Lars Ulrich said Metallica have been trying to work on a new album for several weeks, but they were facing “significant complications” as a result of having to record remotely due to the coronavirus.

The drummer previously reported that the four members were sharing musical ideas via Zoom – which they already found limiting – but speaking during the CNBC Evolve Summit earlier this week, he revealed that technical difficulties were inhibiting their progress.

“We have been working the last six, eight weeks virtually,” he explained. “Being a rock ’n’ roll band and working virtually is not super-easy. Time delays, all these things make it really hard. The main thing we miss is being able to hear each other. ... So, if we're all four in a room together, we can connect with each other and we can hear each other. If I’m playing here in San Francisco, and Kirk [Hammett] and James [Hetfield], our two guitar players, are either in Oahu or Colorado, there are significant time delays.”

Ulrich noted that, as a result, it was “very hard” for the musicians to play songs together. “If I’m doing what we call steering, which means that I'm playing a beat and they’re playing to me, I can’t hear what they're playing, and vice versa,” he said. “We can’t all hear each other in a universal fashion. So there are some significant complications we have. Our recording team and our production team are speaking to software makers all over the world [about] how to crack the code on this. Nobody has quite figured it out yet.”

In the same conversation, he speculated that a return to large-scale touring might still be a year away. Despite the positive response to Metallica’s drive-in concert in August, he didn’t believe such events would become the norm.

“It was a success, but at the same time, I don’t know what kind of legs that kind of experience will have, because I think it’s more of a one-off event,” he said. “I don’t think it’s something you could do too often. The burnout factor is too big.”


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