METZ isn’t a name you say to any old codger on the nine, the reason being that rock ‘n’ roll and your friendly neighborhood demons are and have always been in close business.
The mere mention of a Canadian hard rock band like METZ will send the general public and anybody over the age of 40 to one of two places: the trauma center, due to heart failure, or to the streets, armed with picket fences and missives like “What happened to God?” or “The devil is real and alive, and I don’t want my kids near it.”
Point is, my parents would ask about my mental health if they knew I listened to METZ. In the older generation’s harmonious and climate-controlled lives, dissonance never takes the place of melody. METZ f***s that up.
Why is METZ so divisive, then? Its members are the skateboarders nobody associated with in high school but get remembered because they stood out and away from the deluge of cultural bulls***.
METZ is ushering in a new era of grunge, and it has been doing so for some time. Grunge gone grungier. Aged, but none the wiser. I’d venture METZ is the golden standard of noise rock, but my opinions are worthless. Just ask my parents!
METZ’s latest album “Strange Peace” introduces a free radical to its track record, and clouds my once-polished perspective of the loudest band that’s ever contributed to my hearing loss. On the band’s previous two albums, dissonance took the stage. Even the intermission tracks in the middle; the “I need a water break” tracks like “Nausea” relished in its capacity to disorient and displace the listener.
The opening track from “Strange Peace,” called “Mess of Wires,” is some of that and something else, and it summarizes the album with its signature METZ ﬂair. Though I still wouldn’t tell my parents I listened to Canadian Satan himself, after hearing this song they’d be proud to know METZ has been taking night classes in melodic progressions.
But those sweet words don’t paint the whole cathedral. Dissonance is just as present here, and lead vocalist Alex Edkins still loves to hang his raspy voice on the same note.
The main motif for this album, however, is motif itself. METZ’s past albums have relied on the element of noise to carry the listener from side A to side B to out the window and into the neighbors’ yard (which may explain the humble half-hour length of those albums).
In contrast, each track on “Strange Peace” has a distinctive theme, and these themes pulsate in tandem. It’s as if METZ recognized the defining characteristic of its niche in rock history and have decided to expand its sound, and thus its audience.
The end result, to a longtime fan of the band and noise rock in general, is a love/hate letter to the foundations of grunge. Every song on “Strange Peace” is designed to make your head hurt and your body convulse.
If you’d like to set yourself apart from that repressed impulse to tear s*** up, this album is not for you. But it is for you, because you deserve to set something on ﬁre for once.
Blane Worley is a graduate student in mathematics writing on behalf of KSDB, Kansas State’s student-run radio station. The views and opinions expressed in this review are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian or KSDB. Please send comments to [email protected] and visit ksdbfm.org for more reviews.