Kirk Hammett is bracing himself for his first solo release away from Metallica, with his debut EP Portals dropping on Friday (April 23rd.) Hammett told The Mercury News how different the process is in releasing a solo set rather than backed by the machine surrounding the band: “Usually when there is an album release — it’s the four of us (in Metallica). We all have each others’ backs. We are all supporting each other, because it’s kind of a nerve-wracking sort of emotional and mental thing. Usually, during this time, we have each other to talk to about any sort of insecurities or whatnot. But now that I have put out a solo album, I am the guy who bears the whole burden of all that.”

Hammett went on to reveal: “I said to James (Hetfield), ‘This is weird. I have an album release and usually I have you three other guys. But it’s just me and it makes me feel insecure and nervous.’ And James only had one reply: ‘This is a growth and learning experience for you, bro.'”

He went on to explain, “As far as how everyone (in Metallica) feels about me putting out a solo album, I have the full support of James, Lars (Ulrich) and Rob (Trujillo) — and management. It’s a great thing, because it wasn’t always like that and that’s been well documented. But things are different now and thank God.”

Portals definitely spoltlights another musical side from Hammett, who reveals a decidedly prog-influenced bent: “I wasn’t ever into prog music until about five years ago. All of sudden, I started listening to prog — kind of by accident. I went out and bought the entire Yes catalog and I just devoured Yes for like a month. I went out and bought all the Jethro Tull stuff and just devoured that.”

Metallica will next perform on April 27th in Santiago, Chile at Club Hípico

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