METZ: Up On Gravity Hill [Album Review]

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Up On Gravity Hill
Sub Pop Records [2024]

Album Overview: METZ, a Canadian punk trio, delivers their latest album Up On Gravity Hill, marking a significant evolution in their sound. Known for their earlier aggressive style, they now explore a more nuanced approach, blending abrasiveness with atmospheric elements. The band, consisting of guitarist/vocalist Alex Edkins, drummer Hayden Menzies, and bassist Chris Slorach, has been playing together for over a decade, honing their collective instincts and musical bond. You can hear that now veteran talent on this record as it really does build up from every record they have released since their self-titled debut in 2012.

Musical Style: Up On Gravity Hill showcases METZ’s dynamic range, blending elements of punk, post-punk, and atmospheric rock. The album explores spacious, sympathetic, and accessible compositions, occasionally bordering on pop sensibilities while still retaining their raw energy and intensity.

Evolution of Sound: From their earlier days of blowing out eardrums with joyous rage, METZ has evolved towards a more cinematic and emotionally intuitive approach. The album reflects the band’s maturation, incorporating elements of Edkins’ work as a scorer for film and television, as well as his solo project, Weird Nightmare, where he learned to write more intuitively.

Artists with Similar Fire: While METZ’s sound remains distinctive, fans of bands like Shellac, Protomartyr, and Pissed Jeans may find similarities in their raw energy, dynamic shifts, and exploration of atmospheric textures.

Pivotal Tracks: “No Reservation/Love Comes Crashing” sets the sonic and thematic tone for the album, blending dissonance with shimmering noise and introducing cinematic elements. “Entwined (Street Light Buzz)” is a charging throwback to Dischord punk bands, showcasing the band’s roots and influences. “Light Your Way Home” is the gorgeous closer featuring vocal contributions from Amber Webber of Black Mountain, confronting themes of absence and longing with emotional depth. It is a shoegaze wall of sound that finalizes METZ’s newer found genre bending dynamics.

Lyrical Strength: Up On Gravity Hill delves into themes of impermanence, love, and loss with poignant lyricism. Edkins’ lyrics are more direct and heart-on-sleeve than before, offering deeply emotional confessions and reflections on the choices that shape our lives. The album crackles with life and intensity despite its exploration of death, exemplifying the power of rock music to convey profound human experiences.

Atlas Vending (2020) / II (2015) / METZ (2012)

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Christopher Anthony

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