Toronto-based punk thrashers METZ played a packed show at The Good Will Social Club Jan. 18. The band’s most recent album, Strange Peace, reached number one on CJUM’s Loud charts the week of Jan. 8, and for good reason. The album offers the classic raucous METZ sound, with some well-placed soft and subtle moments in the middle of its chaos.
The performance at The Good Will Social Club allowed audiences to hear Strange Peace at its intended volume. A packed, hot Good Will is the perfect setting for an unbearably loud punk band to rip away on a Thursday night. About three songs into the set, Edkins encouraged some movement in the crowd, and from then on photographers were pushed over monitors onto the stage space while thirty people or so began moshing.
Strange Peace opens with “Mess of Wires,” which kicks right into an abrasive, gut-driven sound. The guitar and bass play in an attempt create some semblance of melody. Short arpeggio-like lifts in guitar act like a breath of fresh air between the suffocating barrage of chorus and verse. Shouts of “And it feels so long” break the song from its organized construction to a noisy, chaotic ending.
“Drained Lake” keeps the beats per minute steady, offering hardly a moment of rest between songs. It opens with a less familiar tinny and percussive sounding guitar. Heavy and hard snare hits punctuate each bar on beats two and four. The consistent vocal shouting over chugging guitar riffs pause only to let more noise through from each instrument.
The album has all the grit and anger that punk music is known for, plus an extra shade of noise. These guys keep things low and deep in tone, with heavy feeling, and pretty consistent in the punch-in-the-face beats per minute. Vocalist Alex Edkins sounds almost soft in comparison to the distorted electric tones of the guitar. He sounds like he is shouting, but shouting in a controlled way – which can make a big difference for listeners because Edkins’ angry vocals do not sound like they hurt.
The strong guitar and bass tones present throughout pull the listener into the album’s undercurrent of grunge, an undercurrent that is stronger when the band’s tempo slows. These guys manage to merge the classic heavy and slow sound of grunge with punk’s reputation for being infused with an angry energy.
The volume stays high through the rest of the album, though, on occasion, the bass and percussion separate from the guitar for moments of single-sound intensity. Between three musicians and four instruments (vocals included), these guys manage to create a variety of nuanced and pleasant sounds. The string instruments move between abrasive and loud to just textured and loud, causing a range of sensations at high volumes.
Overall, the album makes for a suitable listen for everyone, from casual grunge fans to hardcore and punk fans, merging the classic anger and abrasion of thrash punk with subtle tonal nuances.