METALLICA appears to have finally begun the mixing process for its long-awaited follow-up to 2008’s “Death Magnetic” album, tentatively due before the end of the year.

The band’s studio progress was revealed last week by Dan Nykolayko, a member of the METALLICA staff who interviewed frontman James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich for a article on the 20th anniversary of the group’s “Load” LP.

In the article, which was posted on June 9, Nykolayko wrote: “I managed to corner Lars and James at HQ before they locked themselves in the control room with Greg Fidelman to start mixing the new album.”

It is not clear when the interview with James and Lars actually took place.

Ulrich said in a recent interview with Metal Forces that June will be a decisive month for the band’s long-awaited tenth studio album. He revealed: “We’re now coming towards the end of the musical creative process and we’re starting to look ahead and the process of how we’re gonna share this record with the universe. The month of June is basically when we’re gonna sit down and figure what we’re gonna do with it all; what we’re gonna call it and what’s gonna be on it.”

Ulrich cautioned fans, however, that he is not sure if it will actually be released this year. He explained: “If the record doesn’t come out this year, then it won’t be because it’s not done. It will be because there’s some sort of cosmic reason that it would be smarter to hold onto it until next year. But the record will be done this summer.”

The group has been recording at METALLICA headquarters in San Rafael, California with Greg Fidelman, who was the engineeer on “Death Magnetic”.

The band has one live date on its schedule at the moment, at the new U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on August 20. That concert, at which METALLICA will be joined by AVENGED SEVENFOLD and VOLBEAT, sold out all 66,000 tickets in less than ten minutes back in March.