LOS ANGELES — James Hetfield remains well groomed, but fans of the pre-haircuts Metallica still have reason to celebrate.
St. Anger, the band's first studio album in five years, will return to the thrashing sound that first put Metallica on the map.
"We've been a lot of different places musically over the last year and a half, and a couple of months ago we sort of came back around to some heavy, aggressive, fast, dynamic, a lot of tempo changes, kind of
"And that felt really comfortable again. We hadn't done it for a while. Maybe we were keeping it at bay, whatever. All of a sudden it was like that old pair of shoes you have in the closet that you haven't worn for a while, that felt really f---ing good to have on again.
"It's pretty aggressive and the people who like that side of us will not be disappointed, believe me," he added.
Metallica chose the title for the record, due June 10, because it fit with the aggressive feeling surrounding the project.
"We sat down and looked at some song titles and some lyrics and [what stood out was] 'St. Anger,' which is one of the songs about the medallion of anger that you wear around your neck," Ulrich explained. "That seemed to fit the mood of the band, the mood of the record, the mood of the music."
After recording about 30 songs (see "Metallica Toss Out Songs For The First Time"), Metallica are now finalizing which tracks will make the album. A first single hasn't been picked.
The Summer Sanitarium Tour with Metallica, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Deftones and Mudvayne will kick off July 4 (see "Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Metallica To Launch Joint Tour").