Photo by Ralph Arvesen

Photo by Ralph Arvesen

Metallica has been subject to some intense controversy in recent months for continuing to assure that material for their first album since 2008’s ‘Death Magnetic’ has been coming along, despite spending the majority of their time out on the road this year.

It was during a recent interview with Chicago’s WLUP-FM 97.9 that guitarist Kirk Hammett was given the opportunity to shed some light on the ongoing Metallica recording sessions. Surprisingly, Hammett revealed that Metallica has been using any spare moment of free time to jot down ideas for a new record.

When first asked how the members of Metallica are able to transition between heading out for weeks at a time to playing one-off shows at such major festivals as Lollapalooza, Hammett offered: “”Let me put it into some perspective. Okay, the last [U.S.] show we played before this was in Las Vegas [at Rock In Rio], in…. whenever it was… April or June… something like that.

“It seems like we might not be doing anything in between that show and this show, but what we are doing is we are in the studio, we’re recording, we’re working on music. And when we’re in the process of making an album, we’re in for, like, weeks at a time doing exactly that. And so, when it gets closer to the actual gig time, that’s when we start rehearsing the tunes that we’re gonna be playing.

“So, for us, it’s just another date on the calendar, and we are active throughout that whole period. The only thing is that we have to shift the thinking from being in the studio and being creative in those terms to playing a live performance and getting the setlist together.”

Hammett was then questioned if Metallica ever considers changing direction or staying true to their original sound with the upcoming album. “Constantly,” Hammett replied. “A lot of times, we don’t know where it’s going, and we just kind of have to just keep it on the road and see where it takes us. And, at this point, we’re still on that road and we’re wondering where it’s gonna take us.”

It has been nearly seven years since fans had their hands on a new Metallica record. Embarrassingly, Hammett previously explained that he lost literally hundreds of musical ideas upon misplacing his cell phone.

“I put riffs on my iPhone, but something very unfortunate happened to me about six months ago,” Hammett confessed to The Jasta Show. “I lost my iPhone [containing] 250 musical ideas. And I was crushed. It didn’t get backed up. And when it happened, I was bummed out for about two or three days.”

Hammett continued: “I lost [the phone]. I just plain lost it. I can’t find it. I’m still looking for it to this day. I just set it somewhere and… It still might turn up. I’m hoping it will. To try to remember those riffs? I can only remember, like, eight of ’em. So I just chalked it down to maybe it just wasn’t meant to be and I’ll just move forward with it.”

Metallica’s tenth studio album currently isn’t expected to be released until early 2016 at the earliest.

Next: Watch Kirk Hammett Join Michael Schenker Onstage