Throughout the course of this site’s 11 year history, I’ve spilled copious amount of virtual ink covering Toronto-based punk trio and JOVM mainstays METZ. The JOVM mainstays’ fourth album, last year’s Atlas Vending found the band setting a goal for themselves and for the album before they set to work on it: they wanted 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 sees the band attempting to intentionally craft music for the long haul, with the hopes that their work could serve as a constant as they — and their fans — navigated through life’s trials, tribulations and victories.
Sonically, Atlas Vending sees the band retaining the massive sound that has won them attention and fans across the world — but while arguably being their most articulate, earnest and dynamic of their growing catalog. Thematically, the album touches upon disparate yet very adult themes: paternity, crushing social anxiety, addiction, isolation, media-inducing paranoia and the restless urge to stop everything and 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, what makes Atlas Vending different is that each of its ten songs were written to form musical and narrative whole with the album’s songs following a cradle-to-grave trajectory.
As a result, the album’s material emotionally runs through a gamut of emotions — from the most rudimentary and simple of adulthood to the increasingly nuanced and turbulent peaks and valleys of adulthood. So in some way, the album finds the band tackling what’s inevitable for all of us: getting older, especially in an industry 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.”
METZ have developed and furthered a reputation as purveyors of abrasive melodicism and one of the planet’s most bombastic, contemporary live acts through relentless touring across the globe throughout both this site’s history and their history. Determined to connect with their fans and to find a way within the confines of the pandemic to create a live experience as dynamic as Atlas Vending, the members of the Canadian JOVM mainstays took the stage at Toronto’s Opera House in October 2020 to livestream their latest album in its entirety. Today, the band announced the official release of the live show, Live at the Opera House recorded by longtime collaborator Graham Walsh and mixed by Seth Manchester through all the digital service providers with bundles at Bandcamp and Sub Pop’s Mega Mart that include the full concert film, directed by the band’s longtime video collaborator Scott Cudmore.
There’s also a pre-order for a limited 1,000 piece vinyl pressing on tricolor (Black/White/Oxblood), which also includes a download of the full concert film. The LP can be ordered through megamart.subpop.com, METZ’s merch store, and Bandcamp, and will be available November 5th in select independent retailers in North America.
Now, as may remember I wrote about Live at the Opera House single “A Boat to Drown In,” which was also coincidentally, Atlas Vending’s first official single. While continuing the band’s long-held reputation for crafting enormous, aural assaults centered around layers of distortion pedaled power chords, thunderous drumming mosh pit friendly hooks and chorus, and Eadkins’ howled vocals, “A Boat to Drown In” also finds the trio subtly moving away from their grunge influences with the song possessing an oceanic heft.
“Pulse” is a seething and furious roar, full of the anxious and uncertain dread and that has become a part of our daily lives since the Trump Administration — and has continued through a deadly pandemic that has put most of our lives in disarray. The live footage finds the band delivering a blistering and forceful performance that’s shot with an intimate yet cinematic aplomb.