Metallica mainman James Hetfield has put the eight-year gap between 2008's Death Magnetic and the forthcoming Hardwired ... To Self Destruct down to the band living their lives on 'Metallica time.'
In an interview with Nikki Sixx on the former Motley Crue man's Sixx Sense radio show, Hetfield spoke openly and at length about the band and their new record which he says is coming out at exactly the right time.
"What the hell were we doing?," he asks.
"God, I guess life was happening. You know, Metallica is never fast. We are on Metallica time. And we take a lot of pride in what we put out there, and contrary to some popular beliefs, we try and put out whatever's best, and the best we can do it, and it takes some time sometimes, and sometimes it doesn't.
"But, you know, other lives were happening. You try and do your best with all the stuff, and you've got lives, you have kids, you have all this other stuff going on, and you make it work. And you've gotta have a good balance. And I'll tell you, life is great, life is beautiful if I'm in the right mindset, and this album is coming out at exactly the right time.
"It's supposed to be now, and we're grateful that we can have it out there. And I'm glad there's still an anticipation around it, 'cause I'm pretty excited for people to hear it."
The new record will also be a double CD or double vinyl release which Hetfield says is down to the band's determination to preserve the sound quality on the release due to the running time of the record.
"There's twelve songs, and they're not all three and a half minutes like "Hardwired' was," he explains.
"But there is some long stuff on there and there's some short stuff and some medium stuff. You know, Metallica gets diverse, and we love that. I think maximum is at 75 or 80 minutes, and then the sound quality starts to suffer, on the vinyl especially. And I think CD-wise, there is a max on that too. And we want it to sound good, I mean, at the end of the day, and we've got a bunch of songs that we love. So that's what has to happen. For the extra dime it costs to make it a double, I think it's very worth it."
Despite evolving over the past three decades into the world's biggest metal band Hetfield insists he is still left pinching himself at times to see a new generation of fans singing their old songs back to them.
"We just wanna write music that we like listening to. It's as simple as that. And we've got a lot of people that feel the same way as we do, for some reason," he says.
"It still blows my mind that people are… There's six-year-old kids out there singing, 'Master! Master!' It's, like, 'Are you sure? You really like this? Wow! Okay.' But we are writing music that we like to listen to, and we're fortunate enough to have some people that like listening to it too."
"Hardwired...To Self-Destruct" is scheduled for a November 18 release via Blackened Recordings.