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METZ ROCK WITH SPEED AND FERVOR ON NEAR-PERFECT ‘STRANGE PLACE’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

It’s hard to believe that Strange Peace is only the third full-length record from the Canadian trio known as Metz. These noise rockers have been playing together since 2008 and have a live show that seemingly opens the space and time continuum with its intensity. Getting in the studio with legendary engineer Steve Albini pushes this album into near perfection, as their abrasive destructo-rock gets a finer sonic production touch, which makes all eleven tracks as close to perfect as it gets.

Alex Edkins and Chris Slorach, the two stringed men of Metz, pump enough energy and riffs into their songs that you’d swear it was sextet of mad men shredding simultaneously. Songs like “Mr. Plague”, “Mess of Wires”, and “Dig A Hole” are relentless with their speed and fervor and, properly expose the real MVP of the group, who happens to be drummer Hayden Menzies.

Opening song ”Raw Materials” gets wonky, sounding almost like Primus at times, as the record gives a six minute middle-finger of a welcome back track. “Lost in the Blank City” uses the power of tempo builds to erupt over and over, while “Cellophane” dials the intensity back to a classic punk chorus that serves as a palate cleanser.

The latter part of the album is where the ammonium nitrate is sprinkled in heavily with the songs and the explosive potential is greatly increased. “Mess of Wires” functions as a steamroller, fueled by perfect percussion ands serrated guitars, while “Mr. Plague” is an onslaught of speed and desperation. The true zenith of Strange Peace appears to be “Drained Lake”, which employs Nine Inch Nails tactics to accomplish an industrial sound that veers through surf-rock territory.

Metz has a habit of keeping their listeners waiting for new music, but when Strange Peace is the final product, the wait suddenly feels justified. The quality of songwriting on this album might not only be the best that Metz has ever done, but it’s also one of the better noise rock records of recent memory. Original, skull-shattering, and consistent are some solid attributes for a band that’s been around for a decade, yet feels like they are just getting started.

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