Before you listen to anything by Metz you should answer these questions - do you suffer from any of the following?:
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. Not long afterwards they were scooped up by the alternative rock Mecca that is Sub Pop and quickly recorded and released their self titled debut towards the end of 2012.
Since then, Metz haven't really applied any breaks and the band have continued with a gruelling touring schedule that would have seen most bands buckle under the pressure, but in the case of this lot, you get the distinct impression imparting their music in a live setting makes up a large part of who they are. This raw and immediate element of the band's ethos is something that belies their second album.
Simply entitled II, Metz have returned with an LP that sees them firmly replant their flag in the field of menacing, hard rock, and their opening salvo "Acetate" lets you know in no uncertain terms what their intentions are. In case you hadn’t guessed, those intentions are to make your brain shake with as much rampant noise as is physically possible. The track hits hard with an straight-out-of-the-gate bass riff packed with industrial levels of distortion, before the rest of the song kicks in like a shock wave sent from the vaults of Mudhoney circa 1995. It's an arresting and explosive number that ignites a flash of illumination on the overarching tone on II.
"The Swimmer" paddles with a rip tide of swirling feedback as vocalist Alex Edkins delivers a pin-point offensive of distorted vocals over the sludgy wash of guitars. The pacing drumming and bass work drive the song like a teenager in a stolen car, the whole thing coming across like Bauhaus after a session of mainlining steroids.
Back-to-backing albums one and two, it’s clear that Metz have pushed in a more considered direction with II. Album closer “Kicking A Can Of Worms” sits as a sludgy version of cerebral stoner rock before reaching a measured flash point. But beneath the layers of distortion and brawny aggression, Metz are still capable of turning out an anthemic hook. "Spit You Out" carries an underlying melody and shout along chorus that echoes roots stretching back to the Oi! punk scene championed by the likes of Crass and "Wait In Line" sees Metz turn a song, ostensibly about the ennui of queueing, into a discordant primal yell capable of soundtracking a disenfranchised generation.
Metz have built on the nihilistic foundations laid by their debut and have developed, in places, a bracing and impressive knack for a killer hook. But the overriding aesthetic is one of immediacy and turbo-fuelled levels of energy accompanied by buzz saw guitars, fuzzed up bass and steamroller drums. With II, Metz have done more than enough to cement themselves as the new kings of transgressive hard rock, and that's a crown which is going to be difficult for anyone to wrestle from them.