Is Metallica's new album finally getting closer to something that people can actually hear? If you ask drummer Lars Ulrich, he'll not only tell you it's definitely on its way, but you'll also get sucked in by his enthusiasm for it.

"We are f—ing in it," he told Rolling Stone. "We've got lots of songs, and we're honing them and tweaking them. It's pretty close."

But before we get our hopes up too high, the article reveals that the band hasn't started pre-production on the record. They haven't even settled on a producer. But Ulruch did offer a timeline for at least this stage of the process. "The creative elements are getting close to being done," he continued. "Just remember, this is still 'Metallica time.' When I say we're close to being done, it means the next month or so. There's a lot of stuff going on as life continues with family and personal events. ... But we are certainly down there [writing] pretty much every day."

The nearly 20 songs that Ulrich says Metallica have written so far are the result of going through more than 800 riffs they recorded -- something we first learned about in 2012. Ulrich noted that they’re trying a slightly different process than usual this time around. "In our world, there's been a distinct difference between the creative phase and the recording phase," he added. "With this project, we're trying to bridge the two a little more organically and not have there be such a great divide between the processes. We want to see if we can bring some of the creative curiosity, the impulsive stuff that happens when you're first playing a song, into the studio.

Nearly two months ago, Metallica posted a photo on Instagram of Robert Trujillo laying down some bass in front of a mixing desk. And last year, the group premiered one of the new songs, “Lords of Summer,” at a concert in Bogota, Colombia.

Metallica’s last album was 2008’s Death Magnetic. But they did release the much-maligned Lulu, a collaboration with Lou Reed, in 2011.

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