Siiiiiiiiiiiick. Robby Reis

Some heavy-music purists are quick to denigrate Sub Pop for having "gone soft" since its early days. Really, though, all the label has done is diversify, which is the most basic tenet of the investment world.

For every the Head and the Heart or Coco­Rosie, there is a Pissed Jeans or a Wolf Eyes, and the truth is that those more innocuous signees act as a sort of buffer—padding bottom lines for some riskier (and higher-yielding to your ears) bands. All of which brings us to Toronto's METZ, whose self-titled album was released on Sup Pop last month.

"We just sent them a demo of the record we were working on," says guitar man Alex Edkins. "And they got back to us and said, 'You know what, we like it.' But they made no commitment. They said, 'Finish it and send it back to us.'"

And so they did. The album—recorded in or around Toronto with Graham Walsh (Holy Fuck) and Alexandre Bonenfant, who's worked with such disparate acts as Crystal Castles and Avril Lavigne—is an unyielding, hang-on-by-your-fingernails half hour of rigid thrash punk. You'd almost swear "Rats" is a long-lost Bleach outtake until the hammering cadence drops into a pristine breakdown that's far more technical than anything Mr. Cobain et al. could have managed at that point in their careers. Throughout, METZ walks a high- tension wire between Nirvana's first record and the work of labelmates Pissed Jeans. It's much more precise than Bleach, though, and it's less faux-knuckle-dragging than Pissed Jeans. And it's been well received. Edkins says he's lost count of how many interviews he's done in the last month, but it was more than in the band's previous four years together combined.

These dudes share a practice space with another Toronto band you might know if you're still reading this: Fucked Up. "It's just wall-to-wall amps," says Edkins. "I don't know how we get anything done in there: It's so claustrophobic and cramped."

I'm gonna go ahead and guess that "wall-to-wall amps" and "claustrophobic and cramped" informs METZ's sound—it's like a 30-minute, 1,000-miles-per-hour hell ride inside a one-man lunar rocket built for a midget, and OH MY GOD WHAT ARE ALL THESE CANADIANS DOING IN HERE? Take it for a ride next time you're tempted to bad-mouth Seattle's foremost record label. recommended