Metallica are just starting in on their follow-up to the 2008 album 'Death Magnetic' and drummer Lars Ulrich says that the early sessions are revealing a "heavy, energetic" vibe for the forthcoming release.

In the new Metal Hammer issue, due at newsstands this Wednesday and excerpted by Blabbermouth, Ulrich says, "The stuff that we were banging out yesterday, it felt heavy. It felt energetic. It was loud, it was fast, it was rocking, it was crazy. The snare drum was on there and there were guitar solos, in case anybody was wondering." (Thank you Lars, we all were!) He went on to added, "What we're doing now certainly sounds like a continuation of where we left off four years ago."

As for whether they would reunite with 'Death Magnetic' producer Rick Rubin, Ulrich was non-committal, adding, "I love Rick, we all love Rick. We're in touch with Rick constantly. We'll see where it goes." The band's next album will be their first full studio release from their self-run Blackened Recordings label.

In other Metallica related news, former bassist Jason Newsted recently announced the formation of his self-titled band Newsted and is finalizing the release details of his group's first EP. The four-song set, titled 'Metal,' is due on iTunes Jan. 8 and the lead single 'Soldierhead' can be heard in the player below.

Listen to Newsted's New Song 'Soldierhead'