Channeling Queens of The Stone Age groovy-ness, Melvin’s heaviness, and early Bad Brains’ raw sound, Metz is ready to kick the doors down with their new album, Strange Peace.
This Toronto based noise-rock band already has 2 other albums under it’s belt, each of which pack a punch of great severity and brutal honesty. The band finds themselves paired with Steve Albini, a producer who is held to a high standard for his work with Slint, Pixies, and Shellac. His very distinguishable production style is clear as day on Strange Peace, bringing the drums and bass to the forefront. From the get-go, this album is a hammer of groove and punk rawness that is not afraid to bash through anything in its way.
“Mess of Wires”, the album’s opening track, starts with who is presumably Steve Albini exclaiming to the band, “We are rolling,” letting the band know the tapes are ready for the music. The band then charges into a groove that pummels along with immense intensity. We encounter a very catchy chorus that introduces an interesting guitar lead, foreshadowing the inclusion of more earworm hooks that appear throughout the album. The album’s lead single, “Cellophane”, is filled with ultimate post-hardcore riffage while Alex Edkins belts out passionate vocals, as he always does. This song is Metz at its catchiest, with the refrain repeating over and over, “How will I know?”
Metz seems to be experimenting by adding layers to their music, much more than what you would hear on their first two albums. However, these don’t completely go over well for me. The track “Caterpillar” is centered around this relatively basic riff while Alex sings rather monotone for the majority of the track. Even though it is not intended to be, this track is almost like an interlude that has overstayed it’s welcome. Also, even though I enjoy the basic groove and guitar harmonics that are sprawled across the length of the track “Sink”, I feel the song itself finds itself to be too indulgent for its own good. It seems to not go anywhere during its nearly 4 minute duration. However, the album’s closer “Raw Materials” is as raw as can be. After a very pretty bridge in the latter half of the track, the song finds itself with an outro that is gritty, grimy, and purely unrelenting.
Overall, Metz came through with a solid album that showcases their urgency to build upon their distinct noisy sound. With Steve Albini, they do just that.
Album Review by Austin Peet