The latest full release from Metz is a heart-pounding explosion of noise rock. Atlas Vending takes the band a step up in evolution from 2019’s Automat. While its predecessor may have defined the sound of the band, this latest offering refines and focuses everything into a tightly crafted masterpiece.
The instrumentation for this album is heavy, the drums beat like a sledgehammer making its way through slabs of concrete. The guitars and bass feel like thick cable lines oscillating with great fervor, while the frontman Alex Edkins’ vocals smash through the mix with primal intensity.
The subject matter of these songs are more political in nature, which from the perils of our current social and political climate is almost unavoidable. Edkins addresses anxiety, loneliness and crippling addiction by way of slathering gritty textures and threads of tension in a whirlpool of anger.
Opener “Pulse” is a constant rhythmic beat down, with jarring percussion that restlessly throbs and grimy riffs that develop into an emerging panic attack. “Blind Youth Industrial Park” sets the pace for the rest of the album, with blistering movement without a moment of respite. “The words you say have lost the meaning / Can’t seem to find a way to hold on to something more”, Edkins cries to the youth of today, a youth that’s struggling to find its own direction.
While each track finds its own creative way to change up its noise profile, the volume and energy of these songs remain at a constant eleven. “The Mirror” is filled with unnerving sirens flailing behind the mix. “Sugar Pill” blisters on like a speed demon crashing through a spike-filled highway. “Parasite” is a hardcore mosh pit romp that hits the ground running and never slows down for a breath.
But for me its highlights are tracks where the band reaches out to different styles. “No Ceiling” takes on a more melodic note, in a song that celebrates finding a new passion or love–taking inspiration from old-school punk rock ala The Damned or Dookie-era Green Day. “Hail Taxi” is my favorite track of the LP. Composed of two opposite sections that overlap and weave together, The noisy verses collide with a chorus that has refreshingly bright riffs — a liberating feeling that isn’t quite seen in these 10 tracks, which serves as a silver lining from all the rabid aggression.
A well defined sound and the ability to diversify without compromising away from what works makes Atlas Vending a very satisfying listen. These are songs that will unnerve you, shake you to the core and pound every breath out of you, but you’ll keep coming back for more.