METZ: Atlas Vending (Sub Pop) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Tuesday, November 24th, 2020  

METZ

Atlas Vending

Sub Pop

Oct 08, 2020 Issue #67 - Phoebe Bridgers and Moses Sumney Bookmark and Share


Canadian noise trio METZ emerged from Steve Albini’s pressure cooker approach on 2017’s Strange Peace with every bit of Sturm und Drang intact. Self-producing this time out with an assist from Ben Greenberg (Algiers), vocalist/guitarist Alex Edkins’s voice is higher up in the mix on Atlas Vending and the sound returns to more of the intra-song dynamism of 2015’s sophomore album, II. The opening track “Pulse” builds from a low drone and slathers on layers of aural assaults as it goes. Perhaps a subtle shift from the prior album, here the group is decidedly not hemmed in.    

Further on, the album contains a love song in “No Ceiling” and maybe even a hint of backing vocals on “Blind Youth Industrial Park,” but is for all intents and purposes another bludgeoning affair. Any stray notes and momentary pauses only add to the tension and are quickly pulled back into the fray. Peak moments appear on tracks like “Hail Taxi” where Edkins collides with bassist Chris Slorach and drummer Hayden Menzies. The song has a verse/chorus structure, but its best moments appear in passages where tangles form only to unwind and find another route forward.

Later track, “Parasite” is brief but particularly brutal. It features the sound of an engine repeatedly failing to turn over, and when it finally does, the ride gets no easier. The short track makes way for the seven-minute closer “A Boat to Drown In,” which as the title implies, sails our heroes out on roiling seas. With an outtakes album last year, Automat, that could have slotted easily in their chronology, METZ continue to show that they are one of the most consistent artists out there in any genre. The expansiveness of the sonic palette on Atlas Vending just gives the band more room to paint outside the lines. (www.metzztem.com

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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