He adds, "It's like, any time I sit down to try and compose something that should be spontaneous, it ends up sounding composed. There's nothing wrong with that, but I think catching yourself in a spontaneous moment is just much more exciting and much more honest. That might not make me sound like Eddie Van Halen, but that's beside the point. I really feel like I'm playing for the song when I play that way."
While there was talk of Metallica working on new music during the COVID lockdown period, the band has been rather quiet on discussion of their next studio album. Back in September 2021, Lars Ulrich downplayed the band's progress on a new album to SiriusXM host Eddie Trunk, stating, "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."
Metallica have remained pretty busy over the past year with their 40th anniversary concerts, more touring, their philanthropic efforts andHammett's Portals record, not to mention taking advantage of their recent Stranger Things bump in popularity. That said, it's been stated that they didn't view the next album as taking another eight years to make.