Sub Pop Records’ recent output trends toward rustic and unplugged, but METZ doesn’t care.
Diametrically opposed to the indie soft-rock of groups like Fleet Foxes and Head and the Heart, the Toronto band — which headlines Neumos Saturday — makes clear that as long as Seattle’s most iconic label exists, loud guitars will have the last word.
Formed in 2008, the trio exploded onto the scene this past fall with its self-titled debut, a thunderous wall-of-sound built on pile-driving rhythms, buzzsaw riffs and endless feedback.
It’s also a half-hour lightning round of punk-rock spot-the-influence. “Get Off,” all punchy drums and insistent shouts, recalls “In on the Kill Taker” by D.C. greats Fugazi. “Wet Blanket” conjures the trebly nervous energy of San Diego’s Hot Snakes. “Rats” evokes “Bleach”-era Nirvana; “Wasted,” shades of “In Utero.”
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Singer-guitarist Alex Edkins doesn’t mind the comparisons. “We think those bands are cool,” he says. Besides, “aggressive, noisy music has always been around.”
Yet it’s rarely sounded this massive — a feat made more remarkable considering METZ’s three-piece configuration.
As Edkins explains, he and his bandmates — bassist Chris Slorach and drummer Hayden Menzies — “get off on having this very basic setup, then blurring that fact by using noise and volume to make something big and original you wouldn’t expect out of three instruments.”
They’re succeeding. Six months since the LP’s release, METZ’s frighteningly heavy live shows continue to turn heads and, sometimes, stomachs. They’ve supported influential acts like Boston’s Mission of Burma and Vancouver’s NoMeansNo, and just returned from a U.K. tour with Seattle grunge grandfathers Mudhoney.
The punk elders’ seal of approval especially gratifies Edkins. “We wouldn’t have ever thought we’d play with such legendary bands,” he says. “They’ve never given a damn about what anyone else thinks, and meeting them — then seeing them in action — totally reinforces why we’re doing what we’re doing.”
Still, befitting his Canadian roots, the 32-year-old frontman looks back on his band’s big year with aw-shucks earnestness. “It makes us feel great when people come up and thank us for making this music, because it’s what’s natural for us. It’s what we grew up on, what we love, and what comes automatically when we turn the amps on.”
As METZ schemes its next move, Edkins is modest, yet confident. “Our goal had been to make a record we liked, and for people to hear it. Now that we’ve reached that, we just want to keep growing as a band, not letting anything interfere with our vision. As long as we’re uncompromising, nothing else matters.”