Nancy Kaszerman/

Metallica is again going against the grain.

The hard-rocking band has followed in its own footsteps and announced a Friday release date for its ninth studio album, Death Magnetic. The album hits both tangible and digital shelves Sept. 12.

Three days later, the full album will become an optional download for Guitar Hero III: Legends of the Rock. (No word yet on whether the videogame tracks' Sept. 15 release will also be bumped up.)

James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo also chose to skip the traditional Tuesday or Monday debut with their last effort, 2003's St. Anger, figuring somehow that a Friday bow would stop more pirated copies from circulating.

Either way, this isn't the first instance of Metallica wanting to get its music out there—but not too much.

The original Napster bashers incurred the ire of several U.K. music websites after Metallica's management asked the bloggers to pull any early reviews of the tracks that would eventually make up Death Magnetic.

Metallica characterized the whole thing as a misunderstanding and encouraged the sites to resume their critiques.

The band, which recently finished shooting a video for the album's first single, "The Day That Never Comes," is scheduled to play Ozzfest Saturday in Dallas. For a fee (of course), you can order an MP3 file of the performance from

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