Yes, fans have seen Metallica headline such major festivals as Rock in Rio USA and Lollapalooza over the last few months, but rest assured, the band is working on their next album. During a chat on Chicago's The Loop (WLUP 97.9) with host Tim Virgin, Kirk Hammett revealed that because of their continued time in the studio, it makes for an easier transition to the one-off performances.

"Let me put it into some perspective," says Hammett. "Okay, the last [U.S.] show we played before this was in Las Vegas, in…. whenever it was … April or June … something like that. And it seems like we might not be doing anything in between that show and this show, but what we are doing is we are in the studio, we're recording, we're working on music. And when we're in the process of making an album, we're in for, like, weeks at a time doing exactly that. And so, when it gets closer to the actual gig time, that's when we start rehearsing the tunes that we're gonna be playing. And so, for us, it's just another date on the calendar, and we are active throughout that whole period."

He adds, "The only thing is that we have to shift the thinking from being in the studio and being creative in those terms to playing a live performance and getting the set list together."

As for the direction of their new album, Hammett says it's still a work in progress. He explains, "A lot of times, we don't know where it's going, and we just kind of have to just keep it on the road and see where it takes us. And, at this point, we're still on that road and we're wondering where it's gonna take us."

While the one-offs are done for a while, Metallica does have some extended touring planned. The band will play a series of dates in Norway, Sweden, Russia and the U.K. later this month. Then it's off to Quebec for a pair of September dates, followed closely by the Rock in Rio festival in Brazil on Sept. 19. Dates can be found here.

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