Essential New Music: METZ’s “Strange Peace”

Over the years, these Toronto darlings have been compared to the concrete (punk, hardcore, noise rock, grunge) and likened to the abstract (“a transfer of energy,” “a punishing, exhilarating thing”). What you can take from all this multidirectional hubbub and complication is that this trio is a noisy rock band—as opposed to strict noise rock mind—that possesses an edge that no one can agree upon. Strange Peace, METZ’s third full-length, is the album that congeals all those sounds, attitudes and references (misnomers as they may or may not be) into a singular slab. Minus interludes and meandering artsy filler, many of the 11 tracks take fine-grain sandpaper to noise rock’s jagged edges. In the case of “Mr. Plague,” “Dig A Hole” and “Common Trash,” an unlikely mix of Bleach-era Nirvana, ’77 punk, Killdozer’s scurrilousness and ’60s vocal/harmonies rests a wall of noise on a solid melodic foundation, whereas “Cellophane” is the band’s crowning achievement, sounding like the result of Unsane crashing the Halifax Pop Explosion.

Kevin Stewart-Panko