[sic] Magazine


No review of II ought to mention something so banal as time signatures for music is always more than a list of ingredients and with a band like METZ it’s the extras that are most important. No matter the technicality on the display – and the confrontational Toronto three-piece neither have it in spades nor are they musical Luddites – art often only comes to life through audience interaction. And, after 20 months of touring, II is the frenetic document of that time to confirm the band’s place alongside Pissed Jeans as the most comfortable fits on the contemporary Sub Pop roster.

Just as METZ are more than their chosen metre, so too are they more than misanthropic nostalgia. Their wince-inspiring début laid the band’s frustration with modern life out for all to see. Their dirty laundry was loud and angry. Whilst II still contorts predictably to the primitive aggression of punk-rock, post-hardcore noise and grunge METZ do possess a searing dynamism all of their own. II pushes the envelope yet keeps its urgent hooks close to hand. As such, tracks like “Spit You Out” get caught on the cusp on jagged pigfuck righteousness and grunge-lite, radio-friendly unit shifters. Others, like “The Swimmer”, are little more than relatively straightforward punk-rockers.

The problem is METZ’s desire to blend proper tunes with flatlining guitar screech and bludgeoning sludge-punk. The emo-punk of “IOU” straddles both. Its gnarly bass thrum, Alex Edkins’ serrated scream and omnipresent feedback are pure adrenalin and yet somehow the whole seems a little tame thanks to its friendly face. These concessions to melody, all be them flung around the mix like a richochet, will lead HC aficionados to label so-so thrash like “Wait In Line” as kiddy-rock while your chart purist will still only hear a barrage of barbed dissonance.

The truth, as usual, is to be found in the middle ground, but a band with METZ’s reputation as one of the most visceral on an indie major should be hitting the extremes more often. Fortunately the superb opener “Acetate” with its throaty bass, brutal riffs and whitehot noise, as well as the intense industry of the closer, “Kicking A Can Of Worms”, which truly is as heavy as bag as spanners, manage to both whet the appetite and leaving you wanting more. And there’s definitely an art to that.

Best track: “Acetate”

~II is released May 4th 2015 via Sub Pop.~