Page last updated at 15:55 GMT, Thursday, 4 September 2008 16:55 UK

Album leak welcomed by Metallica

James Hetfield of Metallica
Metallica played the recent Reading and Leeds festivals

The drummer of rock band Metallica has welcomed an internet leak of their new album, ahead of its release next week.

Speaking on San Francisco radio station Live 105, Lars Ulrich said: "If this thing leaks all over the world today or tomorrow, happy days."

"It's 2008 and it's part of how it is these days," the musician added.

Death Magnetic, officially released around the world on 12 September, was posted on the internet after reportedly being sold in a French shop.

Legal action

The band, who were honoured at the Kerrang! awards in London last month, made one of the album's tracks, Cyanide, available for download recently.

They have also announced details of an intimate gig due to take place in London on 14 September.

Ulrich appeared on the US radio station to give a sneak preview of the album.

In 2003, Metallica decided to allow fans to download their music via the internet, three years after taking legal action to prevent digital access to their material.

The band chose to make their entire back catalogue available for download in 2006 - after finally relenting on a refusal to allow their music to be carried by iTunes.

They are due to play London's O2 Arena on 15 September, and will subsequently embark on an extensive North American tour, ending in January.

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