Post-hardcore throwback Metz unloads sophomore thump
Metz spent five years solidifying a reputation as a must-see live band before it ever got around to releasing a full-length record. That lengthy gestation period (which included a handful of seven-inches) eventually produced a self-titled debut that perfectly captured the trio’s whirlwind live show while also showcasing a clinical and precise approach to punk, post-hardcore and noise rock. That album ruled, and Metz didn’t make any drastic changes on sophomore effort II, because why would you?
The Jesus Lizard and Drive Like Jehu comparisons that popped up in reviews of Metz are still applicable here. Leadoff track “Acetate” is buoyed by a bass line that’s repetitive enough to propel it, but tricky enough to throw you off every time it doesn’t resolve the way you think it’s going to. Alex Edkins screams, snarls and sneers, while the rhythm section pushes the air out of the room and his guitar slices through the vacuum with staccato barbs. There’s plenty of noise-mongering to let you know that the band’s art-rock tendencies haven’t gone anywhere. And just like on the first record, there are no wasted gestures on the second one. The 10 tracks on Metz clocked in at less than 30 minutes, while the 10 on II sit right at half an hour.
But the early grunge influences are a little closer to the forefront this time around. II is looser and fuzzier than its predecessor, with tracks like “The Swimmer” and “Spit You Out” sporting anthemic shout-along choruses that might’ve had a shot at radio 25 years ago. Instead, we’ll have to settle with those being standout tracks on one of 2015’s standout records.