Time flies when you are getting pounded by an arsenal of brutal post punk that over the last eight years METZ has delivered album after album after album. Atlas Vending is the Canadian groups fourth LP of all new material and I will be honest – the album hits you like a ton of bricks from 10 stories high!
From the opening track “Pulse,” the band creates this drone and kick pattern that rolls through your veins as singer Alex Edkins questions “Is there something out there? Step outside.” Then all hell breaks loose for a controlled second as the track highlights the paranoia of not knowing and in COVID – the scariness of isolation. It is this type of intensity that METZ has always brought to the studio but Atlas Vending takes it to another level with songwriting and musicianship.
On earlier records, it would be nothing for METZ to give you ripper after ripper but here the band finds a catchy balance between aggression and dreams. “Blind Youth Industrial Park” is a prime example, as it has some of the most visceral drumming but also escapes back into a quieter and floating chorus. Later in the album on “Framed By The Comet’s Tail,” you can hear a more mature, diverse and progressive METZ as the song dwells lyrically on growing up in a cold environment while the music is more dark and gloomy than explosive. This style of post punk is newer for METZ but they shine with another dimension added to their soundscape.
METZ have not lost one ounce of the brutality they can inflict on your ears here but it would be easy for this band’s pilot light to go out after several albums on the same plain. Their adventurous steps into tweaking the tempos works in their favor on Atlas Vending. The new swirl of noise they have created keeps you on the edge to hear what is coming next and makes it easy to hit replay. Most of all, their power and drive is still in tact as Atlas Vending may be the sharpest album the band has released to date!
Key Tracks: “Blind Youth Industrial Park” / “Hail Taxi” / “The Mirror”
Artists With Similar Fire: Idles / Polvo / Osees
-Reviewed by Thomas Wilde