Up on Gravity Hill showcases METZ’s versatility

Up On Gravity Hill might be a masterclass in how an album’s production can completely dictate our perception of an artist. For the uninitiated, METZ are a noisy trio of punkers who hail from the Canadian capital of Ottawa and have never had a line-up change!

From the late 2000s, the band turned local basements and clubs into saunas with their visceral and adrenaline-spiking lo-fi postpunk, and the rest of the world finally got to hear it for themselves when their self-titled debut was released on Sub Pop in 2012.

With a steady release of a new studio album every couple of years, Up on Gravity Hill marks the band’s fifth. By their admission, this album is set to mark a new era of METZ. Yes, each succeeding release up until now demonstrated expansion and experimentation on the band’s established sound, but Gravity takes it to the nth degree.

The album is purposefully more cinematic, pensive, and, dare I say, beautiful than the band’s previous releases. The band say they “begun exploring ways to turn abrasiveness into atmospherics,” resulting from the members’ expanding palette as listeners and songwriters and a maturing ability to express frustration in a more sapient manner.


Like their previous album, Gravity is co-produced by the band and Seth Manchester, and extrapolates what METZ can be. I think fans’ expectations were skilfully tested by the first single released, “Entwined (Street Light Buzz),” which was a wise choice as it’s the best song on the album. It features pop melodies and an addicting looping guitar hook but is also vulnerably sad and marks the first time the band has ever almost made me cry. The second single released was the album’s closer, “Light Your Way Home,” which is a gaze-infused, sad-but-hopeful tune featuring Black Mountain’s Amber Webber.

But even the album’s intro, “No Reservation/Love Comes Crashing,” which – along with tracks like “Wound Tight” and “Never Still Again” – offers some familiarity to fans, is still more polished and cleaner than ever before, with vocals pushed to the front, as Alex Edkins is trying to engage the listener in what he has to say.

Up on Gravity Hill showcases METZ’s versatility as musicians and songwriters like nothing else in their discography thus far. With gothic, new wave, indie, and pop elements, there are many new sides to them on display here, and I hope fans are receptive to it because it’s one of their best.