When is the follow-up to 2016’s Hardwired… To Self-Destruct coming out? Here’s everything we currently know about the new Metallica album
When Hardwired… To Self-Destruct dropped, Metallica – at least musically, anyway – wasn’t in a great place. The band hadn’t released a great record in ages. But Hardwired… To Self-Destruct was a very good album, one of its best for decades. I was a huge fan of that record.
New Metallica Songs
It’s hard to believe that Hardwired… To Self-Destruct came out five years ago. Time really does fly when you’re discussing Metallica records. But work is apparently underway on a new Metallica album. The guys started writing during lockdown, using Zoom, and apparently have around 10 new songs.
The update about the 10 new songs comes via Lars Ulrich, Metallica’s drummer and official mouthpiece. Ulrich stated that the band is writing, has dipped its toe in the waters, and has confirmed that Metallica is now “on the path” to getting into the studio to record a new album.
New Metallica Album Release Date
However, when pressed, Ulrich said it is too soon to start talking about the new Metallica album like it is a done deal. Specifically, Ulrich told SiriusXM’s Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk that it was “way too early to talk about a record or a timeline or anything. But we’re staying busy. And it’s exciting to just think of the possibilities.”
Ulrich and Hetfield have apparently been very busy though, working out new songs and compositions. If you’ve ever seen any of the myriad videos of Metallica writing songs and making albums on YouTube, you’ll know that it is Hetfield and Ulrich, predominantly, that arrange and piece together the songs, usually based around series of Hetfield riffs.
The fact that Metallica has 10 new songs done, or nearly done, is very promising. How many would it need for a new album? 10 would suffice, sure, but given the time between albums, and the fact that Metallica is feeling “so rejuvenated” it is entirely possible we could get another double-album from the boys – just like Mastodon’s new LP, Hushed and Grim.
Just don’t go getting your hopes up for anything any time soon. The new songs are apparently closer to blueprints than finalized versions, according to Ulrich in an interview with Zane Lowe:
And of course there’s new music coming, there’s always new music coming. It keeps us alive, you know that… Listen, I wish I could… I mean, of course, there’s new music, but there’s nothing cohesive. There’s not a story, there’s not anything to really back it up yet.Lars Ulrich
As for a release date for the new Metallica album, right now it is impossible to say. Ulrich is being cagey about the specifics but he is already “talking up” the idea of a new Metallica record, so that’s something.
Given what we know about the new album thus far – not much – I’d guess the new Metallica album won’t be dropping until at least 2023, perhaps even 2024. And that’s if there even is a new record. One could argue Metallica could get away with never doing a new record ever again.
Unlike a lot of metal bands, Metallica doesn’t really need to release new music. If it booked a tour now, the entire thing would sell out. No one would care that the band didn’t play new music – everybody is there for the band’s classics anyway. Metallica knows this, it gives the band leverage, space to breath. This is what the Rolling Stones have done for years.
But I don’t think Metallica is that pessimistic; I think the guys thrive on writing new music. The fact they’re actively working on new music indicates that a new album will appear at some point – it’s just a case of how long we’ll have to wait. The gap between Death Magnetic and Hardwired… To Self-Destruct, for instance, was eight years. And before that, it was five years between new albums.
It’s already been five years since Metallica released Hardwired… To Self-Destruct, so we could be looking at three or more years before the new Metallica album drops. And that’s if the band follows a similar pattern to before. It could be even longer.
A New Metallica Album Requires A New Tour
The music business, at least the live aspect of it anyway, effectively closed down in 2020. Things didn’t really get any better in 2021 either, with major tours and festivals canceled. By the time 2022 rolls around, things will have no doubt improved, COVID will be on the back foot and bands can start properly touring again.
If Metallica releases a new record, it will want to tour. And the tour will be a global one, netting the band tens of millions of dollars. If Metallica cannot tour, as it couldn’t in 2020 and much of 2021, this would scupper any plans for a new record. No possibility of touring means no new record, basically.
Therefore, it is logical to assume that by aiming for a late-2023/24 release date for the new album, Metallica would be in the best position to then proceed on a global, worldwide tour in support of the new album. This means the recording process, however, would have to start at some point in 2022.
Metallica’s Headlining Download Festival in 2022
Metallica is confirmed to headline the first-ever German Download Festival in 2022. The Download Festival Germany will be hosted at the Hockenheimring in the Rhine valley on June 24. Five Finger Death Punch and Sabaton have also been confirmed for the festival.
And while a new Metallica album would be awesome, especially after how good Hardwired… To Self-Destruct was, you can take solace in the fact that there is awesome new music dropping left, right, and center at the moment. Two of our absolute favorites right now are Mastodon’s new album, Hushed and Grim, and Every Time I Die’s Radical – they’re both killer records that are well worth a listen.