I don’t know what it is about Metz that really gets me wired up and ready to take on an army of replicant Ninjas with laser eyes, but I feel 10 feet tall, part man/part machine, and all jagged indifference when I listen to them. There’s an anxiety-driven angst in their music that pushes those special buttons in my brain that makes me want to drive on the freeway at 100 miles per hour before launching my rocket car into the atmosphere. This is bully ass whooping music folks. This isn’t machismo energy. This is the little guy transforming into a post-punk Avenger with the power of jagged guitar jangle, overblown bass, and exploding drum heads powering it. And the dorky guy in glasses playing the guitar for a room full of Budweiser-soaked meatheads, when he opens his mouth out comes years of alienation, disenchantment, and loner detachment that proceeds to blow those “brahs” on their designer jeans-covered asses. Metz make heavy music for the disenfranchised and fed up. It’s there in every note. It’s there in every scream. In every broken drum stick.
Anthems for the lost.
I’ve been going back and revisiting some records from last year. METZ II was one that I felt got overshadowed by a slew of albums that all came out at the same time. I preordered it as soon as I could through Sub Pop, and when it arrived I was enamored by it for about a week then something else came out and that pretty blue vinyl got put off to the side. This is something that happens a lot when you buy
too many a good amount of vinyl. But the nice thing about this “set aside” process is that you revisit those records in the future and it’s like discovering them all over again. This happens all the time for me, as I’m sure it does to you as well. METZ II was pulled out last week and it hasn’t left the turntable since. Goddamn what a good record. I was equally enthused with their debut METZ back in 2012. That album was as heavy as anything can be without hailing from Norway or a steel processing plant. I’ve always been a fan of heavy music, but I had my limits. Vocals that gurgle, growl, and sound like an elongated belch just aren’t for me(sorry Cannibal Corpse.) But screaming and blood-soaked squalls are okay. Alex Edkins has a way of sounding both melodic and on the fringe of a nervous breakdown. It’s like Jello Biafra and Kurt Cobain somehow became one being and were angry about it. His guitar playing is a constant sonic assault that seems to be chords slowly coming apart, like a rope fraying as it seems to be the only thing keeping you from falling 2,000 feet to your death. Bassist Chris Slorach and drummer Hayden Menzies are a rhythm section to be reckoned with. That’s the backbone, man. Without a solid drummer and bass player, well you’re just Jack White and his ex-wife. Who wants to be that? Sure, there’s some heavy bands that are guitar and bass. And a few that are good, too. But nothing beats a great and gnarly-sounding trio. Metz are that.
So METZ II. On first listen you think, “Okay. They’re not changing up the recipe and that’s fine. Why change it when all the ingredients are leveled just perfect?” So you listen and you smile and say “Cool”, and you move on. But going back and revisiting this record you start to hear some things that you missed. Like just how fucking heavy this album really is. It’s far gnarlier and jagged than their debut. There’s grainier production, the drums sound like they’re on the verge of exploding into a white light and disappearing into the ether all together. The bass and guitar become more of this “beast with two heads” as opposed to complete separate entities. Instead of working alone they come together to form this unhealthy noise union designed to give you tinnitus before the record ends. It’s truly beautiful. You’v got songs like “Acetate”, “The Swimmer”, “Spit You Out”, and “I.O.U.” that to my ears are just as heavy as putting on Snakes For The Divine or Seasons In The Abyss. They just go at heaviness from a different angle. It’s like if someone’s pissed off Id separated from their body and decided to cut a pop album. It’s sure not the kind of pop you hear on the radio(does that exist anymore?), but there is a pop sensibility in the blown speaker crackle of METZ II. It’s a relentless barrage of spittle and buzzing amps. There was no “Hey, lets add some piano and acoustic guitars this time around. Maybe we can break into some new markets.” No, instead they just trashed the place and set their instruments on fire which was all captured and put onto vinyl for us to savor for years to come.
There’s a certain transcendence to music that is heavy and angst ridden. Metz make music that sounds like the middle of a nervous breakdown. It’s a white noise you begin to fall into and lose all sense of your surroundings. Much like their album covers, there’s a sense of stark black and white. No golden hues or bright moments of chipper technicolor. It’s all grey bleeding into black and white. Throughout all of their releases(both full-lengths and a bevy of 7″ singles and splits since 2009) these three Canadians have never wavered from their mission statement to annihilate the listeners senses. There’s no breaks or letting up. There’s no calm before the storm. The storm is in your face every moment. METZ II feels like a perfect sense of blistered presence. “Kicking A Can Of Worms” is the last song on Metz’ follow up and it really sums up them as a band. No story, no sense of some sort of singalong. It’s just this stark scene from some nihilistic film. Something Alex Cox would’ve directed. Edkins sings “It’s such a shame/Broken speakers at your finger tips/Caught in the rain/There’s no easy fix“, followed by “Still holding on/Caught you staring at your feet again/It won’t be long/Kick a can of worms“. Nothing doing. Just surrounded by broken shit, wasting time. You could do something about it maybe, but why?
Metz. Keeping shit real. And keeping it real loud.