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  • After the Shins hit it big, more and more releases on Sub Pop were geared toward Americana and acoustic folk. METZ is a different story. Recalling the early days of the Seattle label when grunge was thunderous and menacing, this Canadian group's debut is extra heavy. Recorded over the course of a week by Graham Walsh (Holy Fuck) and Alexandre Bonenfant in an old barn, METZ's self-titled album revisits the gut-thumping sludge of early Melvins and the abrasive scrawl of Jesus Lizard. Alex Edkins, Hayden Menzies, and Chris Slorach bash on their respective instruments, taking atonal to the extreme point of sounding like a guitar string being dragged down a chalkboard. Vocalist/guitarist Alex Edkins alternates from a razor-edged shriek in "Knife in the Water," to a snide Johnny Rotten shout in "Wet Blanket," and the assault of brown notes and harmonics in "The Mule" is sure to appeal to fans of Big Black or Unsane. It's a violent cacophony. However, there is a method to the madness. Relentless as the album may seem, under all the distorted howls there are some true dynamic shifts that divide songs into proper verse/chorus arrangements. So, you might get what sounds like a bass being repeatedly thrown to the ground in place of a guitar solo, but that said, there is structure buried in the noise. Never plodding, only one song breaks the four minute mark, and most are around the conventional punk length of two or three minutes. Because of the heavy distortion, it would be easy to confuse METZ for a metal band, in the way that you could with Pissed Jeans or Slug Guts, but really, the Toronto trio is just a ball of heavy genres, lumping together noise rock, post-punk, hardcore, no wave, or any style that might punish a pair of eardrums. ~ Jason Lymangrover
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