Review Summary: Don't let the name fool you, "Metz" isn't a complete disappointment...
Back in the late 80’s early 90’s, grunge (or the Seattle sound) was taking the country by storm. Leading this movement of heavily distorted guitars, contrasting song dynamics, and unkempt aesthetics were the Seattle “Big 4” of Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Nirvana. However like so many musicals fads before and after it, the movement has largely died out. Even though three of these four bands are still active, they command nowhere near the attention they once did. These days the genre lives on through small local bands playing the music they once held so dear. One of these bands, the Canadian trio Metz, have crafted an insanely catchy and very loud interpretation of grunge that mixes some new ideas with the best of old ideologies.
As soon as the record starts spinning, it’s evident that the trio is going for loud. From the production of the drums to the purposeful coalescing of guitar and bass to make it sound like one large instrument, to the screechy intros, outros, and interludes that the band utilizes, the album up until the last song (which is a drone instrumental) has very little dead space. This supposed chaos is for the most part well controlled and doesn’t have too many instances of mindless noise nor is the grunge-y-ness ever in question. Songs like the Nirvana clone “Wasted” and the single “Headache” are good examples of the controlled chaos this album captures. The vocals are just as loud as the instruments and also a tad distorted which gives off a Nirvana-esque feel sans the angst. This strict adherence to loud, fast paced grunge is both the record’s main drawing factor as well as its biggest turn off.
Guitarist/singer Alex Edkins, in an interview with the New Yorker said the band writes everything collaboratively, and very rarely do they separately write material. This is good on paper but the result is an album that sounds very similar throughout. Each song starts with either a simple drum beat or guitar riff and blasts off from there. This formula becomes obvious after the third song and Metz throws zero surprises at you. Most of the problems with the record in fact, stem from unoriginal songwriting and a seeming lack of ideas. The overall sound is different and there are some catchy original riffs but those are, from the get-go, flimsy attributes to base a record on.
Metz definitely have the energy and the drive to be a good grunge/post-punk band. One can tell by listening to this record how amazing these songs would sound live. The lack of diversity however is a worrying factor that hopefully will be remedied with subsequent releases. The catchy songwriting and execution of these songs is a good draw for fans and better stepping stone to bigger and better things. As long as the energy level is this high, the sky is the limit.