METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich recently spoke to Revolver magazine (web site) about the writing process for the group's new album, tentatively due before the end of the year via Warner Bros. Records. "It's nice not to walk into the studio and all of sudden there's three cameras in your face and you have to sit down and talk for four hours about how you were feeling last night," he said, referring to the film crew that documented every detail of METALLICA's meltdown during the recording of 2003's "St. Anger". We're kind of past that phase. Everybody gets along now. These days, it's fun going down to the studio — it's actually something I look forward to instead of dreading it. And I think that's a reflection of how far we've come."Ulrich says that the sessions for the new CD, which the band is planning on recording in Los Angeles with producer Rick Rubin (SYSTEM OF A DOWN, SLAYER, AUDIOSLAVE, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS), actually remind him of METALLICA's early years. "It's James [Hetfield] and me going through riff tapes and picking out the best riffs, and then molding songs around that," he explained. "There's two separate processes — a songwriting process and a recording process. 'St. Anger' was an experiment in writing and recording at the same time. But this is like what we used to do back in the day: sit down, write a bunch of songs, then uproot and go somewhere else and record them." Ulrich said that Rubin — whom the drummer remembers showing up backstage at METALLICA gigs in the mid-Eighties with rough mixes of SLAYER's "Reign in Blood", which producer — "doesn't want us to start recording until every song that we're gonna do is as close to 100 percent as we can get it." The band has roughly 25 new songs, a large pool Ulrich credits to jamming in the tuning room every night before they went onstage on the "St. Anger" tour. They're intent on whittling the final tracklist down to 12 or 14 tunes. "The amount of material is a little overwhelming," Ulrich admitted, "so we're trying to be as self-critical as possible. It's great with Rick, because he doesn't really have any baggage with us. He just comes in and says, 'That's great. That's not so great.' I think after 15 years with Bob [Rock], it was just time to kind of reinvent the wheel. I think what happened with Bob was it got to the point where we just knew each other too well. And we needed a different dynamic." Revolver's entire interview with Lars Ulrich can be found in the magazine's March 2007 issue, available on the newsstands now. More information is available at www.revolvermag.com.