Music

METZ vs. the World

Toronto's Reluctant Great White Hype

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METZ PLAY the kind of rock music that makes you feel like you're having a seizure. Everything, and I mean everything, is shoved well past the red and into the white hot. Melody is nonexistent. Just listening to the Toronto trio's debut album is exhausting—I can only imagine what it's like to play this music live.

For the past four years, METZ have done exactly that, perfecting their ear-numbing songs in sweaty clubs and basements before finally committing them to tape. Taking their time has paid off. METZ's self-titled Sub Pop album is a slab of post-apocalyptic punk rock that's as tightly wound as it is tightly played. Simply put: These guys don't fuck around.

Since the album's release last month, METZ have been greeted with glowing reviews from the UK's Guardian to the New Yorker. And while the band can be exhilarating to listen to, they're not infallible. They've been called post-hardcore and have been compared to the likes of Nirvana and the Melvins, and while songs like "Wasted" and "Get Off" support those comparisons, METZ are measurably more rigid than those aforementioned bands. METZ's songs—11 in total—tend to bleed together, often relying on the same dynamics.

But those are only minor gripes—some of the same qualities are also inherent in metal. What METZ lack in dynamics, they more than make up for in intensity and attention to sonic propulsion. Spiky guitars cut like lasers, layered and run through with so many effects that they barely sound as if they're being played by human hands. Drums are Neanderthal in the best possible sense; bass lurks underneath the rest of the squalor.

It should be noted that these aren't kids we're talking about here. The members—guitarist/vocalist Alex Edkins, bassist Chris Slorach, and drummer Hayden Menzies—are all in their early 30s, which bodes well for METZ. They're at that perfect age where primal meets cerebral. Whether METZ will continue to live up to the hype remains to be seen. Not that it matters; I get the feeling these guys will stop at nothing to make it to the bottom.

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