Metallica are working with producer Rick Rubin on the album that will hopefully make us forget all about the whole 'Lulu' debacle. You never know with Metallica, but there's a good chance we will see the follow-up to 'Death Magnetic' in 2012.

Metallica has been a number of different bands over the past 30 years, and we're not referring to the bassist situation -- we're talking about their sound. From the early thrash days of 'Jump in the Fire' to the more epic metal on 'Master of Puppets' and eventually mainstream hard rock like 'Nothing Else Matters' -- Metallica has brought several different degrees of rock to audiences and fans everywhere.

After the "unconventional" drum sounds and lack of guitar solos on 'St. Anger' upset some of their fanbase, Metallica made a conscious effort to return to their earlier sound -- heavy, fast guitars, arrangements with multiple changes, long guitar solos, etc. Their stroll down memory lane became the 2008 album 'Death Magnetic.' The return to form was generally well-received by critics and fans who had felt neglected by their turn to mainstream rock around the time of the "black album."

Again teaming with 'Death Magnetic' producer Rick Rubin, Metallica has begun work on their latest collection of tunes. Bassist Robert Trujillo gave a hint at the direction of the new material speaking to in October:

"We've been busy writing and recording. We've got a couple of new songs we have been working on the past couple of weeks. The writing process for the new Metallica album has begun. We've been in the studio with Rick Rubin, working on a couple of things, and we're going to be recording during the most of next year. We've got a lot of work ahead of us. But the great thing is that we have sort of already jumped off the launch pad and we're swimming. It's happening. It's reality. It's a lot of fun, there are a lot of ideas, and we're really excited about the new record. For me, personally, 'Death Magnetic' was the launch pad for the next record. This is the beginning of something very, very cool."

The new record will be Metallica's tenth (not counting the Lou Reed collaboration 'Lulu') and will hopefully see release in 2012. If you can't hold off until then, check out the just released EP 'Beyond Magnetic,' which features four rough demos of songs that didn't make the final cut of 'Death Magnetic.'