Release Date: Sep 22, 2017
Record label: Sub Pop
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Noise-Rock
Though Toronto's METZ are still generating caterwauling hurricanes of sound, these days, primary lyricist/guitarist/young dad Alex Edkins is fixated on the tension that lies within the eye of the storm. Strange Peace is wholly informed by change, whether it's band members' impending fatherhood, an imposter winning the White House or the conscious sense that something seismic has shifted within society generally, altering our collective selves. With the aid of his friends Chris Slorach and Hayden Menzies, who make up METZ's colossal ….
Since then, the Toronto based trio have firmly stuck to their DIY ideals, building a reputation for crafting full throttle, low down and dirty garage rock. It was a fair expectation that new album Strange Peace would feature eleven songs anchored on a bed of sonic venting and controlled chaos, and their third record does indeed largely follow their two prior in being a riff heavy and riotous affair. Like many hard touring, modern day noise bands, Metz have cut their teeth in the live environment, which possibly explains why they sought out Shellac 's Steve Albini to engineer the recording of Strange Peace.
From its very first second, METZ’s third album catapults you into an abyss of bludgeoning riffs and rhythms. ‘Mess Of Wires’ is immediately intense, guitars like pneumatic drills tunnelling into drummer Hayden Menzies’ insistent pounding and Chris Slorach’s weighty bass. Just over three minutes of tightly wound forebodingness pass and then it all collapses into a tumbling, clattering end..
There is a brilliant and brutal simplicity to the music the Canadian punk band Metz makes: loud, cynical, severe, sharp around the edges. The group is composed of three members—guitarist and vocalist Alex Edkins, bassist Chris Slorach, and drummer Hayden Menzies—who seem to share the same goal: to create maximum friction between their instruments and to do so at the highest possible volume. As a result, the music has almost no concern for melody.
WHAT'S DIFFERENT: Underground rock icon Steve Albini was enlisted to capture the Canadian trio's fury with glorious results. Frontman/guitarist Alex Edkins alternates between two vocal tones: snotty nihilism and strapped to the front of a tourist bus going 70 mph off the edge of the Grand Canyon. For the duration of Strange Peace, his guitars remain uglier and spikier than ever before, while drummer Hayden Menzies beats his kit like it was a member of the Trump administration.
It’s mighty fine to see Sub Pop enjoy a new level of notoriety these last five years or so thanks to the breakout success of such acts as Father John Misty and a post-Portlandia Sleater-Kinney. But for those of us who’ve been along for the entire wild ride of the venerated Seattle imprint’s story, the existence of Toronto noise rock group METZ in its ranks is undoubtedly indicative of some kinda fever dream where Mudhoney’s Mark Arm, who works for Sub Pop as their warehouse manager, smacked a copy of the group’s demo on the A&R guy’s desk lamenting, “Man, why aren’t we signing bands like this anymore? Yet since inking a contract with the label in 2012, the trio has established a young legacy of brutality that’s right up there with some of the loudest sounds on Sub Pop’s storied roster. .
Back in 1966, in a segment filmed for Dick Clark’s TV show “Where the Action Is,” the Who’s Pete Townshend equated volume with power, saying that the benefit of playing “fantastically loud” is that it gets people who would otherwise “turn a deaf ear” to pay attention. Fair enough, but what Townshend left out is that volume by itself doesn’t accomplish much other than make people numb. These days, sometimes less volume cuts through all the noise better.
One thing you can always expect from METZ is that they'll never soften up. The Toronto trio has been highly susceptible to the trappings of angst with a bracing strut. Theirs is the antithesis of a human interest story: they have a profound dislike of humankind and no one is absolved, even themselves, and rather prefer to show the egregious side of humanity.
Like II, the third entry from METZ makes no compromises. The Canadian hardcore trio have an uncanny knack for capturing lightning in a bottle. Their sound lays the ferocity and unrelenting power of their live shows onto tape. To sacrifice that for more expansive, appeasing sounds would be to give up what makes METZ, METZ.
Back when Toronto three-piece Metz first unleashed their debut, self-titled album in 2012, it was like a tidal-wave had been unleashed. It had been some time since the legendary Sub Pop label had released something so ferocious (bar perhaps, Pissed Jeans) though it was quite clear why the band and label were a perfect match from the onset. Rarely this side of the millennium had such an explosively LOUD band bothered the 'indie-mainstream' bar acts like Fucked Up or Ice Age.
It wasn’t wholesale originality that caused Metz’s debut to make a decently sized splash back in 2012. Rather, the Canadian trio’s resurrection of 80s noise-rock tropes and Bleach-era Nirvana-isms felt refreshingly novel in a climate then dominated by Somebody That I Used To Know by an artist whose name you briefly knew (Gotye). Unlike Nirvana, Metz haven’t applied polish to their rawer-than-sushi sound. Album three arrives swaddled in promises of “a distinct artistic maturation into new and alarming territory” which rather overeggs the pudding’s occasional Magazine-echoing post-punk parts and the Parquet Courts-esque jam which closes the record..