It's been five years since Metallica released 'Death Magnetic,' their last studio album. The band says they're anxious to return to the studio to start recording again, and they've got the material. However two obligations are keeping them beginning work on the first album from their own label Blackened Recordings.

First is next month's Orion Music Festival in Detroit. But once the June 8-9 fest is behind them, there is still their 3D movie, 'Metallica Through the Never,' which is scheduled to hit IMax theaters on Sept. 27. James Hetfield tells Billboard the film is not quite done, but it's close. "It's like three movies in one," he adds.

"So there's a lot of different dynamics happening within this movie, and every time we go and see it and tweak here and there. It's like putting a song together -- only it's a little more expensive."

Touring has kept them busy as well. Hetfield points out that they've traveled to some unusual places, a necessity to pay for the movie. "So the touring is keeping us from getting in there and finishing the record. Right now the focus is on the movie." "We're getting there," bassist Robert Trujillo says. "And we'll have something great, hopefully in the next year."

They've started the process. "Yeah, we got out into the room and jammed and we've come up with enough material for a record, for sure," Hetfield says. "We've gone through maybe one-tenth of the material that's on our riffs CDs. We've got enough for an album, we just haven't had enough time to really focus on it and dial in and start whittling it into these masterpieces, hopefully."

"I want it done yesterday," the frontman adds.

Different rumors have the album coming in 2014 or (gasp!) 2015. "It takes us a while to make records, and we’re also so busy with so many other things," drummer Lars Ulrich recently told Classic Rock Magazine last month. "But we’ll get around to it eventually.” Perhaps Trujillo is the band's optimist.

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