16 - _Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds_
(Relapse, 2012)
by: Johnathan A. Carbon (7 out of 10)
At times I feel there are at least a hundred sludge bands from the early '90s that will eventually be excavated. In the same way Southern Lord resurrected Noothgrush, Relapse Records is being held responsible for breathing life into the Los Angeles based 16, who celebrate two decades in existence with their sixth record (second on Relapse). How have these gentlemen been spending their time? Most likely, under the thumb of ruminating animosity.

2009's _Bridges to Burn_ was an important milestone in the band, as it saw the reformation of the four original(ish) members. This is wildly impressive, as 16 has had numerous line-up changes. There was a point none of the founding members were a part of the band. I also think I played bass at one point. For the amount of uncertainty attached to this band, 16 seemed like an act destined for quiet destruction in the early part of the '00s. Relapse Records can be thought of as a silent benefactor of sludge, as they have allowed 16 to become the strongest in their career. In 2012, 16 has returned with 3/4ths of its original members. Hey, at least they showed on the right day.

_Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds_ exudes itself to be the reformation of hate and disdain. Compared to _Bridges to Burn_ the song titles are more sinister, less empathetic, with and increase in violence. This change also comes with zero percent of the humor found in early work. While I a sure songs like "Her Little Accident", "Ants in My Bloodstream" and "Bowels of a Babykiller" were begun with some sarcasm, the end product floats in hopeless despair. Perhaps this is the perfect starting point for teeth breaking sludge.

Relapse continues 16's reestablishment with a reissue of their back catalog. 1993's _Curves That Kick_ and 1996's _Drop Out_ are being cycled through production once again with new artwork. Though the original illustrations were decent, the new Relapse sponsored art aligns with 16's stylistic makeover. Now if they can just get around to _Blaze of Incompetence_ and _Zoloft Smile_, the transformation will be complete.

Any day is a good day for sludge. 16 pulls from the same source which inspired Buzzov*en, Grief and Eyehategod. Unlike the great titans of the past, however, 16 is a band which is currently approaching their golden period. At points I thank Relapse, but at others I know credit lies in the pit of hate and turmoil.

(article published 6/5/2012)


ALBUMS
1/16/1999 A Bromley 9 16 - Scott Case
1/1/1998 A Bromley 8 16 - Blaze of Incompetence
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