This album feels like a migraine attack straight away, and then it moves on from there. Yes, METZ, the noisy post-punk-and-beyond band that is every other noisy post-punk-and-beyond band’s favourite are back. But ‘Atlas Vending’ is far more than just a bludgeoning assault on the senses (though it is that), instead, it forms a gripping and intricate snapshot of a modern life. From the first incessant dial-tone smash of Hayden Menzies’ drums on opener ‘Pulse’, to the literal crash through the pearly gates on ‘A Boat To Drown In’, this covers all points in-between.
To say that an album ‘rewards’ multiple listens is sometimes just a nice way for people to say that it’s a bit difficult. But that’s not the case here, as it proves just as damned good the first time you play it as it is on the tenth. It is more that as more of Alex Edkins’ vocals emerge from the fog of noise, the interconnectedness of the tracks begin to make more sense and threads begin to form. There is a sense of a band determined to keep pushing forward, single-mindedly shedding previous identities and influences in an unending search for what METZ is, or can be. Sure, it doesn’t lose the band’s early hardcore and grunge-y tendencies, but more flavours are added throughout. There’s even a poppy (for them) love song of sorts, though as you’d imagine things soon go awry pretty quickly.
As the pace slows and quickens, the noise abates before threatening to dismantle your speakers, the record ebbs and flows just like life itself. As ominous in those softer moments as it is damaging and devastating when the noise returns, ‘Atlas Vending’ is the sound of a band fully confident in itself and delivering their biggest and best work yet.