There was a time, in recent history, when you needed to have at least twelve members to even be considered a band in Canada. It was nearly impossible to tour if you didn’t have access to some kind of personnel carrier, and making a record involved several years of tambourine overdubs. You know there were kids out there who just wanted to get in a van and play loud as hell through an Ampeg stack or a four-piece drum kit, but how could you call it a band if you didn’t even know a French horn player? By 2008, band membership had reached a critical mass. You’d go to a show and you might be the only person in the room who wasn’t playing an instrument. Hard times.
Thankfully, there are always a few naturally resourceful people who refuse to be intimidated or excluded from making their own wild racket in public. Alex Edkins, Hayden Menzies and Chris Slorach have been around long enough to know that if you can’t fit it in the van, it’s not worth bringing. METZ play like one brutally heavy instrument with three heads, slashing heavy-gauge strings, bending guitar and bass necks in weird unison, along with what is probably the loudest drumming you’ve ever heard. It’s a return to everything that’s good about loud, ecstatic live music; a frantic nod to Nation of Ulysses, Shellac, The Pixies, The Jesus Lizard, and Public Image Ltd. at their most vicious, while still carving out some heavy new business. They play the instruments, the amps, and the room.
Over the last three-and-a-half years, METZ have slayed in basements, skate shops, clubs, and festivals, sharing stages with Mission of Burma, Death from Above 1979, Archers of Loaf, Mudhoney, Oneida, Constantines, and NoMeansNo. I’ve seen a hundred jaws drop within the first four measures of their set. I once saw Alexander Hacke from Einstuerzende Neubauten approach Chris and rave about his bass tone.
It’s a formidable task to try and capture such a powerful live band on record. Luckily, Graham Walsh (Holy Fuck) and Alexandre Bonenfant were more than up for it. Isolating the band in an old barn for a week with a portable recording rig, Walsh and Bonenfant were not only successful in documenting the unrelenting live force of the band, but they also managed to add some new and staggering sonic textures to the recording. Waves of organic feedback and fuzzed-out drones build the classic tension that eventually drops into each track’s relentless, dissonant pulse. And somehow, the raddest thing about it all is the songwriting. It’s not just riffs. It’s something that some heavy bands don’t get, but METZ do really well—and they do it collectively. It’s a hell of an experience, listening to this thing.
With this, their debut album, METZ articulate with deafening clarity, what we’ve all known for some time: The world of good music needs a new power trio, and this is it.