METZ – METZ II

Excitement used to be the true currency of rock and roll.

The raw-boned thrill of music played at volume with nothing held back;  Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Beatles, the Stones, Led Zeppelin, the Velvet Underground,  the Sex Pistols, Nirvana; musicians who incited a primal, feral response from audiences. We are currently going through a particularly barren spell for Rock music. Some commentators have already pronounced it dead and buried.

Others continue to wait, holding the view that these things go in cycles but twenty years have passed since that last truly exciting band to capture the public’s imagination had their day.  Nirvana were that band – since then Rock music has been in free-fall, the bland leading the bland. You don’t have to look very far to get a snapshot of where Rock music is at in 2015. Two of the biggest bands to emerge from this country in the last 10 years – The Script and Kodaline. Melodic, musical, technically accomplished, clean-cut, presentable. Nice. Zippo Rock. Perhaps if we look close enough we can trace the decline of Rock music back to the time when it began to elicit nothing more than a desire to whip out a lighter and hold it high in the air.

Canadian trio METZ don’t do Zippo rock. They don’t sound nice or presentable. But they are exciting. In fact, they pack more excitement in the first sixty seconds of opening track ‘Acetate’ than most bands manage in a lifetime. They make a furious, taut and explosive noise that hits you right in the gut. Is it Punk? Perhaps, but there is a little more to them than that. The guitars squall and buzz, with a little hint of early Sonic Youth. The Nirvana comparison is not without some foundation – any band that makes music that matches and even surpasses the intensity of In Utero warrants our attention; there are moments on this record when METZ do just that.

METZ II is (yes, you guessed it) their second album and from start to finish there is no let up, nowhere to hide. It is the logical follow-up to their scorching debut, another furious blast of punk rock that never degenerates into pastiche. Like a stirred hornets net, ‘The Swimmer’ explodes into life before ‘Spit You Out’ crashes in, to leave you breathless – the first three songs, a near perfect opening salvo. Sustaining that kind of momentum would be near impossible but Metz make a decent fist of it. ‘IOU’ and ‘Wait in Line’ burn with a similar intensity, while ‘Kicking a Can of Worms’ closes the album on a suitably searing note, the whole thing shivering and collapsing in on itself.

At a time when the music scene feels like it has stagnated to the point of no return, METZ have issued a rallying cry, a defiant statement that there is life in the old dog yet, that Rock music still retains the capacity to thrill and excite. Like last year’s debut from Perfect Pussy, it comes as almost a shock to hear music that sounds so stirringly alive, so on the edge.

METZ II is essential listening, the sound of the music of our youth rejuvenated and revived.

(4 / 5)