Release Date: May 4, 2015
Record label: Sub Pop
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
As Canadian trio Metz return for round two, the most pressing question for the group might be how can they possibly pack a bigger punch than their furious self-titled debut. The answer lies not in their power, but in their control. From the raucous flurry of ‘Metz’, ‘II’ differs in being a direct gut-punching affair. It’s immediate, but leaves no doubt that however many times it strikes it’s going to be leaving the same mark.
Before you listen to anything by Metz you should answer these questions - do you suffer from any of the following?: Hyper tension Heart defects Are you generally of a delicate disposition? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, you probably should approach this record with care. The Toronto based three-piece have they type of genesis that sits well in the annuals of rock 'n' roll - three dudes got together through a shared appreciation of punk rock, bought a couple of cheap guitars and a whacked-out drum kit and began playing music. But in the case of Metz, things happened pretty quickly and they started playing shows as soon as their fleshly brand of hard rock started to solidify.
As of II, Metz have been added to my "anger" playlist. This includes Refused, Drive Like Jehu, Fugazi, Ceremony and At The Drive-In. You can sense the pattern, right? It's all about bands -- pissed off, revolting yet making painfully beautiful music. At the core of this heartfelt chaos, these bands have something genuine about them and that's what struck with Metz in 2012; and furthermore, that's what carries over into this album.The opening riff of "Acetate" is the template for this record.
Hell hath no fury like the band named METZ. Over the course of their debut album, the Toronto noise punks unveiled the blueprint of their sound: a meld of abrasive guitars, bass and drums that packed a punch yet possessed a strong penchant for melody.Hinting nothing's changed much by naming their second album II, METZ demonstrate quickly that the intense touring the band undertook after their debut album has paid off. II not only succeeds in being a leaner and sharper improvement on its predecessor, but it also manages to bottle up the explosive energy found in the band's live show; save for a quick moment to breathe with "Zzyzx," II does not let up.
With the imposing physicality of their music’s warped hardcore handiwork, METZ to date has not been a band for whom subtlety has been a high priority. On their clangorous, self-titled debut, every compositional tool in their rehearsal space was a sledgehammer and every song looked like a nail. Like a host of similarly acerbic power trios before them, the Toronto three-piece relied on the unified clatter and roar of guitar, bass, and drums as the nauseating bedrock for their monolithic constructions.
More than a few critics compared Metz to the Jesus Lizard upon the release of their first album in 2012, and not without reason, but while the Canadian band's music does bear some small resemblance to the late, lamented Chicago outfit, their real similarity is not in their songs or style, but in the ferocity of their assault and the precision with which they attack. On their second album, efficiently titled II, Metz have grown even more muscular and menacing. The rapid-fire report of bassist Chris Slorach and drummer Hayden Menzies still hits its target like a baseball bat being used to snap someone's knees, but the group's guitarist and lead singer, Alex Edkins, has gained an even more impressive arsenal of tricks in the space of three years, and the blunt force of the power chords, the thick sheets of feedback, and the angular, razor's-edge soloing will but the fear into you if you have any scrap of humanity left.
“We’re all moving backwards,” spits “Acetate”, the blistering first shot fired on METZ’s aptly titled second album, II. “Every day repeated / There’s nothing left to do.” If one were only paying attention to his lines, singer/guitarist Alex Edkins might sound weary, at the end of his rope. The lyric sheet on its own might even paint a good portion of II into a lethargic corner.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. The title II, as plain as it may be, would seem to be the perfect choice for the sophomore album from the Toronto-based trio, Metz. Not only do two slumped heads now adorn the cover rather than the one on their self-titled debut, but the album's wallop also seems to punch through the speakers two-fold, which may strike many as surprising given the band's reputation for generating a massive racket.
“She’s barely breathing.” Just three words into the new METZ record, the situation is already bleak. It doesn’t matter what came before or how the band ended up in this mess. What’s clear is that they have to do something about it or things are going to get worse. Then things do. METZ are ….
Imagine a large paper sack full of sugar, wrapped in barbed wire and attached to a chain. Now imagine it being swung round and round like a mace, wielded by a grinning, beautiful maniac in the middle of a crowded street, scraping and gouging the faces of passers by, trailing grainy, crystalised sweetness that mixes with blood and spit to form a gory syrup which oozes down the street, attracting wasps and dogs and flies and degenerate kids, who roll about in it, laughing. Metz are a bit like that, only a three-piece punk band from Canada.
It seems almost pointless at this juncture to discredit a rock band for claims of unoriginality. Sure, there were certainly moments in history where such key rock components as “distortion” or “the power chord” were innovations and punk was once considered something “new,” but even then, the appeal of these elements had less to do with how they changed the music landscape and more with the fact that, when put together just right and played with the perfect levels of songwriting and enthusiasm, the sounds they made were fucking awesome. A new rock band doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel to tap into this awesomeness – as we’ve seen from the slew of great rock bands to emerge this decade – they just have to take those components and use them well.
In the run-up to II—the sophomore set from Toronto noisemakers Metz—frontman Alex Edkins promised three things: "We are not going to clean up our sound, we are not going to hire a big producer, we are not going to try to write a radio song. " True to his word, II is another snarling beast of a record, 10 more all-lunging, all-screaming anti-anthems crammed into another chaotic, cloistered half-hour, every inch as grotty and combustible and unfriendly as its predecessor. Once again produced by Holy Fuck's Graham Walsh and engineered by Alex Bonefant, II is a refinement, not a reinvention: if you liked Metz, well, have another.
Countless bands have spent the years since Kurt Cobain's death recycling his poppiest ideas; Metz, with their 2012 debut, announced themselves as the torchbearers of his gnarliest punk-rock instincts. True to those instincts, on II, the trio has taken its sound – think In Utero with zero apologies, Black Flag brawling Big Black, the Jesus Lizard and Mary Chain – in an even less polished and accessible direction. The record twitches with the flying-off-the-rails urgency of the band's live shows as Metz sandblasts the industrial precision of their first album into a nastier, more shambolic attack.
METZ — II (Sub Pop)On their sophomore album, simply titled II, Metz manage to steer the difficult path between expectations and reality, and with these 10 brief songs emerge heavier and as chaotic as ever. This may be the most punk rock album from Sub Pop since its first few years, carefully balancing abandon with precision, all loaded with plenty of attitude. While I enjoyed their debut album, this time around it feels like they’ve found a way to channel attitude into songs that are more powerful and compelling.The noise and cacophony almost disguise the fact that the band spent many months working out the 30 minutes of music here.
Much has been made of Metz’s loudness. This Toronto three-piece plays with weapons-grade intensity, making a mighty racket out of spare parts. But loudness doesn’t signify what it once did in rock. The last decade, especially, has seen the broadening and mainstreaming of styles — twee, complex, artisanal — that remained in the shadows after Nirvana’s ascent to popular acclaim in the early 1990s.
Options are good things to have. And, after making waves with their eponymous 2012 debut, Toronto noise-rock trio METZ saw their possibilities upped with album No. 2: fancier studios, more time to write, more temptation to embellish. None of that is evident on II, of course, and thank fuck for it ….
Metz have all the telltale signs of an early-90s nostalgia band. They play blistering Touch And Go-indebted punk rock; they've got a frontman who wears glasses and ripped jeans and screams his head off like a young Steve Albini and a drummer who pounds the kit and flails his hair like a young Dave Grohl; they write misanthropic songs about "rats" and "landfills" and "nausea". And yet to their massive credit, the Toronto three-piece has managed to be much more than that.
Heading into a sophomore album, generally there are two routes facing indie noisemakers like Metz—either expand outward for a shot at wider popularity, or burrow inward and create a more distilled version of the thing that got the group to this point. With “Acetate,” the lead single and opening track from II, Metz proudly announces it took that second option. There was a method to the madness of the Toronto trio’s 2012 debut, taking mangled noise and peppering in precise doses of ’60s pop and barroom rawk.
Nirvana doesn't appear on Metz's list of influences, just like Parquet Courts are slow to cite Pavement among theirs. On the former's sophomore LP, the Toronto trio source generously from the aforementioned grunge gods, as well as contemporaries like the Jesus Lizard. "Acetate" opens acerbic, instrumentation battling: drums hard-hitting, vox bellowed, guitars in the red.