Written by Mark Gurarie
Collaborations in music can be tricky, and as great as the rewards can be, the risks can be even more significant. A fan of either act only needs to cringe through that abysmal Lou Reed and Metallica album to understand the latter. However, when there is mutual admiration—sonic alignment and simpatico—what emerges is rare and, if not better, at least beyond its parts. That is certainly the case for “Come On Down,” the latest single from METZ, a post-hardcore trio from Toronto, Canada, who invited Joe Talbot of IDLES to sing on the track (left unfinished from sessions for Atlas Vending). While IDLES has rightfully emerged as a standard-bearer for politically conscious and heavy music, it’s important to note that METZ has been right there and loudly so. I will never forget desperately stuffing paper towels into my ear holes at a gig of theirs at Brooklyn’s Death by Audio in the early aughts. It didn’t work. They are still ringing.
Reminiscent of noisy forbearers like Shellac or Unwound, “Come On Down” blasts off with a snarl of guitars set against a fierce backbeat; it starts to scream immediately and refuses to ease. Enter Talbot shout-singing, “I’m not feeling myself today,” belying the pathos of the sentiment. Before long, a feeling of helplessness and frustration pervades: “I need help tyin’ my second shoe” sets against desperation for being “so self-secure, so pure.” Over the grind and grit of over-extended amps and triggered distortion pedals, a winding bassline, and the stabs of timely drum fills, this tension drives the song: loudly, proudly proclaiming self-doubt. METZ and Talbot strike gold by giving each other the space to flower, and what emerges is equal parts poignant, driving, sharp, and righteously loud.
For more METZ, you can listen to the B-side, “Heaven’s Gate”:
Mark Gurarie is a poet, writer, and musician from Northampton, Massachusetts. He has a solo project called MG & the TV and plays guitar and sings in the post-punk band Teen Driver.