As it did in 1995, Metallica will take time out from recording a new album to make the rounds on the European summer festival circuit.

As it did in 1995, Metallica will take time out from recording a new album to make the rounds on the European summer festival circuit. So far, only five dates have been announced, but a message on Metallica's Web site says, "Please understand that we're making this up as we go along. This s*** is literally happening as we are typing."

The group will play the Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals in Germany on June 3-4, the Gelredome in Arnhem, Holland, on June 8 and the U.K.'s Download Festival on June 10-11. Metallica will also play three previously announced shows next month in South Africa: March 18 in Centurion, March 21 in Durban and March 25 in Cape Town.

The band's site says Metallica had set aside 2006 for "nothing but writing and recording," but that it was tempted by the prospect of "spend[ing] our summer vacation hanging out at the coolest live music festivals on the planet."

Aside from a set at a private party last month at Utah's Sundance Film Festival, Metallica has not played live since it opened two hometown shows in San Francisco last fall for the Rolling Stones. The quartet has been working on the follow-up to 2003's "St. Anger," which has sold 1.7 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

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