METALLICA has tapped Greg Fidelman an engineer/producer who has worked with current METALLICA producer Rick Rubin on albums for the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, SYSTEM OF A DOWN, SLIPKNOT and AUDIOSLAVE, among others to mix its much-anticipated new album, due out in September.During a May 14 interview with The Pulse of Radio, Ulrich said that the group hopes to wrap up work on the album in time for the Memorial Day weekend holiday. "It's pretty close," he said. "We've got four studio days next week to just patch up. If there's a last minute, you know, 'that needs this...' or but pretty much done. Yeah, it's pretty much done. And then they start mixing the week after." Lars also took part in a conference call yesterday (May 15) to promote this year's Bonnaroo festival, which METALLICA will headline on June 13, Ulrich told reporters that METALLICA recently met with a graphic designer to begin planning the new CD package, though there's no confirmed title for the album yet and the songs still have working names. "We sort of promised ourselves that unlike all the records we made in the '90s, [which] were just completely stressed-out and just nutty, that we were gonna try and have a little more sane environment and we've actually, surprising mostly to ourselves, been able to keep to that," Ulrich said, according to Billboard.com. "We've pretty much finished the music now, so all the next level stuff is just starting to go down." Ulrich said METALLICA wrote 26 songs for the new CD but ended up finalizing about 14 of them with producer Rick Rubin. A total of 11 have actually been tracked for the album, though Ulrich said "length issues" might mean one more has to be eliminated. "These are long songs ... we're talking seven-minute, eight-minute, nine-minute nutty-ass songs," Ulrich revealed. "We don't make them long or short on purpose; you just kind of do what feels natural. We're not really gonna edit them, (so) we're gonna lose another one at some point in the next month or so and probably end up with 10." Ulrich described the material as "definitely pretty all over the place. There's a lot of variation, a lot of fast, slow, melodic ... kind of hardcore, nutty super-fast speed stuff. It's a little more like how some of the earlier records were a little more dynamic within the songs." METALLICA played its first live show of 2008 on Wednesday night (May 14) at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles, as part of a benefit for the Silverlake Conservatory of Music. The school, co-founded by RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS bassist Flea, provides instruments and music lessons for low-income students. METALLICA's nearly two-hour set was heavy on speed, monster riffs and classic tunes, with the band playing only one song, "Fuel", from after 1991. Flea himself joined the group on its second-to-last encore, "Fight Fire with Fire", which frontman James Hetfield introduced as the bass player's favorite METALLICA song. Ulrich told The Pulse of Radio how METALLICA got involved in this year's benefit. "Flea asked us actually last year, in '07, if we could partake in the festivities and the good cause, and last year it just didn't work out," he said. "We were cutting all the basic tracks for the record and it was just too nutty. But I told him, I said, 'Listen, call us back for '08 and we'll work our schedule around it.' We've known about his cause for a while, and Flea is obviously one of the most solid people, and this is also such a worthy cause." The drummer also announced from the stage that METALLICA will begin a full-length tour in October, shortly after the new CD arrives. The band next plays radio festivals in Arizona and California this weekend, followed by the Bonnaroo festival in mid-June, a series of European festivals, and the newly configured one-day Ozzfest this August in Dallas.
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