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Based out of Toronto, Canadian noise punk trio METZ formed in 2007, taking equal inspiration from the battered rock trappings of '90s grunge and the noisier side of shoegaze's textural guitars. The group play taut, angular melodies with turn-on-a-dime precision and muscular impact, hitting hard and letting the noisier side of their personality take center stage. The trio's raw, combative sound was well documented on their self-titled debut album in 2012, but subsequent efforts such as 2017's Strange Peace and 2020's Atlas Vending found them refining their noisy rapport while hitting even harder than before. METZ was formed in Ottawa, Ontario, in 2007 by guitarist/vocalist Alex Edkins and drummer Hayden Menzies, two longtime friends with similar tastes in edgy and uncompromising music. After a year of working on material, Edkins and Menzies moved to Toronto and expanded to a trio with the addition of bassist Chris Slorach. They knocked their sound into shape -- one that drew on wiry rhythms akin to the Jesus Lizard and fuzz-laden, high-volume production -- and released their first single, "Soft Whiteout" b/w "Lump Sums," through Toronto's independent We Are Busy Bodies label in 2009. After releasing two more singles and developing a reputation as a powerful live act, METZ sent a demo to Sub Pop Records, which signed the band to a record deal. Their first release for Sub Pop was a split single with Fresh Snow; on their side of the 7", METZ offered a cover of the song "Pig" by Sparklehorse. Their self-titled 2012 debut album was issued in October 2012, and the LP was met with enormous critical praise, earning them spots on worldwide tours of their own, as well as in support of legendary punk acts like Mission of Burma and Mudhoney. METZ kept a relatively low profile in the months leading up to the release of their second album; at this point, they were still working their day jobs rather than compromise with a larger audience in mind. Simply titled II, the sophomore effort was released in May 2015, and was followed by extensive touring, including a stop at the Levitation Festival (aka the Austin Psych Fest). The record also earned the band a spot on the Polaris Music Prize longlist. They issued a pair of split singles in 2016 with artists who influenced them: one with Mission of Burma; another with John Reis of Rocket from the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, and Hot Snakes. In 2017, METZ announced they would be releasing their third studio album. For Strange Peace, METZ turned to legendary engineer Steve Albini and his Electrical Audio studio in Chicago, where they recorded the album straight to tape. Preceded by the fierce lead single "Cellophane," Strange Peace arrived in September 2017, and the group supported the release with an international concert tour. In 2019, METZ collected their increasingly rare pre-Sub Pop releases on an anthology titled Automat. With Ben Greenberg of the Men and Uniform in the producer's chair, METZ made their way to Pawtucket, Rhode Island, for recording sessions at Machines with Magnets Studios. Released in October 2020, Atlas Vending was typically precise and uncompromising, a hart-hitting set that sounded more melodic but no less assaultive.
© Fred Thomas & Mark Deming /TiVo
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