Every once and a while you need something to break the cycle of sticky, sweet, pop perfection that fills the airwaves. From hard rock to country, hip hop to power pop, so much of the music that fills our ear drums right now is over-produced to the point of inhumanity; the voices twinge robotically with auto tune, the instruments filled with lifeless precision. If you’re looking for something to bash that out of your system, look no further than the second album from Canadian noise rockers METZ. METZ II hits you hard with a brutal and raw intensity that is still laced with a natural melody and skilled musicianship. It’s good, guys. Really, really freaking good.
It’s a bit serendipitous that METZ are signed to Sub Pop, the record label that essentially produced the grunge movement in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Grunge came along and smashed glam metal and soulless pop off the charts. It stripped away the pristine veneer of the music industry and gave us something honest, raw, and angry. I’m not saying METZ is changing the music industry, but they certainly are a breath of fresh air in a sea of staleness. Similar to acts like Nirvana and Soundgarden, METZ has the potential to reach a mass audience — there’s something about them that could connect with more than just the post-punk, noise rock crowd.
METZ II moves fast. Its 10 tracks pummel you before you have a chance to catch your breath. There are no quiet moments on this album; it’s a relentless journey of feedback, bass, and strained vocals. Right from the opening track, “Acetate,” it feels like METZ might fall apart. They are playing too hard, too intense. You can hear their voices crack and the guitar scream in shockwaves of fuzz. It’s almost violent, something you survive instead of consume.
Despite all this aggression – or maybe because of it – METZ II is still catchy and, dare I say it, fun. Songs like “Wait in Line” have a groove that is almost danceable. You find yourself humming along, bobbing your head. That is, of course, until the whole song falls apart into a barrage of noise, thunder, and feedback. METZ never lets you get too comfortable; they keep you on the edge of your seat, always waiting for the hints of melody and serenity to be yanked away and beaten to death in front of you.
Personally, METZ II is an early contender for Album of the Year. For a kid who grew up listening to punk rock, this record hits all the right buttons. If you, like me, love bands like The Jesus Lizard, Nirvana, Drive like Jehu, and Nation of Ulysses then you need to be listening to METZ. You need METZ II in your life. It’s hammer in the face of popular music’s little world. Hopefully, it’s a match that will start a bigger fire, because I’m ready to watch the scene burn.