On the live circuit METZ have been Toronto’s best kept secret for a few years now, with show stealing support slots and finessing their pulsating live show in tiny venues across the city. Tonight is the launch party of the their self-titled Sub Pop debut which has already gained a lot of well deserved international praise. The venue is brimming over with anticipation and the trio receives a huge hometown welcome as soon as they walk onstage.
Full of energy, passion and angst, they smash through their songs at a blistering pace; they are much more aggressive live than they are on their recordings. Working with Holy Fuck’s Graham Walsh and Crystal Castles producer Alex Bonenfant, the trio reined in their sound, amping up the inherent hooks of their songs while ensuring that the noise isn’t present just for noise’s sake. Drummer Hayden Menzies attacks his kit with menacing fury. Bassist Chris Slorach pogoes rhythmically, even during moments of screeching feedback that fill the gaps between songs. And guitarist/vocalist Alex Edkins is like a man possessed, furiously hopping around the stage.
The lead single ‘Headache’ perfectly exemplifies the band’s sound. Delivering a raw power that has to be experienced live, the METZ sound has melodic riffs and lyrics to match. There’s a surface graininess that amplifies the corrosive qualities of the band’s sound not to mention the strep-throat rawness of Edkins’ voice. ‘Wasted’, with its slow intro, is deceptive as it smacks you with full force, while other tracks like ‘Rats’, ‘Nausea’, and ‘Sad Pricks’ provide a handy summation of Edkins’ bleak lyrical concerns, but that cynicism never weighs the intense set down.
Delivering “the longest set we’ve ever played” according to Edkins and manipulating the crowd to maximize dynamic impact, they come back onstage for the encore to be greeted by a sea of converse and dangling legs as the crowd began to let loose. Edkins, vibrating at a serious frequency at this stage, together with the rhythm section of Menzies and Slorach are thunderous, all moving in destructive tandem.
METZ still play as if they have everything to prove, and the crowd is more than happy to reciprocate with heated enthusiasm and no one is really sure what hit them. It is artfully rendered chaos. The trio are one of those rare bands that can balance the tightrope of noise and melody with aplomb, and their sound is a testament to raucous, live music. Now that they’ve got studio evidence and one of the biggest independent labels behind them they’re poised to take the world by storm. They will be rattling the walls of some bigger venues to come.