METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich spoke to Rolling Stone about the band’s plans for the rest of 2016, which include completing their long-awaited follow-up to 2008’s “Death Magnetic” album.

“I think it will be a pretty in-your-face year, at least the back half of it,” he said. “Obviously, we’ve gotta finish the new record now. But thankfully we’re quite far along. Hopefully we should be able to knock that on the head this spring, I would guess. So we will be gearing up and playing shows and doing all that fun stuff again soon.”

Ulrich revealed that the band spent about nine months working on the music for the new album. “Nowadays, we sit and go, ‘That’s a great piece of music,’ and ‘That’s really cool,’ and then we’ll play it faster, then slower, then half a step down, exploring all these options,” he said. “There are 75 different ways to play something, and you end up fucking driving yourself nutty.”

METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett told Rolling Stone last month that the group was “moving at a pace that allows us to live our lives and not have our lifestyles change too much,” adding that METALLICA had come up with ideas for “a bunch of songs, more than enough songs” but none were finished. He also said, “We’re slogging away — but you know, it’s metal. It’s heavy.”

Ulrich said last year that the band had written close to 20 new songs for its long-awaited tenth studio album, although he declined to offer a possible release date for the new CD.

Ulrich added that the band doesn’t want to record in a way that feels “labored over and overthought.”

Aside from touring, METALLICA has spent much of the eight years since the release of “Death Magnetic” on several other projects, including a music festival, collaborating on an album with the late Lou Reed and making a feature film.

Ulrich admitted to The Pulse Of Radio a while back that spending a tremendous amount of time writing and recording a new album was no longer a priority for the members of METALLICA, all of whom are in their 50s and have families.