METZ (cassiopeia, 24/06/15)

by juicyfrog

loud. this was truly loud, i mean a real jump-up-and-down experience, probably the most head-splitting gig since APTBS‘, where the frog’s ears came closer to the soundwall limit. in fact, this very night was the first time the frog experienced a true punk delirium, not to say that it greatly enjoyed it.

as i arrived at cassiopeia that night, i was kind of late, for my attention had been distracted by some unexpected skate-board show in the neighbourhood. the pond is an amazing place: you pop up to expose your ears to high frequencies and enjoy instead a spectacle offered by rolling experts, which trousers reach their bottoms with difficulty.
so i was late, so i missed the opening band (Heads), but managed to worm my way easily to the crowd and to embrace the stage, comfortably positioned in the exact middle of the space.

three guys hail to the stage, and i am happy as larry as a friendly-face bespectacled guitarist start to strum a few terribly noisy notes. this is Alex Edkins, guitarist and singer of METZ, an amazing noise band from toronto. on his right, the bassist Chris Slorach shows a lightening smile and behind them appears Hayden Menzies on drums.

Photograph by Robby Reis

i let some refreshing beverage sooth my skate-boarding and (forthcoming punk) excitation, and notice that two long-haired-bearded toads in (very) tiny t-shirts take position on my flanks. my mind starts to vagabond, wondering whether these metal-like amphibians are not at the wrong address. but before i realise that it would appropriate to quit swiftly the comforting headland i’m setting on, Negative Space pierces the silence with hooting guitars and the toads –many long-haired ones, my goodness, where do they flock from?– begin a sudden and cheerful pogo, during which the frog’s bag and beer fly in the air.

with no surprise, the frog decides hastily to follow the movement and jumps in air to recover the beverage and pay tribute to the thunderous gig introduction. at the time of the bag repossession, the devil-possessed amphibians are already soaked and the frog goes wild with joy, rejoining the quietly-dancing animal bed. this marks the end of the flowery perfumed atmosphere but the very beginning of a crazy and thrilling evening –Negative Space being only a soft, jolting opening.

because if you may dispute the band’s lack of inspiration as far as album titles are concerned, i can tell you that the energy and the decibels spread by each one of their tunes will crush your brain to a pulp.

formed in 2008, METZ released their eponymous début album on Sub Pop in 2012, followed in 2015 by the soberly-named II, both produced by Holy Fuck‘s Mr. Graham Walsh. quickly pigeonholed as a punk rock band, METZ deliver a music which also springs from both the drone and post-hardcore scenes –it is straightforward and doesn’t lose time waffling on. some may argue that it is easy to play punk rock, but in truth, it isn’t elementary to play genuine art-punk noise rock. and this is precisely where Metz excel, at radiating ferocity and time-bomb melodies. both guitars seem to respond to some emergency state, the louder, the better. Slorach’s bass spits filthy drones that perforate your brain and entire body like a devilish electric hand drill, echoed by Edkins’ pernicious guitar.

the gig is a perfect exploration of METZ’s plain-spoken style. it is as short and damageable powerful as the forenamed albums. in fact, the shortness of the performance is a bit frustrating. songs are whizzed off, making it demanding to appreciate the show properly. it’s almost impossible to get your breath back. all the same, it is indeed very difficult to resist the impressive Knife in the Water, Wet Blanket or Rats, or any titles of Metz, and i somehow envy the toads who exult openly, letting their exuding bodies crush against each others. METZ’s sovereignty may precisely come from the immediate urge to play.

Negative Space
Knife in the Water
Get Off
Spit You Out
The Swimmer
Wait in Line
Kicking a Can of Worms
Nervous System
Dirty Shirt
Wet Blanket

METZ’s first album perspires the same in-your-face, quintessential sweat of Sub Pop bands. it spews up hysterical tones aiming at crumbling any existing sound limits. raw and deliberately loud, their sound is supported by the bleak and vociferating-contained voice of Alex Edkins, which sometimes vanishes for a while to leave a clear field to the furious but artfully frenzy provided by both the guitars and the demented drums. guitar riffs explode on the assault-like Headache or the quite simply staggering Acetate, which genuinely illustrates Edkins’ promise as II was about to be released:

We are not going to clean up our sound, we are not going to hire a big producer, we are not going to try to write a radio song.

as a matter of fact, METZ don’t produce radio songs, but if they actually did, we could eventually listen to the radio all day. would you still doubt of Metz’ proficiency, we invite you to train your ears with this KEXP session.
please play it loud and abandon the present reading to let your body breath.