Head here to submit your own review of this album.

The title II, as plain as it may be, would seem to be the perfect choice for the sophomore album from the Toronto-based trio, Metz. Not only do two slumped heads now adorn the cover rather than the one on their self-titled debut, but the album's wallop also seems to punch through the speakers two-fold, which may strike many as surprising given the band's reputation for generating a massive racket. After having toured for almost two years on their first record, Metz have elected to not stray too far from their tried-and-true formula and instead seemed to have focused on perfecting their artful mish-mash of punk, grunge, post-punk, hardcore and noise.

The first thing that will strike most listeners is the sheer volume of II. Metz was already a loud band, but their upgraded production values has produced an even more intimidating blare of sound blasting behind the screeching vocals of Alex Edkins. The improved recording and mixing also allows the phenomenal drumming of Hayden Menzies to get its time in the spotlight. Across the board, it just seems as though each element of the band has been given the sonic space to standout and be appreciated, while still maintaining the chaotic aesthetic that has endeared the group to so many.

With the increased volume and improved production, this album has achieved a seemingly impossible feat by sounding even more aggressive than the one that preceded it. The album's first track and lead single, 'Acetate', begins with a sludgy riff before the low hum of amplifier feedback introduces a raucous, rollicking and somewhat frightening performance that seems to fly by much quicker than its near-four minute runtime would indicate.

The exposition on songs within this record is another major improvement made with a minor change. II is a mere one minute longer than the group's debut record, but at only 10 songs, the new album has one less song. Also worth noting is that the album's fourth track, 'Zzyzx', is merely an interlude and clocks in at just over half a minute. On the remaining nine songs, Metz has allowed themselves the time to properly develop each song to its fullest extent. The best example of this would be the album's third track, 'Spit You Out'. At almost five minutes in length, it is the longest Metz song to date. And while the first three minutes or so are excellent, it is the song's fourth minute that makes it truly exceptional. The frantic, squawking guitar solo played in conjunction with the punchy and forceful drums makes for a breathtaking conclusion.

Anyone who listened to the self-titled debut from Metz will recognize much of this praise. This is a band that earned critical acclaim for their skilul display of ferocity and venom after all. As a result, II does not attempt to reinvent the wheel, but instead just straps rockets onto both sides and lets it fly. And boy, how high it goes. Other bands will evolve their sounds more than Metz this year, but when you have group that sounds as though its guitars could crumble a building with their hook-laden ferociousness, why would you change?

This is the place you'll find reviews from 405 Readers. To join in, head here.