Hinting nothing's changed much by naming their second album II, METZ demonstrate quickly that the intense touring the band undertook after their debut album has paid off. II not only succeeds in being a leaner and sharper improvement on its predecessor, but it also manages to bottle up the explosive energy found in the band's live show; save for a quick moment to breathe with "Zzyzx," II does not let up. The meld of crushing noise and melody is still potent, and while the production has yet to depart from the previous album's sound, there are twists and turns amidst the bleakness and a growing willingness to experiment with the blueprint. Album closer "Kicking a Can of Worms" evokes knotty psychedelia with its twisted guitar chords and sheer volume, and the discordant solo in the otherwise hooky "Spit You Out" is the equivalent of taking a key to a brand new car.
II possesses the thrills of the original but boasts a few new subtle differences to mark itself as a worthy sequel. It's a bleak listen, but there's something comforting about hearing three musicians playing punishing music as a complete unit, knowing there are few that could do it like them. (Sub Pop)