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Metallica frontman James Hetfield has told Australian rock station Triple M that the band wants to get to work on its next album, but that "gigs keep popping up" which delay work on the group's 10th studio effort. While performing down under at the Soundwave Festival, Hetfield was asked about the status of the next Metallica record. He replied, "We're trying to write (new material), but gigs keep popping up that are too exciting to stay home for. We have lots of material (we've been) working on from the day (2008 album) Death Magnetic ended all the way up until now."

Hetfield added that there are "tons of material," a statement echoed by bassist Robert Trujillo when we asked him not long ago: "James usually comes up with a lot of stuff. He's the kind of guy where he plugs in his guitar, turns a volume knob or a, you know, a tone knob, and he comes up with, you know, the greatest riff that you can imagine. So in that case, there's no shortage of riffs and ideas."

Asked what the new material sounds like, Hetfield told Triple M, "I don't know where it's going yet but we've got lots of different sounds, different styles. We're certainly not afraid of jumping into past 'feels.' After Death Magnetic, we've stopped running hard and started embracing some of our past. Master Of Puppets was kind of a core reference for Death Magnetic."

The singer/guitarist, warned, however, that fans should never expect the band to make an album that sounds exactly like one of their older classics. He said, "It's like they're asking you to recreate a memory in their past and you cannot do that . . . We're one of those bands that doesn't really care what people want."

Metallica will headline its second annual Orion Music + More festival this June in Detroit, and plans to release a theatrical 3D movie called Metallica: Through The Never on August 9th.

The movie splits its time between the band playing a gig and one of its road crew who is on a vital mission. Hetfield said about the film, "The footage is unbelievable but we wanted a storyline along with it . . . (it's) about one of the runners in the show who goes on this crazy adventure trying to find this 'bag' that we need for the end of the show. There is a plot, but we're still trying to figure it out!"

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