Metz, ‘II,’ Sub Pop

Much has been made of Metz’s loudness. This Toronto three-piece plays with weapons-grade intensity, making a mighty racket out of spare parts. But loudness doesn’t signify what it once did in rock.

The last decade, especially, has seen the broadening and mainstreaming of styles — twee, complex, artisanal — that remained in the shadows after Nirvana’s ascent to popular acclaim in the early 1990s. Loudness, once a sign of aggression or opposition, is now just a tactic, a necessary tool to fill rooms.

Mumford & Sons: loud. Arcade Fire: loud, too. But they’re just not — how do you say? — fun.

Metz is sloppy. Metz is acerbic. Metz is fun.

On its primally satisfying second album, “II,” it plays with punk attitude, hardcore discipline and construction-site volume. That all adds up to a glorious rumble, and a fetishistic one as well. Metz’s eruptions have everything to do with Nirvana’s pre-breakthrough dynamic.

The singer Alex Edkins, who also plays guitar, growls with confident anxiety. The rhythm section of Chris Slorach on bass and Hayden Menzies on drums is forceful, durable and surprisingly loose for a band this aggressive. Metz isn’t a taut outfit, but tautness isn’t the goal. Even similarly small bands with enormous sounds (say, Japandroids) excel at crispness. Metz colors outside the lines, obliterates them, really.

But albums are contained spaces, which means that as impressive as “II” is, it’s implicitly more orderly than Metz itself. Where this band truly thrives is onstage, where it can tumble and stumble freely.

Jon Caramanica, New York Times News Service