METALLICA's JAMES HETFIELD: 'New Album Is The Best It Can Be'

METALLICA's official web site, www.metallica.com, has posted a five-minute interview with frontman James Hetfield in which the singer discusses the songwriting and recording process for their forthcoming album, "St. Anger", due on June 10 through Elektra Records. According to Hetfield, the band have begun the mixing process for the new album and have set aside another three-and-a-half weeks to complete the effort before it is mastered and shipped off to the record company.

"This [album] we're probably the most prepared for [out of all the records we've made so far]," James explained. "Our work is together, the album title, the lyrics are done, [producer] Bob [Rock]''s starting to mix songs. It's coming out in such a relaxed way. Before we were so… It's like we needed to feel the chaos or else it wasn't real. Or we had to punish ourselves by saying, 'That was too easy. Those lyrics came too easy. I need to struggle some more with those just to make them better.' I am so done with that. I'm over that. I know that I can trust our craft and our gift from our higher power that this stuff is just the best that it can be from us right now."

"I'm really looking forward to letting this thing loose," he added. "What an awesome responsibility [to have so many fans anticipating the release of this CD]… And especially now, the way the lyrics are, how really heartfelt they are from all of us, and to have this record start from scratch... No one came in with riff tapes, 'Here I've got a song. This has to go on the record and don't fuck with it,' and all of this ego stuff. For the most part we've checked egos at the door, and tried to keep them out there. So hopefully they leave and go away. And with these riffs just starting from scratch… 'You've got a drum beat? Just lay down a killer beat. Show me what you've got, and just play along with it.' Just feeling it, feeling the power coming from the amp. I mean, I plug in a new amp and write ten new riffs, just really being so open to the freedom. It felt so great to be all on the same page with that . . . It would be impossible [for the fans listening to the album] to not feel that. They might not like the songs, but they might be able to understand the rawness. Bob is afraid to mix [the songs], because he doesn't want to mess with the vibe, or he doesn't want to tweak too much — it's just levels, you know. We can certainly polish a turd (laughs). We can shine it, so it loses its character and flaws and all of its hair and all of its things that make it 'it'.[And it'll be very important for us] to let the songs speak for themselves [and not mess with their raw vibe]."

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