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METZ

METZ

Up On Gravity Hill

    With time, we come to understand the way the joy of connection is mirrored by the void of loss, how the constancy of love is matched only by the impermanence of life, the simple idea that we could not create light if we did not risk the dark—we’d never need to.

    So it is with METZ, a band once known for blowing out eardrums with songs of joyous rage who have, over their past few records, begun exploring ways to turn abrasiveness into atmospherics, the evolution of their sound not only a reflection of the maturing of the band themselves but also of a changed world that demands nuance and compassion to comprehend and to survive.

    It was a journey already underway on 2020’s Atlas Vending, but one that reaches new heights on Up On Gravity Hill, where the Canadian trio creates a kaleidoscopic sonic world as tender as it is dark, aided once again by engineer Seth Manchester (Mdou Moctar, Lingua Ignota, Battles, The Body). Deep, detailed, and unyieldingly personal, it is not only METZ’s most powerful record to date but also their most beautiful.

    Still three punks from Ontario at heart, guitarist and vocalist Alex Edkins, drummer Hayden Menzies, and bassist Chris Slorach waste no time as opener “No Reservation/Love Comes Crashing” sweeps in like a wave, sonically and thematically setting the scene for the record to come. A dynamic song about feeling suspended in stasis, layers of dissonance melt into a restlessly heady outro marked by escalating crescendos of shimmering noise that reach for the stars—and is that a violin quivering brightly beneath those elegant swells of guitar, those charging drum fills, those intricate bass lines? It is indeed, courtesy of composer Owen Pallett; his presence an immediate indicator that METZ are thinking more cinematically than ever before.

    The change is partially inspired by Edkins’ work as a scorer for film and television and his pop-leaning solo project, Weird Nightmare, where, he says, he learned to write more intuitively, letting his emotions lead the way. But make no mistake: Up On Gravity Hill is a total band effort, the work of three musicians who have been playing together for over a decade, with all the trust that entails.

    For those who believe in the power of the rock band to exemplify the highest resonance of human connection, there is much on Up On Gravity Hill to lift the spirit, a puzzle worth repeated listening to unlock or just to get lost in again and again. Rather than the music being flattened into a single plane, the band explores “the space above the cymbals,” resulting in some of the most spacious, sympathetic, and accessible songs—could we call them pop?—of their career. If this seems contradictory, well, METZ has always been something of a contradiction. “We’ve never been heavy enough for metal or hardcore purists, but we're way too heavy for indie rock. We just don't have a lane—and that's okay. We exist outside the lines of delineation. I think this record is even more like that,” says Edkins.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: Thumping percussion and soaring guitars, beneath a shoegaze-indebted wall of sound and Edkins' snarling, harmonised vocal on top. It's an absorbing and perfectly paced punky blast.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. No Reservation / Love Comes Crashing
    2. Glass Eye
    3. Entwined (Street Light Buzz)
    4. 99
    5. Superior Mirage
    6. Wound Tight
    7. Never Still Again
    8. Light Your Way Home

    Metz

    Atlas Vending

      “Change is inevitable if you’re lucky,” says guitarist/vocalist Alex Edkins while talking about Atlas Vending, the fourth full-length album by Toronto’s METZ. “Our goal is to remain in flux, to grow in a natural and gradual way. We’ve always been wary to not overthink or intellectualize the music we love but also not satisfied until we’ve accomplished something that pushes us forward.” The music made by Edkins and his compatriots Hayden Menzies (drums) and Chris Slorach (bass) has always been a little difficult to pin down. Their earliest recordings contained nods to the teeming energy of early ‘90s DIY hardcore, the aggravated angularities of This Heat, and the noisy riffing of AmRep’s quintessential guitar manglers, but there was never a moment where METZ sounded like they were paying tribute to the heroes of their youth.

      If anything, the sonic trajectory of their albums captured the journey of a band shedding influences and digging deeper into their fundamental core—steady propulsive drums, chest-thumping bass lines, bloody-fingered guitar riffs, the howling angst of our fading innocence. With Atlas Vending, METZ not only continues to push their music into new territories of dynamics, crooked melodies, and sweat-drenched rhythms, they explore the theme of growing up and maturing within a format typically suspended in youth. Covering seemingly disparate themes such as paternity, crushing social anxiety, addiction, isolation, media-induced paranoia, and the restless urge to leave everything behind, each of Atlas Vending’s ten songs offer a snapshot of today's modern condition and together form a musical and narrative whole. The song sequencing follows a cradle-to-grave trajectory, spanning from primitive origins through increasingly nuanced and turbulent peaks and valleys all the way to the climactic closer, “A Boat to Drown In.” The lyrics speak to this arc as well, with the songs addressing life’s struggles all the way through to death, as Edkins snarls “crashed through the pearly gates and opened up my eyes, I can see it now” before the band launches into the album’s cascading outro. 

      While past METZ albums thrived on an abrasive relentlessness, the trio embarked on Atlas Vending with the goal to make a more patient and honest record—something that invited repeated listens rather than a few exhilarating bludgeonings. It’s as if the band realized they were in it for the long haul, and their music could serve as a constant as they navigated life’s trials and tribulations. The result is a record that sounds massive, articulate, and earnest. Bolstered by the co-production of Ben Greenberg (Uniform) and the engineering and mixing skills of Seth Manchester (Daughters, Lingua Ignota, The Body) at Machines with Magnets in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, METZ deliver the most dynamic, dimensional, and compelling work of their career. 


      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: Metz have always provided a glimpse into the more uncompromising but undeniably tuneful side of indie-rock, and 'Atlas Vending' if anything cements them as one of the most necessary voices in modern guitar music. Brutal but balanced beautifully with more cohesive, melodic sections.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Pulse
      2. Blind Youth Industrial Park
      3. The Mirror
      4. No Ceiling
      5. Hail Taxi
      6. Draw Us In
      7. Sugar Pill
      8. Framed By The Comet’s Tail
      9. Parasite
      10. A Boat To Drown In 

      METZ

      Automat

        METZ, the widely-adored and delightfully noisy 3-piece punk band from Toronto (ON, Canada), have been laying waste to stages around the globe for over 10 years. During that tumultuous chunk of time METZ, comprised of Alex Edkins, Hayden Menzies, and Chris Slorach, have cemented their reputation as one of the planet's most exhilarating live acts and trusted providers of bombastic outsider rock. Along the way, they’ve earned enthusiastic support from The New Yorker, Mojo, NPR, The New York Times, KEXP, Pitchfork, Stereogum, The AV Club, Q, Uncut, Exclaim, and a bunch of others. Referring to the trio's tireless tour regime and unquenchable thirst to bring their music to the people, John Reis (Hot Snakes, RFTC, Drive Like Jehu) once said, “your ambition is really unflattering, chill out.”

        They did not listen. Instead, their love of the road and passion to create uncompromising and challenging music remains unwavering and has only grown over time. Their recorded output to date, a cornucopia of pop-inflected noise punk and damaged fuzz anthems, includes 3 critically-acclaimed LPs with Sub Pop, as well as a plethora of limited-edition releases, collaborations, covers, and rarities. Which brings us to Automat, a collection of non-album singles, B-sides, and rarities dating back to 2009, available on LP for the first time, and including the band's long out-of-print early (pre-Sub Pop) recordings.

        Included here are the band’s first three 7” singles, recorded 2009-2010 and originally released by We Are Busy Bodies Records; a demo version of “Wet Blanket,” the explosive single from 2012’s METZ; two tracks from the limited-edition bonus single that accompanied preorders of METZ; “Can’t Understand,” originally released in 2013 by [adult swim]; and both tracks from the band’s 2015 single on Three One G.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: Clashing, rawkous punk-rock guitars and huge percussion meet noise-rock production and hardcore screaming in a clattering maelstrom of fiery chord changes and snarling vitriol. Absolutely insane, and unfathomably packed with huge swathes of razor-sharp distortion and heft.

        TRACK LISTING

        Soft Whiteout
        Lump Sums
        Dry Up
        Ripped On The Fence
        Negative Space (7 Inch Version)
        Automat
        Wet Blanket (Demo)
        Dirty Shirt
        Leave Me Out
        Can’t Understand
        Pure Auto
        Eraser
        Pig*
        I’m A Bug*
        M.E.*

        *vinyl-only Bonus 7” Track

         Since releasing their self-titled debut record in 2012, which The New Yorker called, “One of the year’s best albums…a punishing, noisy, exhilarating thing,” the Toronto-based 3-piece METZ have garnered international acclaim as one of the most electrifying and forceful live acts, touring widely and extensively, playing hundreds of shows each year around the world.

        Now, Alex Edkins (guitar, vocals), along with Hayden Menzies (drums), and Chris Slorach (bass) unleash their highly-anticipated third full-length album, Strange Peace, an emphatic but artful hammer swing to the status quo.

        "The best punk isn't an assault as much as it's a challenge — to what's normal, to what's comfortable, or simply to what's expected. Teetering on the edge of perpetual implosion,” NPR wrote in their glowing review of METZ’s 2015 second album, II.

        Strange Peace was recorded in Chicago, live off the floor to tape with Steve Albini. The result is a distinct artistic maturation into new and alarming territory, frantically pushing past where the band has gone before, while capturing the notorious intensity of their live show. The trio continued to assemble the album (including home recordings, additional instrumentation) in their hometown, adding the finishing touches with longtime collaborator, engineer and mixer, Graham Walsh.  

        Strange Peace isn’t merely a collection of eleven uninhibited and urgent songs. It’s also a kind of sonic venting, a truculent social commentary that bludgeons and provokes, excites and unsettles. With all the pleasurable tension and anxiety of a fever dream, Strange Peace is equal parts challenging and accessible. It is this implausible balancing act, moving from one end of the musical spectrum to the other, that only a band of METZ’s power and capacity can maintain: discordant and melodic, powerful and controlled, meticulous and instinctive, subtle and complex, precise and reckless, wholehearted and merciless, brutal and optimistic, terrifying and fun.

        “Their whiplash of distortion is made with precision, a contained chaos. But you would never talk about them like that. Because METZ are not something you study or analyze,” wrote Liisa Ladouceur in Exclaim! “They are something you feel: a transfer of energy, pure and simple.” In other words: to feel something, fiercely and intensely, but together, not alone.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: Rawkous, punky snarling rock, infused with the energy of political upheaval, and produced with a fine-tuned and perfect balance between melodicism and raw lo-fi energy. A fist-pumper to the end. Turn it up and get going!

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Mess Of Wires
        2. Drained Lake
        3. Cellophane
        4. Caterpillar
        5. Lost In The Blank City
        6. Mr. Plague
        7. Sink
        8. Common Trash
        9. Escalator Teeth
        10. Dig A Hole
        11. Raw Materials

        ‘II’ is the concussive new full length from Toronto’s METZ.

        Written and recorded in 2014, after two years of constant touring behind their rightly-adored, selftitled debut, ‘II’ is METZ at their most true to form, as pure an expression of what they do as can currently be committed to tape.

        The guitars are titanic, the drums ill-tempered, the vocals chilling and the volume worrisome. ‘II’ is the sound of an already monstrous band improving in both subtle and terrifying ways.

        TRACK LISTING

        Acetate
        The Swimmer
        Spit You Out
        Zzyzx
        I.O.U.
        Landfill
        Nervous System
        Wait In Line
        Eyes Peeled
        Kicking A Can Of Worms

        Metz

        Metz

          Canada’s Metz are a return to everything that’s good about loud, ecstatic live music - a frantic nod to Nation Of Ulysses, Shellac, The Pixies, The Jesus Lizard, and Public Image Ltd. at their most vicious - while carving out some heavy new business as well.

          Metz have been around for over three years, sharing stages with Mission Of Burma, Mudhoney, Oneida and NoMeansNo.

          ‘Metz’ was produced by Graham Walsh (Holy F*ck) and Alexandre Bonenfant.

          With this, their debut album, Metz articulate with deafening clarity what we’ve known for some time: The world of good music needs a new power trio, and this is it.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Ryan says: A ferocious release from Toronto based Metz, they don't mess around, you could be forgiven for mistaking the song 'rats' for something off Nirvana's bleach. This is punk done right.


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