Canadians are stereotyped as a humble people, always apologizing and inclined to mutual accommodation. That stereotype is destroyed by the frenetic four-minute opener “Acetate” on Toronto-based Metz’s sophomore record, II. The rest of the album offers no quarter. Its 10 track audio assault features heavy, down-tuned riffs, hardcore vocal shouting and proceedings that alternate between complex rhythm guitar patterns and well-executed noise-rock and effects.

The Metz style recalls the first album by Refused, whose new album is one of the most anticipated releases of this year. It’s a heavy, updated hardcore style recorded with modern production values, heavy bass and layer upon layer of guitar noise and effects. Hardcore kids call it “studiocore,” which they don’t necessarily think is a good thing, but it suits Metz. The past decade has seen a resurgence of this style, with bands like Cancer Bats, White Lung and Fucked Up all embracing the simplicity and rage of a bygone era. Melody is not a necessity and as long as you can slam out a five-minute pummeling of rhythm along the lines of “Nervous System” you’ll certainly find an audience. Vocalist Alex Edkins shows a brand new commitment to the sound, recalling Jello Biafra in 80s era Dead Kennedys. The influence is substantial.

“The Swimmer,” the second single on the record, begins with a muted fast drum and guitar pattern that quickly opens up to the whole frequency spectrum, giving it a volatile and deadly momentum. But if the album has one fault, it’s consistency. The goal post never seems to change, and except for the opening 25 seconds of “Kicking a Can of Worms,” the album doesn’t let up. The band had a single purpose in mind when it came time to record: do it fast and do it mean. The guitars and barrage of percussion accomplish this strict goal with an album that has no ballads.

How fitting that Metz should find a home on the legendary Sub Pop, the on again-off again label that built its reputation on risky endeavors, many of which paid off. Metz doesn’t break any new ground, but they make stomping, snarling hardcore tracks that demand to be heard.

II is a strong record that hardcore fans will likely get behind, but Metz isn’t bringing anything new to the table. Though it’s fast and polyrhythmic as it is, it seems short-sighted compared to its peers, and is fairly forgettable.

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