METZ Strange Peace gets 7/10

Metz
Strange Peace
Sub Pop/Inertia

7/10

Ottawa band, Metz return after a two year hiatus with Strange Peace. The Canadian indie punk act certainly don’t disappoint – they start as they mean to go on, musically grabbing you by the ears from the moment the first chord is struck.

It’s doubtful that even a neck brace or a nasty bout of whiplash could stop you from frantically nodding your head to their high energy and addictively paced tunes.

Metz deliver a sound superbly acquainted to the spirit of the Sub Pop label and could comfortably walk up and hold their own beside the likes of other Sub Pop heavy hitters like Mudhoney, Nirvana and Sonic Youth. It can be said this album might not be to everyone’s taste, but those who enjoy a gritty, lively punk sound should rush to put it in their ears.

Mess of Wires, the first track on the album, reaches out, slaps you about the face and pulls you eagerly into a driving, grinding punk-fueled engine of fast paced drumming and guitars, displaying an urgency that’s as exciting as it is intoxicating.

Drained Lake picks up where Mess of Wires left off, keeping the fast pace with an unrelenting energy. The guitars are laced with an enticing metallic sound that works wonders in creating an air of chaos and anticipation. Frontman Alex Edkins delivers a strong vocal performance that wouldn’t be out of place in any London punk venue of the 70s.

Cellophane delivers an unrelenting fuzzy punk feel with a determined tenacity akin to the likes of Queens of the Stone Age and Mudhoney, with vocals in the chorus that are mildly reminiscent to the early days of Supergrass and the indie movement of the 90s. This track would sound astounding, bouncing off the half pipe being accompanied by a cacophony of rail slides and ‘ollie’ pops.

After the first few fast paced tracks of the album, Caterpillar offers a long intro with diffused and detached vocals that offer some respite. The track slowly builds into a somewhat anticlimactic finish in comparison to the dynamics of the rest of the album. Without wanting to sound too brutal, don’t expect too much from this track, unless you can pour yourself into its artful expressionism and intriguing soundscape.

Like a rolling storm cloud of post-punk chaos, Lost in the Blank City delves back into the raw post punk sounds that Metz deliver so well. The angry bass cuts through the song like a chainsaw and the shrill guitar work fills your skull with a wanton desire for anarchy.

Without a doubt Mr Plague is the track to hear live. The psychedelic intro leads perfectly into an upbeat array of maniacal guitar work. The spirit of Sub Pop legends ring true through the band as they channel a youthfully defiant energy.

Sink opts for an alternate path to the rest of the album. Produced with a ‘home garage’ feel, it’s a sidestep from the faster pace of the rest of the album. The guitar harmonics make for the basis of the tune and the steady tempo of the drums lead you through the experimental guitar work and vocals.

Striking like the cobra from the album’s front cover, Common Trash injects you with its punk filled venom and drags you through a muddy indie punk adventure. Once again, the heavy fuzz of the bass and guitar is a delight to the ears as you sally forth through Metz’s unique sound.

Escalator Teeth has a great song title, but at 47 seconds long it only serves the purpose of being a sample track for the album or an extended intro for the next song; Dig a Hole.

Dig a Hole is where your punk feels are at! Another comparatively short track does everything in its power to hit hard and fast. It’ll quickly become apparent to anyone who hears this track that the band have enjoyed making this tireless riff and the way it mercilessly knocks you about like a pinball on steroids for the duration.

Closer Raw Materials and is one of the longest on the album, and it aggressively give you an extended hug goodbye. One of the album’s strongest songs, it has the makings of a classic for Metz fans. Half way into the song the band slowly build back into the riff reminiscent of the days of Sonic Youth, where time was never an issue when it comes to making a great tune. It’s a great way to leave you wanting more.

SIMON TUBEY

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