LIVE REVIEW: METZ, My Disco, Low Life @ OAF, Sydney (10/02/16)

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Low Life ambled on stage and lurched into a 30 minute set of songs that swung from Black Flag punk to Bauhaus goth dirges, often within the same song. You got the feeling the songs could fall apart at any time yet the rhythm section was solid – allowing the guitars to dispatch primitive punk bar chords, heavily chorused textures and squalls of feedback. Low Life created a curious and often strangely captivating collision of sounds.

My Disco swung the pendulum about as far to the other side of the spectrum as possible. As their career has progressed, their music has evolved into a minimalist experiment in texture and impact. They stood silent and still for minutes before the first doom-laden explosion tested the PA’s limits. Notes were sparse and an avant-garde aesthetic was omnipresent through their set as the guitar sounded more like a modem in wood-chipper than a traditional distorted rock instrument. It was a dramatic and intense set that maintained the audience’s attention and did serve to build the musical tension in the room before Metz arrived to release it – but ultimately My Disco felt like the artful ugly duckling and a mismatch on this particular bill.

METZ came on like a dropped match in a fireworks factory after the stark austerity that preceded them. They’re a perfectly balanced trio, the sum strength of its punk rock parts. Over an hour they barely let up, with sweat-soaked shirts, fogged-up glasses and neck veins bulging. They unleashed wave after wave of primal military grade rhythms that were pummelling yet still with a measure of groove, that had the more energetic punters engaged in a loose-limbed middle ground between dancing and moshing. Spit You Out, Headache, a new song Eraser and so many others surged and thrashed like a mutant Nirvana, Jesus Lizard and Big Black hybrid. METZ laid sonic waste to the mid week malaise and renewed faith in the power of raw and passionate rock ’n’ roll.

Chris Familton

ALBUM REVIEW: METZ – II

Rating6.5metz-ii-900-300dpiWhen 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.

Chris Familton 

NEW MUSIC: METZ – Acetate

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We were big fans of the debut METZ album and from the sound of this first single ‘Acetate’ the new album (II) promises to be equally brutal and infectious. These guys play physical music that hits like a sledgehammer and hypnotises like a deviant snake charmer on speed. As their press release says:

 The guitars are titanic, the drums ill-tempered, the vocals chilling, and the volume worrisome.

The new album will be out May 5th via Sub Pop.

 

LIVE REVIEW: METZ @ Goodgod Small Club, Sydney (05/12/13)

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Batpiss kicked things off with a blistering set of punk rock riffs and barked/screamed vocals with rhythmic deviations and a melodic interplay between the guitar and bass elevating them above generic thrashers. One song dropped the BPM considerably, for part of it at least, with the resultant dark and doomy groove sounding like Earth and a sign that the band can match their live intensity and tight delivery with interesting dynamics.

TV Colours haven’t been around long yet they’ve quickly risen from underground acclaim to poking their noses over the barricades with their album Purple Skies, Toxic River starting to appear in end-of-year best-of lists. From what started as a one-man project, the full band showed they can deliver the music with a real confidence and they delivered a damn impressive set. From the uber-anthem Beverly to songs that started in one stylistic dimension and ended up in another they nailed the sonic and emotive desperation of the album with ease. The quartet mined Husker Du and Sonic Youth, Thin Lizzy riffs, new wave and post punk anxiety and jerky neurosis with frontman Robin Mukerjee leading the charge and from the audience enthusiasm it felt like we’d all witnessed an important moment in the rising star of TV Colours.

That left METZ with work to do if they wanted to claim headline honours and the relentlessly touring Canadian trio rose to the occasion superbly. A few songs into their industrial hardcore onslaught the Goodgod pit started building up momentum with bodies careening into one another in response to the band’s physical and deafening performance. There were old songs, sneak peaks of new songs, a cover of The Damned’s Neat, Neat Neat and a healthy slab of their self-titled album played. As a unit METZ are brutally tight and they never let up. The only hiccup of their set was a power outage onstage which momentarily halted their momentum. It mattered little though and seemed to galvanise band and punters to push even harder. They finished with an extended version of Wet Blanket that was the perfect summation of METZ as a live experience with sweat soaked musicians, neck-bulging screams, a pulverising rhythm section in full flight and audience members overflowing onto the stage and being lifted high into the lights and mirror ball on the ceiling with joyful exuberance.

Chris Familton

This review was first published in The Music

LIST: DS Top Albums of 2012

2012 TOP ALBUMS

2012 felt like somewhat of a mixed bag of musical lollies with our favourites encompassing americana, power pop, 80s synth, indie and many shades of psychedelia. The only thing that tied them all together was the strong streak of melody that each was built on. Even in the case of someone like Neil Young & Crazy Horse it was Young’s incredible weaving of musical notes on Old Black that made that record such a delight. Hopefully there will be a few surprises scattered across our list which will send you down another musical rabbit hole to find out if we are onto something… Hopefully we are.

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20-11

10-1

square-600-11Charlie Horse – I Hope I’m Not A Monster

square-600-16Deep Sea Arcade – Outlands

LOWER PLENTYLower Plenty – Hard Rubbish

square-600-15Dinosaur Jr – I Bet On Sky

square-600-13Lee Ranaldo – Between The Times & The Tides

UnknownNeil Young & Crazy Horse – Psychedelic Pill

square-600-17Lawrence Arabia – The Sparrow

square-600Lambchop – Mr. M

square-600-14Suzy Connolly – Night Larks

square-600-12Father John Misty – Dear Fun

ALBUM REVIEW: METZ | METZ

ds album reviews

by Chris Familton

square-600Star Rating DS 4Since the days when bands like Fugazi, Nirvana and Jesus Lizard ruled the underground of American rock, before death and hiatus cut them short, there’s been a relative sparsity of sonically like-minded bands taking up the mantle set by those and many other acts. Melvins are still carving a unique path and bands like Harvey Milk and Pissed Jeans are promising inheritors but on their debut self-titled LP three Canadians going under the name METZ are kicking out a new take on post-hardcore, industrial-grade punk rock.

At only thirty minutes long this is a pummeling and exhausting listen. Those are of course the type of qualities you want from this kind of music. It lurches and flails like a drunk bison yet it is concise and trimmed of all excess musical fat. Brilliantly recorded to feel live and in your face with needle-in-the-red intensity, the lack of studio sheen was a wise move with the end result more sonically akin to In Utero than Nevermind. All good trios succeed due to a well balanced mix of guitar, bass, drums and vocals. Nothing takes centre-stage, everything moves forward as one and that is where the glorious teeth-grinding tension originates. Whether it is the frantic strut of single Wet Blanket, the cavernous drums of Headache or the queasy dissonance of Nausea the trio are constantly contorting their music into tight riffs and energising rhythmic barrages while Alex Edkins variously castigates the speakers with his voice that staggers between a David Yow yowl and John Lydon rant.

METZ is a brutally endearing listen that knocks you about but it never outstays its welcome. Raw, concise and as much about the sound as the songs, this is the kind of music the world needs right now.