METZ isn’t a name you say to any old codger on the nine. Reason being, simply, is that rock ’n roll and your friendly neighborhood demons are and have always been in close business. The mere mention of 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• the trauma center, due to heart failure, or
- the streets, armed with picket fences and missives like “WHAT HAPPENED TO GOD?” or “THE DEVIL IS REAL & ALIVE & 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 their harmonious and climate-controlled lives, dissonance never takes the place of melody. METZ f*cks that up.
Why is METZ so divisive then? They’re the skateboarders nobody associated with in high school but remember because they stood out and away from the deluge of cultural bullsh*t. They are the new era of grunge and have been 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!)
But Strange Peace introduces a free radical to their track record, and clouds my once-polished perspective of the loudest band that’s ever contributed to my hearing loss. On their previous two LPs, dissonance took the stage. Even the intermission tracks in the middle, the “I need a water break” tracks like Nausea, relished in their capacity to disorient and displace the listener.
The opening track and third single from Strange Peace, “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. They’ve even composed harmonic vocals in nearly every song, which is a
But those sweet words don’t paint the whole cathedral. Dissonance is just as present here, and Alex Edkins still loves to hang his raspy voice on the same note. The motif on this album, however, is motif itself. Whereas 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 where it can sprout into a budding METZ ﬂower (which may explain the humble half-hour length of those LP’s), each track on Strange Peace has a distinctive theme, and these themes pulsate in tandem. As if METZ recognized the conﬁning characteristic of their niche in rock history and have decided to stretch their sound and thus their audience, like light musical goatse.
And the result, to a longtime fan of the band and noise rock in general, is a love-and-hate letter to the foundations of grunge. Every song 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 sh*t up, this album is not for you. But it is for you, because you deserve to set something on ﬁre for once.
By: Blane Worley