Metallica won't be hurting for any lack of material when they do finally decide to sit down and record a new album.

Kirk Hammett tells Guitar World that he's been piling up the guitar riffs in anticipation of when the band goes in to record. He says, "I'm probably closer to 400 [riffs] now. But you know, out of those 400 there might only be 20 great riffs. It'd be something all 400 were triple-A, diamond-rated ideas, but that's just not the case. Never was and never will be."

Hammett says as much as he has backlogged, James Hetfield may have him beat. He suggested that the singer/guitarist has close to 800 riffs, but that he's not sure how many true songs are in that batch. "It all depends on what we do with it," says the guitarist.

At present, things like the upcoming Orion festival and the filming of their 3D concert film are more in the forefront, but Hammett reveals, "In the fall, we plan on concentrating a little more on writing songs and doing nothing else but just thinking about the new album. That should be interesting."

As for a potential direction, the guitarist says, "We've talked about maybe going a little bit simpler. Now that doesn't necessarily mean it's going to happen. We've said many times, 'Oh let's try and do this,' and then things end up so far left field of what we tried to do that we had no choice but just to go with it."

Metallica may have their eyes on writing, but Hammett confirms that there is no timetable for the next release. "It's just whenever," says the guitarist. "Whenever it happens, it happens, really."

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