METZ II gives you the middle finger in true rock fashion

METZ are a rock band  (I’ll leave it at rock for now)­ that just don’t care for boundaries. I like bands that don’t care for boundaries. Like marauders from a very different planet, they’ve come to this world to conquer us with an indefatigable strategy and a selection of overwhelming advanced technology. This album I’m writing about is just called II. Who do these guys think they are? I don’t know, but we need more of that in this world. The band also don’t believe in letter case either, they insist on everyone calling them METZ. You gotta love that as well.


METZ blast apart rock n roll with their screamer of an album METZ II, a grimy, gritty number that appropriates the very best of what rock has to offer.

This massive middle finger that this band gives to English teachers worldwide, is a theme that’s rubbed off in all other aspects. METZ, when it comes to music, flicks V signs at punk, does a wanking motion at alternative metal, and in Europe, walks down the street flicking the A­Ok sign at noise rock.

In fact, this band is so non­conformist, that they actually conform and combine all aspects of the biggest rock and punk genres from the last twenty years or so. In addition to the three above abused genres, they combine post­rock, grunge and alternative rock in some sort of grimey, gooey, flavourless mush. What METZ does is not exactly revolutionary, but it’s such a masterful cavalry charge at the guardsmen of genres that it warrants generous praise, especially in this age of endless Spider­man reboots.

To kick things off, let’s take a look at METZ II’s opening track, Acetate. I’ve heard the name before, but I’m not so sure what acetate is, but let me tell you that this is a bloody perfectly evocation of “the salt or ester of an acetic acid”. I mean, we’ve got the salt (or ester) of a grimey riff and cymbal bashing that begins the song, and we’ve also got the acetic acid part, which is most interesting.

After clocking around for a few spins, the riffs of the salt slowly cycle into an extended post­ rock interlude (the acetic acid). The band morphs into a math­rock group for a bit, with perfectly square beats lasting for a perfect amount of time (probably sixty bars, because that’s the lowest number divisible by one, two, three, four, five and six). This post­/math­rock part doesn’t last forever, because as soon as it’s over, the band reverts back into their dirty selves, and vocalist Alex Edkins continues his chemistry metaphors.

Grimeyness, acidity and all those dark, crusty sorts of ideas are exactly what METZ are all about. These boys are very much modern day Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, not in the sense that they’re teenagers, mutants, ninjas, turtles or subjects of Michael Bay’s atrocious direction, but in the way that they seemingly live in the sewers and were raised by a sensei rat father ­figure. Edkins gives a bloody good quote when he explains the ethos behind the band’s music making. “We try to maintain right on the verge of disaster, just tipping over. Right on the precipice,” Edkins told The Guardian’s Lanre Bakare in an interview earlier this year, “If you can smother a melody in noise and grit, to me, that’s perfect.”

That attitude is only further developed by the band’s insistence of incorporating their apparently amazing and very sweaty live presence into their recorded performances. In METZ II, you’ll hear bits of chat from the studio and inaccurate takes, for instance, coated in a generous lubrication of distortion, uneven engineering and mastering, and loads of feedback. Look at the song titles too;­ Acetate, Spit You Out, Zzyzx, Landfill, Eyes Peeled, Kicking a Can of Worms,­ they’re not riffing on the happiest bunch of ideas.

Anyway, let’s now do Nervous System, a song neatly sandwiched mid­list. Thinking about it now, it’s roughly the same as Acetate, but it’s wicked because it transitions into, no wanders off is probably more accurate,­ a weird instrumental bridge. A loop is seemingly made out of guitar feedback, and then that’s overlaid with drumming that seems really impatient to move on to the next section, and guitar strumming that sounds like the theme song to boring obligations. That all might sound a bit bad, but what’s really to be applauded here, is that METZ have so absolutely nailed all those concepts. That tiny section within Nervous System is a perfect microcosm in the way that that ending in Garden of Light by Isis matches the uplifting, love­ struck set of feelings.

I’m gonna round this out by bringing up Kicking a Can of Worms, METZ II’s final track. Kicking…, not surprising given that it is the last song, runs at about half the beats per minute of the rest of the album. It’s not a power ballad, but it almost might be considered such in the METZ world. This song sounds like something straight out of Sunn O))); big, thick riffing matched by a deep bass, and floor toms bashed as if they’re timpani. If I wanna get poetic, and I do, I could say that Kicking… broods like a vengeful nerd trapped in their own fantasies, their aghast victim having the hope against time as the hunter wades ashore, parting the mirky water with their tree trunk­ shaped thighs.

If you take these three songs in particular, you can see holistically METZ’s abilities and influences, as if they were a cut ­up sandwich. You can spot the punk, you can spot the noise rock, you can spot the alternative metal, you can spot industrial. I mean, you don’t have to listen to them, but I think they’re pretty bloody good.