16 - Bridges to Burn

Southern California’s sludge-rockers 16 are back to commemorate their sixteenth anniversary with a new record, their first work for the ever-reliable Relapse Records and let me tell you that it doesn’t disappoint one bit.
Stylistically, despite the seven years that separates “Bridges to Burn” from their fourth album “Zoloft Smile”, 16 doesn’t seem to have changed a whole lot and continue to sound as nasty and angry as they ever been, though it’s perceptible that the band has matured to some extent. The detuned sludge-heavy riffs of Bobby Ferry, which have an almost animalistic roar of aggression about them, continue to remain at the forefront of 16’s sonority, meandering between a truly colossal and violent rhythmic section constituted by bassist Tony Baumeister and drummer Jason Corley and the savage and raging vocalizations of Cris Jerue.
It’s true that there’s nothing particularly new or innovative to be found on “Bridges to Burn”, but then again, no one was expecting anything other than an intense and sludgy manifesto of anger and venom thrown at the decadent and cynic world of today from them. And that’s exactly what “Bridges to Burn” is all about. Just check out the anguished words Jerue spews forth on “Man Interrupted” for example, “I can’t wait until it rains, I can’t wait to open the veins. As I sharpen the blade now, I think of you. As I sharpen the blade now, I destroy you”. All this lyrical vitriol is in perfect symbiosis with all the musical violence unfolded by the band on this theme and the other eleven ones as well.
Bottom line is that 16 haven’t certainly lost their knack for powerful, dirty and groovy riffs despite their long absence from the musical scene and “Bridges to Burn” is by far their greatest work to date that rocks and kicks like a monstrous bastard. (7.5/10)

Band info: www.myspace.com/16
Label info: www.relapse.com
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