Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich has heard the questions and he's well aware that fans are anxiously awaiting new material to digest. But at this point in their career, Metallica have earned the right to take the time to put out the record they want. In fact, it's their attention to detail that has helped them carve out the successful career they have, so a little bit of patience will be required before fans can digest more Metallica music.

Ulrich tells Rolling Stone, "I understand there are people waiting for a new record and so are we. But I can't stress about it. It's not like, 'F---, hurry up and get this record out.' Hurry up for what? So we can go play gigs? We already play gigs. We'll get there."

The band has slowly been getting back to work between gigs, but they've also accepted a number of festival offers this year and they're ramping up to the release of their 'Metallica: Through the Never' 3D film, which is also requiring plenty of attention.

Ulrich did confirm that Metallica has a wealth of material to explore before settling down to the more trimmed down list of tracks that will make their next album. The band has spoken of the "riff bank" in past interviews, and Ulrich estimates there are nearly 600 song ideas the group has generated since rehearsals began in January of this year.

The drummer's full interview about all things Metallica will appear in the latest edition of Rolling Stone magazine, at newsstands today.