The fourth full length offering from Toronto noise merchants METZ is a massive step forward and shows a band at the top of their game.
Never a band to do things by halves, METZ have become known for their hot, sweaty, rowdy gigs (gosh, how things have changed) and uncompromising brand of hardcore.
Albeit that frontman Alex Edkins had confessed to us last year that the band somehow divides opinion between being too heavy and not heavy enough, depending on the point of view of the listener.
For our part, they fit right in, even if Edkins wasn’t so sure whey they land. No matter, they’re a damn fine band.
And they’ve proved it with Atlas Vending, an altogether more sophisticated and polished work than some of their earlier releases.
Last year’s Automat, a collection of maverick B-sides, non-album tracks and other bits of METZ ephemera was an interesting look back at a band that was perhaps finding its feet as to where it wanted to go. Atlas Vending definitely looks forward.
Opening track, Pulse sets out the stall with its no nonsense, pounding drums, clashing guitars and Edkins’ almost PIL-like drone. Blind Youth Industrial Park confirms the album’s no compromise intent, with its immediate assault and battery, raining hailstones from the off.
Atlas Vending is the work of a band that has fully found its direction – headlong into a full on charge.
But, by the time we get to Hail Taxi, we know the album has really made its mark. A massive, behemoth, angry bastard, of a song. Yet, underneath all the venom, there’s a melody bursting out.
The quality noise bands – think Godeater, Neurosis – know that simply sawing at a guitar just doesn’t cut it. There’s a time and a place for that, but there has to be something more. And, we’d argue METZ have found that extra ingredient here.
For all the hardcore of this release, there’s a subtlety as well. It may be you need to give it a couple of spins to get the most out of it, but its worth it.
Album closer, A Boat To Drown In, is the perfect way to finish and kind of reminds us that this album does follow a course that starts with Pulse and closes with the inevitable snarl of: “I crashed through the pearly gates” trip we will all take one way or another.
METZ have shown their class on this album, steering a rocky road with a damn fine sense of navigation.
Atlas Vending is out now on Sub Pop Records.