METZ – [Album]

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

One of the best habits that anyone who calls himself a “critic” can get into is to ignore all the hype which might be swirling around a band and just wait patiently for a new album to come out; it will prove definitively how much attention is actually deserved. That practice certainly served me well in METZ' case; the first time I heard about the band was from some scene-jumping hipster worm. He was singing the band's praises just loud enough that I was turned off, so I rejected all claims he made immediately. I held that viewpoint when all the “cool kids” were dropping the band's name around the conference center at North By Northeast for two years running. I waited for a new record to appear; if the band was really that good, it would smack me on the face and prove I should be paying attention. Finally, my advance copy of METZ' self-titled album arrived and I'm still trying to pick my jaw up off the floor, while also trying to get my mind to stop racing with excitement.

METZ is everything every supporter in the band's camp projected it would be and more; the album is a hardcore dream come true.

METZ will have listeners' interest piqued from the moment the band punches them in the head with the drum salvo which opens “Headache.” The grainy, slightly frayed and almost desperate sound of those drums is joined in a perfectly methodical manner by a torrent of furious guitars which only adds to the sense of chaos about the song before singer/guitarist Alex Edkins pushes the band, the album and anyone listening off all moorings and into METZ with the sound of his voice. The strains of post-punk, hardcore and even grunge manifest in this brilliant amalgam; the almost secondhand screeches of feedback, the crack of Edkins' voice and the spiralling sensation implied by the presentation sound directly descended from the DIY beginnings of each of those sounds and the sheer power of the performance here, and the results are line a mainlined shot of pure adrenaline. From this beginning, listeners aren't given the impression that anyone is coming back in the same condition they left, but it's going to be an epic ride.

After “Headache” sets the bar and tone for the album, METZ never allows their energy levels to dip and just rips through ten more slabs of the thickest, most ferocious hardcore with reckless abandon. After each track in succession too, listeners won't be able to deny that the band actually ups their own levels and further fleshes out a perfect assault; tracks like “Get Off,” “Sad Pricks,” “Knife In The Water,” “Nausea” [no, it's not a Germs cover –ed], “Wet Blanket” and “Wasted” all exceed expectations as the band rips itself apart for the sake of each song only to do it over again for the next. True, it's not always easy to pick out lyrics in the songs other than to note they're there (basic samples include “I can't see/ I hear you breathing and you're standing right in front of me” from “Headache,” “Don't wanna go” from “Sad Pricks” and “Fall down/ Fall down/ Fall down/ Fall down” from “Knife In The Water”) but the overall impression left by each is just so potent and hypnotic that listeners will still find themselves feeling as though each song was written both for and about them. Not in years has such a seemingly blind, confused and inchoate sound resonated so powerfully – even within someone (like me) who has never  had any introduction to the band before. METZ is just magnificent.


METZ – METZ – "Headache" – [mp3]


METZ' self-titled album will be released via Sub Pop Records on October 9, 2012. Pre-order it here on Amazon .

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