I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering the Toronto-based punk trio and JOVM mainstays METZ throughout this site’s decade of existence. Atlas Vending, the JOVM mainstays’ fourth album was released earlier this month through their longtime label home Sub Pop Records.
The band’s three previously released album found the band thriving on an abrasive restlessness, but before they set to work on Atlas Vending, the Canadian punk trio set a goal for themselves and for the album: they intended 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.
The end result is an album 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.
Because of the cradle-to-grave narrative arch, the album’s material runs through a gamut of emotions and emotional states, starting off with the most rudimentary and simplistic sensations of childhood all the way to the increasingly nuanced and turbulent peaks and valleys of adulthood. Of course, as a result, the album finds the band tackling the inevitable — getting older in an industry seemingly suspending 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.”
So far I’ve written about four of the album’s released singles:
The album’s first single, album closing track “A Boat to Drown In,” which may be the most expansive and oceanic tracks of their entire catalog.
“Hail Taxi,” an explosive and deceptively prototypical METZ track that’s centered around a deeply adult sense of regret, as the song features a narrator, who desperately attempts to reconcile who they once were with what they’ve become;
“Blind Industrial Park,” a rapturous and euphoric ripper that’s an ode to the naivete of youth and the blissful freedom of being unburdened by the world surrounding you.
“Parasite,” a frenetic and pummeling ripper that they filmed at The Opera House in Toronto.
“Pulse,” Atlas Vending’s latest single is a furious roar, full of the sort of anxious and uncertain dread that has become our daily lives during the Trump Administration — and in the last few of days before a momentous, history altering election. Our lives at this very moment is desperate and urgent; we all feel this and know this, even if we are loathe to admit it.
Directed by Jeremy Gillespie, the recently released and murkily shot visual for “Pulse” follows a space suit wearing astronaut on a nightmarishly Sisphyean journey through a Brutalist world fitting the pummeling and forceful soundtrack.