METALLICA's Kirk Hammett has told Australia's Mixdown magazine in a new interview that the band's "WorldWired" tour is scheduled to last until November 2019, after which it could be time to hop back into the studio.
Fans had to wait five years for 2008's "Death Magnetic" and eight years for 2016's "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct", but the guitarist says the next disc might not take as long to complete.
"When I was 13-14 years old, bands put out albums every year," Hammett said. "Seriously, KISS put out an album every eight months. None of this eight years between albums.
"None of us are very comfortable with the fact it's been so long, because that is a long time," he continued. "We're hoping to avoid that this time around.
"We're in our third year since 'Hardwired'. Maybe we can get a bit more focus and go into the studio a bit sooner. I have a ton of material. I've over-compensated, so I'm ready to go anytime."
METALLICA bassist Robert Trujillo also recently said the band's next studio album would arrive "a lot sooner than the previous two did." He added: "This time around, I think we'll be able to jump on it a lot quicker and jump in the studio and start working. We've all vowed to get this one going sooner than later. Now, how soon? I don't know. We've been touring non-stop. It's been over two years now. At some point, sure, we'll need to take a little bit of a break. It's sort of the right thing for us to do because we've been going so hard."
Hammett wasn't involved in the songwriting process for "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct" because his "riffs weren't there," frontman James Hetfield told France's Metal XS in a 2016 interview. "I know he talks about him losing his phone and things like that with the riffs, but… No, he wasn't involved in the process," James said. "And Robert was there. The intro to 'ManUNkind' is Robert; that is him, and it's beautiful. But it is Lars [Ulrich, drums] and I doing what we always do — put the songs together."
Three years ago, Hammett recalled the "devastating" time in 2014 he lost his phone containing hundreds of song ideas for the tenth studio album, which meant he "had to start at zero" again. "By the time I got a few ideas flowing and formed, most of the songs were already written," he said, calling the experience a "very bitter pill to swallow."
He forced himself to look on the bright side. He said: "I had to think, 'Okay, I have stuff — but it looks like it's going to make it on to the next album."
Hammett added: "For me, being in this band, I always want to contribute. I always have a lot of musical concepts and ideas to bring to the table. Obviously, that was not meant to be this time, and I had to accept that fact. So I focused on my solos, just making sure that my playing on the album was at its best — at its full potential. Hopefully I can bring my ideas to the next METALLICA album."
According to Billboard, "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct" was METALLICA's 12th album to sell at least a million copies since Nielsen Music began tracking sales in 1991.
In total, the group has sold 58 million albums in the U.S. in the Nielsen Music era, and owns the overall top-selling album of that span of time: its self-titled 1991 release, with nearly 17 million sold.