ONE thing’s for sure, METZ’s new record II is better than coffee on an early morning. Thanks to a first listen stream, the post-punk Canadian outfit have given fans the gift of their gritty, greasy record a week early via NPR’s website.

The follow up to 2012’s self-titled record and their second release on Sub Pop, the band had promised a much darker, heavier sound and that promise is delivered within the first twenty seconds of opener ‘Acetate’. The rock ‘n’ roll guitar riff is dirty and kicks you in the gut with its urgency. Screaming vocals penetrate as the drums relentlessly move the track up and down a swirling reverb creating a hard to handle wall of sound.

With its lyrical tone stemming “from a year of loss and doubt, of contemplating [the band’s] relationships with death and the planet,” chilling vocals continue to pierce through the mammoth guitar riffs that are fast becoming METZ signature sound on this record. The punk percussion meets creepy and faint whispers in the opening of ‘The Swimmer’ before the track explodes into a guitar-drenched noise resulting in a track that could be their most polished yet.

When METZ imploded on the scene, they produced an injection of punk attitude that brought the live circuit to life. Tracks like ‘Landfill’ are testament to that, with the likes of ‘Spit You Out’ juxtaposing those crashing tracks calming the tension on the record with a slower beat, an almost melodic riff and slightly less harrowing screams.

The force of ‘Nervous System’ is almost intolerable. Opening with whales, the chilling tone of the track pulls you in with an impressive arrangement of drums, scratching guitar hooks and lyrics.

‘Wait in Line’ captures the brutalising element of the band, with its eery samples, grizzly melody and excessive snarls down the microphone, its a track worthy of the most menacing title but its also the most brilliant at the same time.

Using a baritone guitar throughout this record, the instrument’s longer scale length tuned to a lower pitch perfectly matches the heartbeat of II. Alongside tape loops, piano, synths and found sounds, the band stay true to their founding ethos.

‘Eyes Peeled’ is as unafraid and relentless as its proceeders, paving the way for the record’s closing track ‘Kicking a Can of Worms’; drenched in reverb, its opening is soft and misleading and is quickly met by harrowing drums and a pimped out melody which suffocates your ears and mind.

An exhilarating journey, II is a harsh, brutal and catastrophic listen full of balls-to-the-wall rock ‘n’ roll, pummelling post-punk spirit, sampling, synths and everything else that goes with a band who mean business. Just like their debut record showed us three years ago, METZ are pure and full of electricity; they’re also a great example of a band who don’t fuck about.