Though Toronto's METZ are still generating caterwauling hurricanes of sound, these days, primary lyricist/guitarist/young dad Alex Edkins is fixated on the tension that lies within the eye of the storm. Strange Peace is wholly informed by change, whether it's band members' impending fatherhood, an imposter winning the White House or the conscious sense that something seismic has shifted within society generally, altering our collective selves.
With the aid of his friends Chris Slorach and Hayden Menzies, who make up METZ's colossal rhythm section, Edkins and his guitar have never sounded so cunning, confrontational and, yet, so compellingly uncertain. He reminds himself that he has a voice to speak out with ("Mess of Wires") but also wonders who he even is ("Drained Lake"). He love and hates Toronto ("Lost in the Blank City") and views social media as a disdainful addiction (the hypnotic "Sink") but he's not pointing fingers; he's examining himself and his relation to these things.
The starkness of such observations is bolstered by Steve Albini, who engineered the sessions. And while the band challenge themselves, occasionally blindsiding fans too ("Caterpillar" is a demo that only features Edkins), there's also a reassuring aspect to the calm confidence of METZ here, though they find themselves in a lost world. (Royal Mountain/Sub Pop)