METZ with ELL V GORE and ROOMRUNNER at the Horseshoe (370 Queen West), Friday (October 12), doors 9 pm. $12-$15. HS, RT, SS. See listing.
Mention the name METZ to a clued-in Toronto music fan and they're likely to say two things: "Best band in the city!" closely followed by "When is their fucking album coming out?"
The local trio first appeared on the scene a few years ago, converting audiences with their so-loud-it-hurts live shows one blown-out eardrum at a time, all the while promising onstage and in interviews that their debut album would be ready "real soon."
"Yeah, those were mostly lies," laughs lead yelper/guitarist Alex Edkins over coffees and beers alongside bassist Chris Slorach and drummer Hayden Menzies. "We were working on the album. That was always true. But we were never in any particular rush."
The band released a series of limited-edition 7-inches, but in the absence of a proper album, their legend grew on the strength of their shows - a sludgy, twitchy gut punch as viscerally taxing for the band as for the audience.
"Oh, man, it's exhausting," says Slorach. "And we're not young guys."
"I've barfed after shows," adds Edkins. "I've nearly passed out."
The effort, it turns out, has been worth it. The band's demos eventually found their way into the hands of iconic Seattle label Sub Pop, which famously put out Nirvana's first album, Bleach, in 1989. Strangely, despite METZ's live reputation, Sub Pop signed them before ever seeing them play.
For all the talk of the band's volume and power, it's their recordings that got them to this point. And the surprise strength of their self-titled LP, finally out this week, is the serious hooks behind the noise, tension, dynamics and carefully controlled chaos.
They could've just recorded it live off the floor, but instead fleshed things out with Holy Fuck's Graham Walsh and Crystal Castles engineer Alex Bonefant, neither of whom are known for producing music as aggressive as METZ's. According to the band, it was a learning experience for everyone.
"It was a challenge, for sure, but it was an embraced challenge," says Menzies. "It was flattering to see how excited they were to jump on board with our aesthetic and experiment in the studio."
"We wanted to capture the energy of our live show, but we also just wanted it to sound good," says Slorach. "We didn't want to make a record that sounded like it was recorded in some guy's basement."