Atlas Vending avoids the pitfalls and trappings of stagnation while continuously pushing against the rigid confines of expectation.
The Toronto trio of Alex Edkins (vocals/guitar), Hayden Menzies (drums) and Chris Slorach (bass) has been crafting sonic solar flares for over a decade as METZ. Though some may dismissively lump the band’s bombastic guitar-based sound under the noise-rock umbrella, upon closer inspection, METZ pull from many disparate genres across several decades of music. One need only examine their curated playlist on Spotify, aptly titled METZ nuggetz, for an example of their influences. Their fourth full-length, Atlas Vending, manages to avoid the pitfalls and trappings of stagnation while continuously pushing against the rigid confines of expectation.
Listening to Atlas Vending is akin to watching a multistage rocket being launched into space. First, there’s the powered ascent of “Pulse”, which begins its climb slowly with single notes before it explodes and burns until its propellants are exhausted. Then, “Blind Youth Industrial Park” ignites and separates like the second stage, carrying the album’s payload into orbit as the first stage falls back into the atmosphere. These dynamic shifts allow for moments of omnipotence followed by transcendent weightlessness, as exemplified by the extended instrumental outro on the final track, “A Boat To Drown In”.
METZ has always been a band of uncompromising vision. Atlas Vending is less a departure than a continuation of the trajectory they have been on since their initial run of singles. The album is instantly recognizable as METZ but still manages to seem as if the band is reaching for that next rung, climbing towards some indeterminate fate. Their sound, as well as their visuals, feel like a warped reflection of the times we live in. Atlas Vending is the soundtrack to a not-so-far-off dystopian future, one that’s beckoning us forward with a kind of gravitational pull that’s impossible to resist.