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Artist: METZ

Album: METZ

Label: Sub Pop

Review date: Oct. 9, 2012

Picture a big white wall of rock music-based noise. There is motion and activity behind it, actions you’ll never see but can only sense, because that wall is opaque. And that is the long and short of this writer’s take on the debut album from METZ, a Toronto trio given a gold star of sorts, via large indie label record contract, merely for showing up.

Perhaps a lack of fresh Canadian content drove Sub Pop to sign this band. And perhaps a lack of insight has driven at least one well-employed music critic to proclaim the METZ album one of the best records of 2012. One must wonder what else that man listened to this year. From my vantage point at Still Single, METZ has made a record at the very tip of the canon that’s fully interchangeable with just about any other noise rock band’s output, and that has been bested by at least a dozen records in the past 10 months, all of which do some variation on the same thing (windmilling guitar, pummeling rhythm section, indiscernible yelling of the same phrases over the top, over and over, all just to be heard over the din and scrape). In an interview with said writer, the band members recommend friend rock bands from their scene whose records I could barely get through, like The Soupcans. It feels like I’m in bizarro land, reading that sort of praise. If I can’t trust the tastes of the people making the music, what does that say about their music on its own?

Of course, you’re not me, and you’re not forcing yourself to get through three and a half crates of promo vinyl a week. You also might be younger, and haven’t been hit about the head and shoulders with this sort of edgy, down-picked rockarollapunkawallop for the past two decades and change. Thus begins the whole “well, why don’t you listen to [this band] or [this band]?” argument, a canard I am going to acknowledge and move away from. The generational divide looks terrible from this side, and really, the only way it can be broached is if younger people take an active interest in the past.

There is no kick inside this sound for someone like myself, and that’s all I can really say here. Clocking in at just under a half-hour long, METZ has made a record that fills every cubic centimeter of space with unrelenting noise, somewhat indebted to Fugazi in the magnetism bestowed upon the trio dynamic, but mitigated with a dunderheaded simplicity that favors the clashing chord and the indiscernible lyric nonsense belted out against it over innovation or the thrills that new ideas can bring. One could liken this sort of performance to the buffering in a streaming video, in that their songs extend time in an unpleasant manner. Thirty minutes of METZ feels more like hard work than fun playtimes, and the sameness of the venture underscores the futility of whatever it is they’re trying to accomplish, which falls somewhere between “artist defending bowel movement on a gallery floor” and “third demo tape by an up-and-coming new band.”

By Doug Mosurock

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