Music

METZ: II

Photo: David Waldman

METZ are a caustic antidote for a cynical world, and II burns even better going down than their defining first album.


METZ

II

Label: Sub Pop
US Release Date: 2015-05-05
UK Release Date: 2015-05-04
Label Website
Artist Website
Amazon
iTunes

“We’re all moving backwards,” spits “Acetate”, the blistering first shot fired on METZ’s aptly titled second album, II. “Every day repeated / There’s nothing left to do.” If one were only paying attention to his lines, singer/guitarist Alex Edkins might sound weary, at the end of his rope. The lyric sheet on its own might even paint a good portion of II into a lethargic corner. While the pessimistic streak that singer/guitarist Alex Edkins has acknowledged sometimes rears its head in his words, METZ are hardly defeatists. On II, Edkins howls about the dying of the light, while he, bassist Chris Slorach, and drummer Hayden Menzies, all rage against it.

It is a curious continuity that there are two people sleeping in a place they probably shouldn't depicted on the cover of II, where there was but one on METZ’s debut. Are these guys all narcoleptics, or are they just utterly spent? Either way, II is a brutal response, as if Touch and Go Records’ classic Nirvana and the Jesus Lizard split 7” was tossed into a smelter, recast as a hand grenade, and lobbed at the impassivity of modern society. Edkins doesn’t keep a long hit list of the usual targets, though. His polemics can be wielded at any time against anyone, even himself, as in the opening lines of “Eyes Peeled”: “I’m not in love with / With who I am”.

METZ are a caustic antidote for a cynical world, and II burns even better going down than their defining first album. Edkins has noted that it was important to block out the pressure of expectation when it came time to write the record, and II does find the band more often playing to their strengths than looking for ways to expand their horizons. They didn’t go out and drop a bunch of cash on loading up their pedal boards, and there are no forays into crossover genres or dabbling with electronic sounds. METZ have circled the wagons and dug in for a nasty shootout.

That isn’t to say that II is self-limiting, or that they aren’t making progress as songwriters or musicians. They spent a considerable amount of time longer than most young bands would playing shows and touring before releasing METZ, and after touring so consistently in support of that debut since then, Edkins, Slorach and Menzies sound more naturally locked in with one another than ever. That they declare II to be “sloppier” than its predecessor perhaps goes mostly to show how skewed their idea of what qualifies as “sloppy” has become.

It is arguable that METZ made a habit of pulling off a lot more stop-on-a-dime moves on songs like “Rats” and “Sad Pricks”, while II doesn’t seem as bothered with showmanship or overt displays of technical prowess. Still, Menzies’ drumming is rarely ever less than lacerating, especially in places like the back-to-back demolition derby of “IOU” and “Landfill”. Reciprocating in kind, the focused onslaught of Slorach’s bass and Edkins’ guitar doesn’t often pause for breath.

Patience sounds less like a virtue and more like a vice on “Wait in Line”, perhaps the clearest collision of Edkins’ pessimistic streak with the inevitability of having to get on with things either way. “I’m waiting for the second chance,” he snarls, “I’m waiting for the ambulance, again”. If there’s no second chance, if and when the end does come, it’ll likely be somewhere entirely mundane: “I’m waiting for the sky to fall / I’m waiting in a shopping mall, with you”. Edkins could be equating the experiences of the world coming to an end and the endless boredom of waiting in a mall, or he could be illustrating the tragic possibility that, if life as we know it were to all come crashing down right now, a hell of a lot of people would meet their maker in a Walmart parking lot.

“Spit You Out” might be the one notable concession to slowing things down enough to give the titular shout-along chorus a fighting chance, and it is a standout for it, easily the best chance II has of getting any airplay (not that that matters anymore). As with debut highlights like “Get Off” and “Wet Blanket”, METZ have a way with grabbing an earworm garage rock hook, force-feeding it amphetamines, and making it stay up all night reading Kierkegaard and Camus. Their atypical hardcore weaves between math rock precision and dirty grunge riffs, conflicted about both embracing simple pleasures and getting mired in existential angst, and II is the internal fight sprung to searing, spectacular life.

8


Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Music

How Hawkwind's First Voyage Helped Spearhead Space Rock 50 Years Ago

Hawkwind's 1970 debut opened the door to rock's collective sonic possibilities, something that connected them tenuously to punk, dance, metal, and noise.

Books

Graphic Novel 'Cuisine Chinoise' Is a Feast for the Eyes and the Mind

Lush art and dark, cryptic fables permeate Zao Dao's stunning graphic novel, Cuisine Chinoise.

Music

Alanis Morissette's 'Such Pretty Forks in the Road' Is a Quest for Validation

Alanis Morissette's Such Pretty Forks in the Road is an exposition of dolorous truths, revelatory in its unmasking of imperfection.

Music

Hip-Hop's Raashan Ahmad Talks About His Place in 'The Sun'

On his latest work,The Sun, rapper Raashan Ahmad brings his irrepressible charisma to this set of Afrobeat-influenced hip-hop.

Music

Between the Buried and Me's Baby Pictures Star in 'The Silent Circus'

The Silent Circus shows Between the Buried and Me developing towards the progressive metal titans they would eventually become.

Music

The Chad Taylor Trio Get Funky and Fiery on 'The Daily Biological'

A nimble jazz power trio of drums, tenor sax, and piano, the Chad Taylor Trio is free and fun, funky and fiery on The Daily Biological.

Music

Vistas' 'Everything Changes in the End' Is Catchy and Fun Guitar Rock

Vistas' debut, Everything Changes in the End, features bright rock music that pulls influences from power-pop and indie rock.

Film

In Amy Seimetz's 'She Dies Tomorrow', Death Is Neither Delusion Nor Denial

Amy Seimetz's She Dies Tomorrow makes one wonder, is it possible for cinema to authentically convey a dream, or like death, is it something beyond our control?

Music

Maestro Gamin and Aeks' Latest EP Delivers LA Hip-Hop Cool (premiere + interview)

MaestroAeks' Sapodigo is a collection of blunted hip-hop tunes, sometimes nudging a fulsome boom-bap and other times trading on laid-back, mellow grooves.

Music

Soul Blues' Sugaray Rayford Delivers a "Homemade Disaster" (premiere + Q&A)

What was going to be a year of touring and building Sugaray Rayford's fanbase has turned into a year of staying home and reaching out to fans from his Arizona home.

Music

Titan to Tachyons' Experimental Heaviness on Full Display via "Earth, And Squidless" (premiere)

Featuring current members of Imperial Triumphant, Titan to Tachyons break incredible new ground in the realm of heavy music.

Music

Jerry Leger Teams with Moby Grape's Don Stevenson for "Halfway 'Til Gone" (premiere)

Reminiscent of Lee Hazlewood and the Everly Brothers, Jerry Leger's "Halfway 'Til Gone" is available on all streaming platforms on 6 August.

Music

The 10 Best Experimental Albums of 2015

Music of all kinds are tending toward a consciously experimental direction. Maybe we’re finally getting through to them.

Books

John Lewis, C.T. Vivian, and Their Fellow Freedom Riders Are Celebrated in 'Breach of Peace'

John Lewis and C.T. Vivian were titans of the Civil Rights struggle, but they are far from alone in fighting for change. Eric Etheridge's masterful then-and-now project, Breach of Peace, tells the stories of many of the Freedom Riders.

Music

Unwed Sailor's Johnathon Ford Discusses Their New Album and 20 Years of Music

Johnathon Ford has overseen Unwed Sailor for more than 20 years. The veteran musician shows no sign of letting up with the latest opus, Look Alive.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Jazz Trombonist Nick Finzer Creates a 'Cast of Characters'

Jazz trombonist Nick Finzer shines with his compositions on this mainstream jazz sextet release, Cast of Characters.

Music

Datura4 Travel Blues-Rock Roads on 'West Coast Highway Cosmic'

Australian rockers Datura4 take inspiration from the never-ending coastal landscape of their home country to deliver a well-grounded album between blues, hard rock, and psychedelia.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.