Art of Doubt
Metric Music International
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Reigning from Toronto, alt-rockers Metric are back with their seventh studio album Art of Doubt. In comparison to 2015’s Pagans in Vegas, Art of Doubt is an improvement. Where Pagans was a trite attempted dive into a synthetic pool, Art of Doubt is distinctly rock: enormous guitar and bass.
The album’s best moments are when the band focuses on that distinct guitar-driven sound. Opening track “Dark Saturday” establishes a mood of angst and release that is carried throughout the album. It’s a standout and is reminiscent of the early 2000’s post-punk revival and what Lizzy Goodman has now helped coin as the “Meet Me in the Bathroom” era kind of sound—frontwoman Emily Haines’ vocals elicit an homage to Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O.
The album is filled with the generally accepted modern rock riff and is heavily reliant on rock doing what their attempt at synth couldn’t: it’s layered in sound, but airy; dark but danceable.
“Dressed to Suppress” is the record’s second single and is fueled by that same guitar sound and showcases one of the better lyrical performances of the album, exploring topics such as displayed contentment and conflict that comes within the search for love.
The consistency of the heavy guitar has to be credited to new producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen, who is a longtime fan of the band, but who has also worked with notably loud rock acts like Wolf Alice and Paramore, as well as teetering-on-synth acts like M83—all of which are bands, like Metric, that very obviously like a loud sound.
The entire album, despite its vicious buzz filled with an anthemic scope of deafening percussion and surf-like guitar, does still fall flat. It is wildly an improvement to their 2015 endeavor, but as a whole feels too safe and uninspired. For a majority of its hour-long run-time, the album relies too heavily on the aforementioned heavy-guitar arpeggios that cause the album to feel monotonous and unimaginative in its second-half.
Overall, the album is more interesting than its predecessor and the decision to emphasize their strength of a thunderous guitar and sleazy vocal sound has definitely helped them head in the right direction. But lacking a little creativity, at its core, Art of Doubt is a merely a safe album.
Notable Tracks: “Dark Saturday” | “Die Happy” | “Dressed to Suppress”