Metz are an exquisitely scuzzy garage rock band with an irreverent sense of humour. In the week that a certain resurrected post-rock behemoth unveiled its first record in ten years, it’s hard not to be drawn to this raucous Toronto trio who hold no nostalgia for the time when 'you needed to have at least twelve members to even be considered a band in Canada. ... You’d go to a show and you might be the only person in the room who wasn’t playing an instrument.'
Instead Metz trade in refreshingly straight-forward, no-nonsense, balls-out noise rock, but nor are they about to start venerating the heroes of this genre. For example, they’re unimpressed by the prospect of recording with 'some curmudgeon in Chicago'. Perhaps so, but it’s clear they harbour a hefty wodge of that curmudgeon’s output in their record collections: Surfer Rosa, Dial ‘M’ for Motherfucker, Head, Goat, Liar, _At Action Park, In Utero,
Metz was recorded by Graham Walsh of Holy Fuck and Alexandre Bonenfant in an old barn with a portable recoding rig to capture a live sound. This technique has paid off. Rather than each instrument sounding meticulously distinct while contributing a noisy whole - the sound perfected by that Chicago-based grump - Metz operate more like a single instrument, an angry three-headed monster, a snarling, spitting, howling Cerberus.
Everything, including the vocals, is shrouded in warm fuzz. The more decipherable lyrics appear in the choruses and tend to be withering two- or three-word put-downs of (self?)scorn: “You’re wasted!”, “Get away!”, “Get off!”, “Fall down!”, “You got rats!”...
Like Jesus Lizard, the songs are scrupulously crafted, but performed in a way that gives the impression of a band hovering on the edge of a precipice, threatening to collapse into sheer oblivion at any moment. Metz don’t reach the same levels of unhinged menace that the Lizard managed; they sound more like they’re secretly relishing the thrill of making such a racket rather than suffering from some terrifying psychotic episode.
A couple of fairly abstract noise pieces - one in the middle and one at the end - may wish to act as respite and a comedown from the intensity of the roaring noise-rock, but these are not executed to full effect and really just get in the way of further grimy thrills.
Still, Metz make you sit up and prick up (your ears). Metz make you want to jump in the air and hurl yourself at the wall for no reason. Metz make you want to pick up a guitar, indiscriminately and frantically thrash at it until your hand bleeds, scream into its pick-ups and smash it over your own head. Metz make you want to quit your job, join a circus and then rob the circus. Metz make you want to overturn the nearest table and stamp triumphantly across the crockery debris. Metz make you want to swing from the ceiling, kicking the elaborate headdresses off the foreheads of excessive hipsters. Metz make you want to pull a sickie, book a holiday you can’t afford, get too drunk on the plane and accuse the other passengers of being the real rude ones. Metz make you want to throw earthy stones at the omnipresent LCD screens that we surround ourselves with and launch some kind of back-to-basics Rousseauian revolution. Metz make you want to rock and then roll and then rock a bit more. By the end of this album’s 30 boisterous minutes you’ll feel absolutely exhausted.
I imagine their live show is worth catching.
8J.R. Moores's Score