Retailers in the United Kingdom have been selling Metallica's highly anticipated new album, "Death Magnetic" (Vertigo) ahead of its official release today, it has emerged.

The label made the decision to allow early physical sales after new material leaked online just days before it was due to hit shelves.

"We were advised that, because the album had become so heavily leaked online, we should go ahead and sell the album a day earlier than planned," a spokesperson for market-leading retailer HMV told Billboard.

However, despite its earlier-than-planned release, HMV predicts "Death Magnetic" will be beaten to the No. 1 spot by U.K. alternative rockers Glasvegas' eponymous debut, released Sept. 8 on Columbia/Sony BMG.

"Glasvegas are selling really well and are currently our No. 1," said the spokesman. "It's going to be really close between them and Metallica."