"Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds"

By Dr. Abner Mality

16 was sludge before sludge was cool. These So Cal cats first reared their ugly heads in the mid-90's, before everybody and his brother decided to give gooey slow metal a try. The only comparable acts then were really Eyehategod, Buzz*oven and to a certain extent, Crowbar. Not the flood that we are enduring right now. So after a long layoff, this band certainly has the right to show everybody else how its done.

And that's pretty much what "Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds" does. 10 thundering cuts of raw, oozing metal featuring a guitar sound with the consistency of wet concrete, matched with dour vocal roars and pounding drums. 16 keeps it simple and very brutal...experiments are minimal here.  "The Sad Clown" had a very choppy, stuttering approach somewhat like a sludgy Meshuggah while the beginning of "Broom Pusher" has grooving bass and an almost jazzy feel before the Mack Truck riffing finally kicks your head in. That's about it as far as unusual touches go...the rest is merciless mid-tempo brutality.

If you expect any ray of sunshine, titles like "Bowels of a Baby Killer", "Her Little Accident" and "Theme From 'Pillpopper'" will dispell that in a hurry. Chris Jerue dishes out the hate lyrically and vocally. I feel that album saved the best for last..."Beyond Fixable" is very catchy in a punk sense and more up-tempo as well, creating a headbangable track. The closer "Only Photographs Remain" is just classic "Jurassic molasses" sludge at its oozing best.

Even amidst a tidal wave of similar releases, "Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds" stands out. 16 is back and ready to show you how this shit is meant to be.