Release Date: Oct 9, 2012
Record label: Sub Pop
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
METZ said recently in an interview with Brooklyn Vegan that “Earplugs are recommended” when listening to their self-titled debut LP. I would go further – crash helmet, knee pads and a lifejacket are a bare minimum. Never mind ear protection, you’ll be relieved to come out of the other side with all of your limbs intact. They're a band who’ve had to be patient, owing to a slow song writing process which has seen just a few 7” singles in the four years they’ve been together.
In 2007, when Jon Whitney put out a CD compiling some self-released EPs of ascendant New York noise gazers A Place to Bury Strangers as their de facto debut, it was an act of passion. A friend and then-editor of mine at his invaluable and long-running Internet resource Brainwashed.com, Jon frequently evangelized about the band to me, citing their deafening live concerts and role in a musical legacy that stretches back beyond obvious touchpoints like My Bloody Valentine. We’d had countless conversations about music over the years—and would continue to do so for fewer more years than I’d like to admit—but it was clear how much A Place to Bury Strangers meant to him at that moment in time.
The biggest lie about punk rock is that anyone can do it. Sure, anyone can do crap punk rock, but there is a fine to art to taking a music fueled by destructive impulses and building it to last. Toronto power trio Metz played their first show in late 2007, and since then, they've effectively applied Malcolm Gladwell's theory about the Beatles-- i.e., that it takes a good 10,000 hours of practice to become them-- to a subgenre not exactly known for its studiousness: post-hardcore sludge-punk.
For years, it seems that any music coming from Canada featuring guitars and a beat has been pushed under the lazy category of indie rock (Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Metric), but METZ—Toronto’s latest export—is here to shatter those perceptions about our friends to the north. On its self-titled debut, the post-punk trio remarkably bottles the sound of a live show; immediately shredding from the top of “Headache” ’til the very end. Brace yourself or get the hell out of the way.
Metz are an exquisitely scuzzy garage rock band with an irreverent sense of humour. In the week that a certain resurrected post-rock behemoth unveiled its first record in ten years, it’s hard not to be drawn to this raucous Toronto trio who hold no nostalgia for the time when 'you needed to have at least twelve members to even be considered a band in Canada. ...
When he was a teenager in the early ’90s, Metz bassist Chris Slorach had it all figured out. Whenever he was home alone, he’d pilfer his dad’s credit card, dial the Sub Pop hotline and order the label’s finest new LPs. Nirvana. Afghan Whigs. And hey, the crime paid. Spat out of Parkdale ….
I had the misfortune of seeing METZ live before ever hearing their debut album. When first throwing it on, I found myself constantly turning up the volume, in hopes of replicating the ferocity of their show: the jagged howl and unstable static of Alex Edkins’ guitars and vocals, the muddy drone of Chris Slorach’s bass, the tom-drenched caves of Hayden Menzies’ drums. But then I noticed something that had quietly slipped under the radar during their concert: melody.
MetzMetz[Sub Pop; 2012]By Brendan Frank; October 16, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGA recent study by the Spanish National Research Council has scientifically proven that music is becoming a melting pot. Songs are getting louder, simpler, and less creative. In commercial terms, it makes perfect sense, and almost seems overdue; industry titans are just optimizing their product.
If the Northwest folk-pop like Fleet Foxes and Poor Moon and Sera Cahoone Sub Pop has been cranking out recently, METZ is likely to be a great antidote for you. The Canadian band is as untethered a rock outfit as your likely to hear in 2012. Their eponymous debut for the record is a fierce blast of noise, a half hour of music that may run brief but is long on brash mood, blaring guitars, and industrial-sized drums.
After the Shins hit it big, more and more releases on Sub Pop were geared toward Americana and acoustic folk. METZ is a different story. Recalling the early days of the Seattle label when grunge was thunderous and menacing, this Canadian group's debut is extra heavy. Recorded over the course of a week by Graham Walsh (Holy Fuck) and Alexandre Bonenfant in an old barn, METZ's self-titled album revisits the gut-thumping sludge of early Melvins and the abrasive scrawl of Jesus Lizard.
In this solipsistic cyberpunk present it's easy to miss the trees for the woods when assessing the current state of the musical climate. Things move at such velocity, while paradoxically going nowhere, that it's all too easy to say current guitar music is up shit creak sans paddle, as you know: "I haven't been bowled over by some undercooked grunge novelty for at least five minutes". Anything more than two days old isn't worth writing about if you follow the vicious logic demanded by the blogosphere and it's never ending, yet pleasurless quest, for new content.
Imagine a parallel universe where Blur’s roaring “Song 2” is the wimpiest thing the band ever created, and you get a sense of the tooth-chipping potential of Toronto art-punk trio METZ. With ten songs slugged out in less than 30 minutes, their self-titled debut packs quick bursts of Alex Edkins’ full-throated howling and beating his fretboard into submission. Two things set them apart from, you know, every single other band that plays loud and fast.
It took them a couple of years, but Toronto's METZ have finally followed up on the scorched earth path blazed by their trio of promising seven-inches. Working with Holy Fuck's Graham Walsh and Crystal Castles producer Alex Bonenfant, the trio reined in their sound, amping up the inherent hooks of their songs while ensuring that the noise – though there remains plenty of it – isn't present just for noise's sake. Lead track "Headache," with its pounding drums and chanting back-up vocals, makes the best case for METZ to break-out of the noise-rock underground and into greener and quieter pastures.
In this age of double-LP-concept albums and byzantine instrumental arrangements, it can be easy to forget about the power of sheer noise. It’s a simple mathematical formula: guitar plus bass plus drums multiplied exponentially by the number of amps equals tinnitus and the purest type of musical ecstasy possible. Twenty years ago, this was the standard approach; we called it grunge.
A fervent, joyous reminder of the power of hyper-distorted, anti-social noise. Jimmy Martin 2012 It takes a certain kind of chutzpah to make an anti-social racket with style, Anno Domini Twenty Twelve. No matter how many times their doom is prophesised, planks of wood plugged into monolithic speaker cabinets are in no more danger of slipping out of vogue than at any stage in the last 50 years.
"Metz" may call up images of a nebbish accountant feverishly crunching numbers on an ancient desktop (it's actually the name of a French city), but the Vancouver trio bearing this unassuming sobriquet is more likely to throw the computer out the window and kick the desk over. It's a simple sell: Alex Edkins, Hayden Menzies, and Chris Slorach come up with a dissonant but catchy riff, add a couple of clashing chords, and give it all a frenzied beating for two to three minutes. The bug-eyed "Wasted," "Get Off," and "Knife in the Water" leave bruises and broken furniture in their wake; the glitchy art dump "Nausea" provides a brief but unsettling throat-clearing.