Canadian rock band Metric have returned with their seventh full length project. Following the slick and electronic-influenced Pagans in Vegas, the band have shifted towards more driving instrumentation and brighter vocal melodies.
Sitting at just under an hour, on Art of Doubt the band have opted for slightly longer-form songs, allowing the instrumentals to breathe and develop over time. “Now or Never Now” acts as a prime example of this, with grander instrumental and tonal shifts allowed to properly play out and shift across the track listing.
Despite the greater incorporation of transitions and progressive elements into the band’s songs, often this is the only instance of variation in the songs. The vocal melodies stay quite similar, and there isn’t much tonality to the delivery that matches the more dynamic song structure, making it feel as if the vocals were written and recorded before the rest of the band was let in the studio.
“Art of Doubt” is another well executed track, and is a great showing of quality from the band – there’s some more powerful delivery and instrumental backing, re-energising the album. Though, despite highlights that arise out of the choice of multiple transitions, there is less success than sufficient to keep all of these transitions crisp and engaging, leading to some songs that fizzle towards the end.
Driving guitars form the instrumental backbone of this album, drifting between raw punk riffs and more synthetic melodies, providing different textures that shift and move across the tracks. “Love You Back” blends distorted and cleaner sounds extremely well, and reflects the instrumental quality of the album as a whole.
“Underline the Black” is a lyrical highlight, grappling with loss and emotional restraint over some spacier song structure, allowing the subject matter to be communicated really clearly. The presentation of these themes and messages really cuts to the core of the album as a whole, with themes of emotional distress and confusion playing out over the course of a number of songs on the project.
Overall, Metric have crafted an engaging piece of rock music that incorporates a number of varied elements for a creative and diverse sound. Despite this, the album often loses momentum at times, and the chain of great songs in the middle of the album may be insufficient to keep the tone and engagement throughout the project.
TWO AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Art of Doubt is available 21st September 2018 via MMI/Crystal Math Music.