16

Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds

Written by: PP on 06/09/2012 02:50:06

Although they were a part of the original sludge metal movement in the early 90s, California's 16 have never quite amassed the same amount of attention as their modern counterparts in bands like Kylesa, Baroness, or even Mastodon for that matter. Nevertheless they've kept grinding on doing what they do best: write songs in the thick, extremely ugly version of the genre which relies on minimal groove and a coarse combination between a yell and a growl. And that would be why they aren't as popular as Baroness are, for instance.

Not to worry, though, because there's an audience for the denser material that 16 plays as well, just see how well High On Fire have done over the years. "Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds", their sixth full length, delivers just that: a 16 record with muscle and macho feeling to it, with solid riffs made out of heavy lifting and down-tuned sludge. It's consistent enough for the band's fans but also ensures at the same time that it's unlikely to expand their fan base much beyond their current one. But for what it's worth, 16 offer a bleaker, less-melodic, and definitely far more southern/sludgy approach to the genre than their more popular contemporaries. For that, they must be commanded.

But all that being said, "Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds" remains only an OK album from a band that used to be pioneers in their own genre. It's a logical 16 album based on their current lineup, but innovation is missing as the band rolls away in their muddy sludge guitars slowly at the same tempo throughout the record.

Download: Theme From 'Pillpopper',
For the fans of: Tombs, Winters, Kylesa, Cavity, Unsane, Black Tusk
Listen: Bandcamp

Release date 24.04.2012
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