Santa came early! Metallica are offering a small taste of their long-awaited new studio album in a clip on their official website titled "Happy Holidayz." You'll need to sign up in order to check it out.

James Hetfield begins by sharing season wishes from Metallica and a cat that doesn't seem nearly as excited about this sneak-peek opportunity as the rest of us. "We thought we'd give you a little bit of ear candy for the holidays," Hetfield adds, before using the cat's foot to start the new music.

What follows is a brief 12 seconds of guitar fury with a short blast of Hetfield vocal. Still, it's the first new music from Metallica since the 2014 single "Lords of Summer." Prior to that, they released Lulu, a 2011 project with Lou Reed. Metallica haven't put out an album on their own since 2008's double-platinum Death Magnetic.

The group began 2015 by confirming studio work on a new record, but the process eventually swallowed up the entire year. By last month, Metallica were calling for more patience from fans. "We're still working," bassist Robert Trujillo said. "It's going to be a little while. Everybody's gotta be patient, you know? But it's coming, and that's the beautiful thing."

The new album is being produced by Greg Fidelman, who engineered Death Magnetic. He most recently produced Slayer's Repentless, after earlier stints as engineer with Black Sabbath, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and others.

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