, October 24th, 2012 08:13
In this solipsistic cyberpunk present it's easy to miss the trees for the woods when assessing the current state of the musical climate. Things move at such velocity, while paradoxically going nowhere, that it's all too easy to say current guitar music is up shit creak sans paddle, as you know: "I haven't been bowled over by some undercooked grunge novelty for at least five minutes". Anything more than two days old isn't worth writing about if you follow the vicious logic demanded by the blogosphere and it's never ending, yet pleasurless quest, for new content. It's all a bit like being a junkie, but with the opioids swapped out for fresh Jamie xx remixes.
Yet take a step back from the inanities of the internet and it's fair to say that it's actually been a very good year for guitars on the tinnitus-inducing end of the scale. Off!, Toy, Dopebody, Savages, The Men, Ty Segall and others have all been doing very loud, and very good work. It's just that it's easy to lose track of it all amidst the constant digital static of comfortable beige demanding precious seconds of ever diminishing attention spans. Indeed it's the pervasive sense of mellow inoffensiveness amongst the more visible end of the musical left field that makes the loud angry stuff feel so refreshing, and even necessary.
Which brings us to Canadian three piece Metz, who've easily made one of the finest and most ferocious punk albums in years on this sledgehammer of a debut. Stylistically Metz are solidly post- hardcore with a healthy dash of noise rock, recalling the likes of Drive Like Jehu, the various musical offerings of curmudgeon-in-chief Steve Albini, and Nation of Ulysees, and in fact the similarities between the vocals of Ian Svenonius and Metz frontman Alex Edkings are uncanny.
Yet thankfully Metz are far more than a gaggle of cynical nostalgia merchants, lazily dipping toes into the post-hardcore past for cheap and cheerful credibility. This isn't another example of the stoned Garageband scribblings of a not very bright or creative American teenager, which has often been what's offered by the usual media suspects in lieu of the genuine punk rock article.
Instead Metz have done things the hard way, the DIY with a puritanical work ethic way; slowly developing their sound and repertoire through years of touring, and now they've recorded the product of all that hard work, proving that they're no cheap facsimile. Rather than just reading Our Band Could Be Your Life, they've lived it and the results are thrillingly vicarious, loud, and punishing. The whole thing clocks in at a concise 30 minutes, and the songwriting finds them just as economical. They've taken the dynamic structure of taut pop, hollowed it out, and replaced the innards with red needle, upset the neighbours abrasion. Its noise rock with the emphasis on the rock part, and the whole thing feels like righteous slap in the face to complacent and oversaturated senses.
Metz are a whirlwind of unrelenting intensity, proving that there's still plenty of life to be wrung from being a three piece band inventively shredding eardrums. It also shows that there's plenty of reward in doing things the slow methodical way, instead of hastily throwing together any old slapdash in order to placate the content mills. So why settle for comfortable beige when you could have something so much louder instead?