Metrik – Life/Thrills LP Snapshot
Words by Mitchell Hokin
Metrik, Hospital’s resident flanger synth dance floor smasher maker (to give him his official title) and high energy rave DJ brings us his second album. His opening LP ‘Universal Language’ was a mix of big room explosive rave music and some more toned down liquid tracks. His second album ‘Life/Thrills’ has many of the same ingredients. Vocal features, huge distorted synth lines and big drums are the main talking points, and in this brief review I want to give an overview of three of the tunes that, together, are representative of the different styles you can expect from the album.
The first style represented is the female vocal anthemic liquid tune. They’re full of happy vibes and big synth sounds as well as rolling drums, vocal verses, and cut up samples. The album’s best example of this is ‘Chasing Sunrise’, which features Elisabeth Troy who Metrik has worked with before. It starts with drums, twinkling keys, and Troy’s singing before dropping into a rolling amen fuelled drop with big piano chords, pitched down vocal cuts, bleepy arpeggios and synth pedal tones. The vibe is very euphoric and borders on a bit the cheesy – but cheesy in the sense that super heroes make cheesy comments while saving the world; the overall vibe is fairly epic so you just roll with it. This is until the second drop, when somehow a gigantic vibrato synth solo comes out of nowhere and takes the track from a very epic yet slightly cheesy song into something that made me squirm in my skin while hoping the sound would go away quickly. This first drop however, and the one the dance floor is most likely to hear in one of Metrik’s fantastic DJ sets is free of any soloing synth leads marauding through the mix.
The second kind of tune on the album, while similar to the first, is the more spaced out. Instead of the standard two beat drums, halftime beats or cut beats form the bulk of percussion. Sizzling chords form the bulk of the melody while sub bass sits patiently underneath. The arrangements follow closer to festival dance music with long build-ups and breakdowns and more fervent drops. The best example of this is the title track. Like many of the tracks on the album the vocals play a big roll. There are two mini drops with trap or hip-hop inspired halftime drums that break up two long rap verses from the featured vocalist. Piano is one of the main instruments and in keeping with the album’s sound palette vocal cuts form a big part of the melody. Just like the big room arrangement that this one follows, the third drop is big and much longer than the first two. The drums become full time and punchy and many of the same elements remain present. However, there’s another one of those big squealing synth solos that appears near the end, and like before my stomach squirms a little bit until it disappears. It’s one of those personal things that may or may not be shared by Metrik’s other fans, but it doesn’t do a lot for me. As before though, if you hear this in a DJ set you will probably never hear it due to its location tucked away after the third drop.
The last type of track on the album is Metrik’s classic instrumental dance floor banger. Huge drums, big saturated basslines, sirens and laser guns pack the tune to the seams until it feels like it’s going to burst all over your living room. My favourite example of this is ‘Western Jam’. It feels a bit like Metrik’s ‘Make the Floor Burn VIP’ on Hospitality 2015. There are no big vocals or chord progressions, just big punchy drum breaks and a big sizzling bass melody. The tune has little switch-ups and fills to keep everything moving forward and feeling fresh, but the core of it is just drums and bass and a lot of energy. I can safely say that no roaming synth solo appears during the song, and the core of the tune retains centre stage during both drops.
While these three tunes aren’t a complete look at the full album, they can give a good impression of the different types of tunes and styles that Metrik put into his sophomore full length release. If you like Metrik’s previous releases you will most likely find something you like – Reija Lee even makes an appearance on a track reminiscent of their big collaboration ‘Freefall’. I recommend seeing one of Metrik’s fantastic DJ sets to get a feel for how this album and his music should be enjoyed.
If you can’t catch him out though, you can pick up the album direct from Hospital now by clicking here.