A 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. On paper, Metz’s sound appears to be a symptom of this trend, and a literal reading of their style might lead one to consider them as such. Their songs are built on the principles of economy; thick, simple progressions, brief runtimes, and loads and loads of volume. However, the Canadian three-piece are in fact formulating a rebuttal to this groundswell. Despite their rudimentary approach to songwriting, Metz get their point across quite articulately.
Metz’s self-titled debut was recorded in a barn, and produced by fellow Torontonian, Graham Walsh of Holy Fuck. It’s an all-out assault that makes you want to burn that barn down, and then keep moshing on its ashes. Eleven tracks are brusquely shot out in under half an hour, with a white-knuckled grasp on three-chord savagery. There are whiffs of Jesus Lizard and early no wave acts like the Raybeats, along with influences as diverse as The Sonics, Jawbox and early Pixies. Every track reigns down with kiloton force. Vocalist Alex Edkins’ raw, throaty shrieking frequently borders on hysterical. There are melodies lurking underneath the dissonance, something this loud rarely needs to be listened to this closely.
Many of the songs on Metz feel almost bookish. There’s an aura of intense orchestration, and the three instruments at work display a hermetic rigidity, despite the amplitude they’re delivered with. Hayden Menzies’ bass and Edkins’ guitar rarely break away from each other. They move like two gears in the same giant machine. No player is overwhelmed by anyone else, but as a unit they are overwhelming. “You’ll never be the same,” warns Edkins on “Wet Blanket”.
But for all of the structured noise that Metz blasts into your ears, the continuous inundation often gives you the feeling that things aren’t quite right. The uproarious guitar on “Sad Pricks” sputters like some malfunctioning combustion engine, and standout opener “Headache” is almost desperate in its repetition of the line “Get away-ay-ay-ay-ay.” The brutality that drummer Chris Slorach attacks his kit with behind the vicious string bends on “Knife in the Water” feels like an absolute proclamation of a latent, clandestine rebelliousness. There are also abstract experiments like the presumably nameless “–))–”, which, despite the obviousness of their intent to intensify the ringing in your ears, feel somewhat meaningless.
By approaching their craft with both diligence and ebullience, Metz have tapped into something primeval, something that should appeal as much to basement-dwelling metalheads as it will to neurotic art rockers. The sonic corruption and disquieting sense of dread are accomplished with pure muscle alone. But instead of keeping this mindset out in the open, Metz just sweat it out over thirty jarring minutes.
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