When METZ hit the scene in 2012 with their debut album they felt like a breath of fresh air. Sure they were doing nothing new but they were doing mighty things with tried and true rock n roll elements. Hardcore intensity, punk attitude, post-punk rhythms and jagged, visceral riffing were all turned up to eleven and it reaffirmed that the next generation still had a direct line to the good stuff, scratching deeper than the Green Day and Foo Fighters surface of the past two decades.
Now METZ have concocted another batch of very similar songs, delivered in the same manner, perhaps with even more ragged abandon, yet this time around it doesn’t quite have the same impact. Things start well with ‘Acetate’ and its grinding bass before it erupts into a hypnotic push and pull riff and rhythm. It falls somewhere between Jesus Lizard and Nirvana with a dash of Big Black’s mechanical feel thrown into the mix. A discordant riff spirals out of the driving noise while singer Alex Edkins howls the title with Cobain rawness. They pack more ideas into this one song than most of the rest of the album and it is close to the best track they’ve recorded. In contrast ‘IOU’ sounds like a pale imitation, tired vocal wailing and the sound of a band searching for a song. ‘Landfill’ is someone desperately trying to escape a sinking car, flailing and running out of air.
They round out the album with the comparatively slow crawl of ‘Kicking a Can of Worms’ which acts as a parting respite from the tension-wound rush and sonic brutality of what preceded it. The song has has a strong menacing tone, a desperate droning quality which goes some way to compensating for the sameness of much of the rest of the album as it dissolves into a scree of white noise and decaying distortion. II is a draining listening experience with too few highlights but one suspects the live performance of its songs will be the best way to experience them where volume, sweat and physicality can further enhance the music.