Metz’s latest album, its second full-length simply titled II, charges out the gates with “Acetate,” another raging blast of Hardcore from a band that shows no signs of turning down the volume or intensity anytime soon. The Toronto trio hasn’t altered its fierce approach much since its 2012 self-titled debut. Kicking off II, frontman Alex Edkins immediately unspools the line, “She’s barely breathing,” as his corrosive guitar slashes through drummer Hayden Menzies’ furious pounding.
“I think whenever you put a guitar on and you crank up the volume, it just feels awesome,” Edkins recently told thequietus.com about the band’s thunderous sonic assault. “And I’ve always gotten that from live Punk music and Hardcore music or Noise music or whatever. That’s always been something that’s resonated with me. And we try to create that feeling for other people, that feeling when you first go and get introduced to this stuff.”
If anything, the new record’s 10 songs — nine, really, since “Zzyzx” is 36 seconds of filler — are even more aggressive and agitated than the debut’s offerings, which is saying something. The band comes off like In Utero-era Nirvana on fast-forward, or Fugazi at its immersive, air-raid-siren best.
Sneakily textured tunes like “Nervous System,” “Eyes Peeled” and “I.O.U.” engulf listeners in a tsunami of noise, as Edkins rages on in an often incomprehensible voice that struggles to emerge from the chaos around it. The effect is disorienting, oddly cleansing and never less than mood-altering.
• By the time one reaches “Enthroning the 4 Acts,” the final song on Canadian trio Crosss’ second album, Lo, it’s almost much too late. The unrelentingly odd vibe of the album’s first eight songs — which are marked by clanging Pysch Rock atmospherics and the pained vocals of frontman Andy March — is a psychic albatross that dares listeners to withstand its claustrophobic universe.
And then comes “4 Acts,” the album-closing climax that’s 18 minutes of eerie mood music that wouldn’t be out of place as the score of a horror movie written by Gollum.
“I like a song when it gives me a little shiver in my back, when the Kundalini writhes a little,” March told the blog Pyschadelicbaby (psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com) around the time the band’s 2013 debut, Obsidian Spectre, was released. “Nothing does that for me like classical Indian music or the sounds of the ’70s British Invasion, in all its incarnations. On a more intentional level, I’m blending Sabbath, Dog Day, Sleep, early Pink Floyd and a sound which I imagine as a Druidic sound, though no one knows what that would really be.”
While those touchstones are certainly present, Crosss comes off more like the soundtrack to a medieval torture chamber, concocting a sound of a band marching to its own demented visions.