Throughout the course of this site’s 10-plus year history, I’ve spilled a lot of virtual ink covering the Toronto-based punk trio and JOVM mainstays METZ. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the last couple of months, you might recall that he longtime JOVM mainstays fourth album Atlas Vending is slated for an October 9, 2020 release through their longtime label home Sub Pop Records.
Their previously released material found the band thriving on an abrasive relentlessness but before they set to work on Atlas Vending, the Canadian punk trio set a goal for themselves and for the album — that they were going to make a much more patient and honest album, an album that invited repeated listens rather than a few exhilarating mosh-pit friendly bludgeonings. Co-produced by Uniform’s Ben Greenberg and mastered by Seth Manchester at Pawtucket’s Machines with Magnets, the album finds the band crafting music for the long haul, with the hopes that their work could serve as a constant as they (and the listener) navigated life’s trials and tribulations.
Reportedly, the end result is an album’s worth of material that retains the massive sound that has won them attention and hearts across the world but while arguably being their most articulate, earnest and dynamic of their growing catalog. Thematically, the album covers disparate yet very adult themes: paternity, crushing social anxiety, addiction, isolation, media-induced paranoia and the restless urge to just say “Fuck this!” and leave it all behind. Much like its immediate predecessor, Altas Vending offers a snapshot of the the modern condition as they see it; however, each of the album’s ten songs were written to form a musical and narrative whole — with the album’s song sequencing following a cradle-to-grave trajectory.
Naturally, the album’s material runs through the gamut of emotions — from the most rudimentary and simplistic sensations of childhood to the increasingly nuanced and turbulent peaks and valleys of adulthood. And in some way, the album finds the back taking what’s inevitable for all of guys — getting older, especially in an industry seemingly suspended in perpetual youth. “Change is inevitable if you’re lucky,” METZ’s Alex Eadkins says of the band’s fourth album Atlas Vending. “Our goal is to remain in flux, to grow in a natural and gradual way. We’ve always been wary to not overthink or intellectualize the music we love but also not satisfied until we’ve accomplished something that pushes us forward.”
As it turns out, METZ’s currently mission is to faithfully mirror the inevitably painful struggles of adulthood while tapping into the conflicting relationship between rebellion and revelry — particular in a period of profound and seemingly unending bleakness. I’ve written about two of the album’s singles so far: “A Boat to Drown In,” the album closing track, which finds the band moving away from their long-held grunge influences and crafting one of the most expansive, oceanic tracks of their catalog — and “Hail Taxi,” a deceptive return to form centered around an aching and deeply adult sense of regret, as the song features a narrator, who attempts to reconcile who they once were and who they’ve become.
“Blind Youth Industrial Park,” Atlas Vending’s third and latest single is a rapturous and euphoric ripper done in true METZ style — enormous, rousingly anthemic hooks, Eadkins urgently howled vocals, pummeling drumming and towering feedback drenched power chords. But at its core, the song is an ode to the naivety of youth and the blissful freedom of being unburdened by the world around you with a novelist’s attention to psychological detail.
Directed by Dylan Pharazyn, the recently released and cinematically shot visual for “Blind Youth Industrial Park” was shot in Queenstown, New Zealand as is set in a dystopian and futuristic planet with futuristic technology that may be derived from aliens. We follow the videos protagonist Ayeth on a nomadic walk through an epic landscape with a severely wounded companion. The video’s protagonists are followed by an armed militia. “I started thinking of the feeling of war or samurai films, beautiful but dark and violent… but then I had this idea to work up a more unique world… I started to think of a more futuristic setting — more unusual and dream-like with the story set on a distant planet where there is future technology and some kind of alien magic… like a futuristic fable,” Pharazyn says of the new video. “I loved the idea of the hero Ayeth on this nomadic walk through an epic landscape… I loved the strength in her and the pairing of her with a wounded companion, something really human and vulnerable… I wanted that emotive warmth countering the cold military images.”