With a stellar debut album on the legendary Sub Pop label, highly positive reviews on blogs across the web and praise from notable peers like Arcade Fire, Toronto’s METZ are taking the Canadian scene by storm.
“We always followed [Sub Pop’s] catalogue, they’ve always put out good stuff. It was easy to see them as a dream-type label,” said Hayden Menzies, the band’s drummer and a Concordia graduate.
The label, known for launching groundbreaking bands such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, Low and Wolf Parade, was impressed by the band’s offerings and did not alter the trio’s work in the studio whatsoever.
“Because the record was already finished, it was being mastered and [Sub Pop] had no influence on re-recording it or re-writing it,” said Menzies. “They were 100 per cent behind us no matter what we did.”
METZ initially comes across as noise punk, but offers something unfamiliar in the structure of their sound that is somewhat fresh and associated with heavier music. The screeches, howls and screams of Alex Edkins’ voice and guitar are drenched over Chris Slorach’s awkward bass tone, complete with Menzies’ loud and furious drumming. The band’s punk rock songs would shatter the strongest of eardrums and bring forth something special in Canada’s revamped vibrant punk scene.
Though Menzies says the record contains “themes of pressure, paranoia and feeling suffocated a bit by what’s going around,” there isn’t a primary concept that defines the album as a whole.
“There’s no real underlying theme or anything. We write really natural; the three of us get together and write songs,” said Menzies. “The general idea was to write enough songs to fill the time an LP would require.”
METZ has amassed a huge following in very little time, and despite their short existence, they have become hugely popular on the West Coast. With an 8.5 rating courtesy of the always-entertaining Pitchfork, their debut album dazzles in the most ferocious way possible.
Menzies acknowledges taking it as it comes but puts the band’s happiness first.
“We had no grandiose plans for all of this, the three of us wanted to write music and asked ourselves ‘Are we happy with this? Are we happy enough to leave the practice space and play these songs live?’ That’s the only concern we ever have,” said Menzies. “The other stuff is great, it’s humbling, we feel really proud, but we kind of just roll with it. We kind of just work hard and rise to the occasion. We try to make sure we’re still having fun and doing it for the right reasons.”
Canada’s punk rock scene could be larger than ever right now, with emerging bands such as White Lung, Solids, and Young Mother. Toronto’s Fucked Up already have a Polaris Prize-winning album under their belt. Menzies shares the same sentiments as most musical pundits do about our overly talented country.
“Canada has a ton of greats bands coming out now, it always has,” said Menzies. “Now there’s more notice of stuff going on. Things go in a cyclical nature and it’s natural that it’s going to come back to a resurgence. I think Canada is in a great state, whether it’s in [punk] or not.”