It’s been four years since Metallica’s last album, Death Magnetic, was released. And if you think that the band have stockpiled a few riffs for studio album #10, you’re right. In fact, they apparently have more than 1,000. In a recent article in Rolling Stone, James Hetfield claimed that he had exactly 846 riffs written. In an interview that’s up on Guitar World, Kirk Hammett says that he has close to 400 written. We’re not that great at math, but that’s almost 1250 riffs written. With that sheer amount of riffs, Metallica’s next album will either be a box set or an album whose complexity makes …And Justice For All look like Poison. Before anyone gets too excited, Hammett admits that most of them are crap.
But you know, out of those 400 there might only be 20 great riffs. It’d be something if all 400 were triple-A, diamond-rated ideas, but that’s just not the case. Never was and never will be. James might have 800 riffs, but there’s maybe 12 songs in there. Who knows? It all depends on what we do with it.
And the band’s too busy revisiting their past catalog to actually go in and craft the next one. They’re touring the world, headlining their own festival, and working on a 3D movie before they get around to writing the next record. Hey guys, whatever it takes to pay the bills. And hopefully they’ll have some quality control with the 1,240 or so riffs that don’t make the next record. You never know where some of them might wind up.