Though Metallica are working toward a new album, the band is taking time out to play some of the world's top festivals, including their current run as part of Australia's traveling Soundwave Festival.

Frontman James Hetfield tells Australia's Triple M, "We're trying to write, but gigs keep popping up that are too exciting to stay home for." However, the festivals are just minor detours on the way to a new record.

Hetfield reveals, "We have lots of material [we've been] working on from the day 'Death Magnetic' ended all the way up until now. There's tons of material. Some [riffs] stick with me because the themes keep coming back. Out of 700 riffs, there's at least three I've played 20 times."

The frontman added that it's too early to talk about direction, as there are a lot of different sounds and styles that have emerged, but he stated that the band is "not afraid of jumping into past 'feels.' He explains, "After 'Death Magnetic,' we've stopped running hard and started embracing some of our past. 'Master of Puppets' was kind of a core reference for 'Death Magnetic.'"

At the same time, Hetfield says that Metallica is not about rehashing the past, just because fans are calling for a return to their early sound. "We have been artists since day one," he remarks. "We're not going to roll over for anyone and, you know, we're Metallica for a reason and we're going to keep doing that."

Meanwhile, the singer-guitarist also addressed the band's upcoming 3D film, which incorporates elements of their performance with an overall story arc. Hetfield says, "The footage is unbelievable but we wanted a storyline along with it … It's about one of the runners in the show who goes on this crazy adventure trying to find this 'bag' that we need for the end of the show. There is a plot, but we're still trying to figure it out!" At present, the band is editing the film and trying to bring the story and performances together.

Metallica still have a few more festivals on their bill for the rest of the year, including their own curated 'Orion Music + More' festival, taking place in Detroit on June 8 and 9.