Who are the loudest band you’ve ever seen? Mogwai are famous for it, Leftfield showed that you don’t have to be a rock band to turn the volume right up, and at a Metz show last year myself we were forced not just to retreat to the back of the room, but to use our headphones as makeshift ear plugs!
Officially, the loudest band of all time are Manowar, the heavy metal band from Auburn, New York. They hold the Guinness record, set at a concert in 1984. They claim to have bettered that in 1994 at a concert in Hannover, which they suggested came in at 129.5dB, however Guinness do not recognise this claim, on the grounds that they stopped measuring the loudest band record so as to not encourage irreparable hearing damage.
It turns out the loudest band in the world is quite a hotly debated topic; Spin declared Motorhead the loudest band in the world, based on an alleged reading of 130dB, Leftfield caused dust and plaster to fall from the ceiling of Brixton Academy with a rumoured 137dB, whilst Gallows clocked over 132dB in the studio, not that anyone official was around to check!
Of course the loudest fictional band are Disaster Area, the creation of Douglas Adams, who’s concerts also acted as planet demolition events! According to the story, “the audience listens from a specially-constructed concrete bunker some thirty miles from the stage, and the band plays its instruments by remote control from an even greater distance.” Not even the loudest “real” bands could claim to get close to that level of noise!
The loudest ever recorded noise at a real life gig though? The whopping 140dB the shrieking of the crowd ran-up at a particularly raucous Hanson gig in Australia, that’s correct – Hanson – is Officially The Loudest Concert In The World!!!
METZ are guitar playing, singer/shouter Alex Edkins, bassist Chris Slorach and drummer Hayden Menzies
Loud, brutal, jarring and absolutely thrilling! As their own label puts it, “the guitars are titanic, the drums ill-tempered, the vocals chilling, and the volume worrisome.” They are indeed very, very loud. They’re generally based around the old fashioned, bass, guitars and drums approach to making music, though in an attempt to squeeze even more depth and volume out of their songs on their latest effort they incorporate baritone guitars, synths, tape loops and elements of found sound, varying their sound without loosing the immediacy that made them such a powerful force in the first place.
METZ might have the name of a town in North-East France, but they’re from the musical hotbed that is Toronto, Canada. Toronto is the home of the hottest rapper in the world, Drake, singer-songwriter Feist and the beautiful, orchestral stylings of Owen Pallett. More relevant to the sound of Metz might be the punkier side of the cities scene, which includes bands like Fucked Up, Death From Above 1979 and Billy Talent.
METZ formed 7 years ago in 2008. They signed to the legendary Sub Pop and released their debut album, cleverly entitled METZ in 2012. After touring that album around the world, they returned to the studio and recorded their latest effort, METZ II, which is out May 5th, again on Sub Pop.
To quote the band themselves, “we take our noise and our feedback very seriously!” Which is a fine start to any hardcore, grunge, make as much noise as you possibly can, as fast as you can, band. We’re not that up on the lingo of hardcore and when it becomes post-hardcore, but they sound pretty hardcore to us!
On Acetate, the opening track and lead single taken from Metz II, they lay down an impressive barometer for the noise to come. Starting with a low grungy guitar line it then explodes into the same riff, only much, much louder! Alex opens the album lyrically on typically dark ground, “she’s barely bleeding, I’m wading through puddles on the floor” he sings before the whole audible vocal thing goes out the window in favour of a shrieking, jarrying wall of feedback coated, overdriven guitar.
Throughout the album the brief moments of respite seem to be present largely to make the loud bits seem even louder! Nervous System starts with an actual scream of “ARGH”, before giving way to echo effected vocals and break-neck speed guitars, The Swimmer is beefy-energetic rock in the mould of Winnebago Deal or Death From Above 1979, and Spit You Out is a pure grunge number, borrowing a lot of Nirvana and a bit of Liars at their most scuzzy.
The album flies by in a blur of noise, and whilst closing track Kicking A Can Of Worms briefly offers a little respite, it soon bursts into life and delivers the most violent wall of noise of all, the instruments blurring into a singular brutal entity of indistinguishable, beautiful noise! Utterly thrilling!
For all the reasons that Metz are great, they will also not be for everyone. For some they’ll be too loud, too aggressive and too jarring. If you took one look at grunge and said that’s fine but why does it need to be so angry, then it’s safe to say Metz are not the band for you.
Metz II is out on Sub Pop Records on May 4th. Metz play The Underworld in London on June 16th.