Kirk Hammett has confirmed to Alternative Press that METALLICA has “pretty much” tapped Greg Fidelman to produce the band’s long-awaited follow-up to 2008’s “Death Magnetic” album. “As far as what the final outcome will be, I don’t know,” the METALLICA guitarist said. “We have not brought in any [other] producer and it looks extremely [unlikely] we’d bring one in this late into the project.”

As for Greg‘s exact role during the recording process, Hammett said: “The title ‘producer’ itself is a bit ambiguous. It differs from person to person. You can call Rick Rubin a producer, but he’s not the [same] type of producer as Bob Rock, who is there for every note. At the same time, Rick Rubin gets stuff done. Greg Fidelman is a different type of producer in that he’s with the engineer always looking to try and move the project forward. And that’s different from, say, Dr. Dre, who is the type of producer who is actually making backing tracks, producing music, writing music. In the hip-hop world, Dre is a producer. It’s so ambiguous. If you go by the traditional term, we’re doing it with Greg, pretty much.”

Kirk added: “Greg is a real pleasure to work with. Even though he can be a bit of a taskmaster, he listens to you. He’s super-flexible. He knows how to crack the whip without fucking pissing people off.”

Hammett also admitted that “the hardest part” about recording METALLICA is coordinating the bandmembers’ schedules so that the production process can move forward at a comfortable pace. “Hey, for us, life has its demands,” he said. “We’re trying to make an album and go on tour, trying to be a band, but we all recognize that if someone has a family situation, that takes priority over everything. That’s another reason why [the new album] is taking so long. That’s another obstacle for Greg Fidelman. He’s always joking about it, but it really takes a lot of, like, you know, tap dancing and juggling.”

METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich told U.K.’s Rhythm magazine in a 2008 interview that the band chose Greg Fidelman to engineer “Death Magnetic” because of his previous work on SLIPKNOT‘s third album.

“[‘Death Magnetic’ producer] Rick [Rubin] sat down with us and said: ‘Who do you wanna work with? And we said, ‘We want to work with the guy that did the SLIPKNOT record [2004’s ‘Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)’].’ And that guy was Greg Fidelman. So [Greg] did most of the day-to-day work and most of the drum sounds. Rick doesn’t like things to be too ambient. He doesn’t like things to be too ‘verbed out.”

“Death Magnetic” caused controversy with some METALLICA fans, who have complained about excessive clipping on the CD mix. Even mastering engineer Ted Jensen blamed “brick-walling” at the mixing stage for making his job difficult: “Believe me, I’m not proud to be associated with this one”, Jensen wrote in an e-mail quoted by a METALLICA fan forum.