"Dream Squasher"

By Lord Randall

As a fan of  -(16)- since “Curves That Kick” walloped me upside the head back in ’91, Bobby Ferry, Chris Jerue & co. could do no wrong…I thought. After riding high and low through 5 more albums and 20+ years chronicling depression, failure, drugs and demons, 2016’s “Lifespan Of A Moth” fell flat for me. Maybe it was the lineup change, maybe the new rhythm section was still finding its way, but it just didn’t hit me as hard as what had come before. Good, but not great, and – for me – that wasn’t good enough for -(16)-. 

From the first 10 seconds of opener ‘Candy In Spanish’, it’s clear the quartet has its teeth bared. Aside from PAW or SCISSORFIGHT, few are capable of doing so much with as little as are -(16)-. Always wondered what’d happen if the band for fucking once injected a bit of positivity into its lyrical concoction? ‘Me & The Dog Die Together’ is your jam, especially relevant to those who can’t connect with humanity but find a soulmate in a beast. It’s suggested the longtime fan of -(16)-‘s vocal pummel sit down for ‘Sadlands’, because there’s singing. Yes, honest to goat singing – and it’s good, by damn. Think SPIRIT ADRIFT in moments, Wino-era ST. VITUS in others, but all -(16)-, and made their own. ‘Acid Tongue’ lumbers, sauntering over broken eardrums and shattered bone with aplomb, and ‘Ride The Waves’ is whiplash-quick and faster than anything from this outfit in recent memory, and quite frankly cements that “Dream Squasher” is the most vital, the most alive -(16)- has sounded since “Zoloft Smile”, maybe even more so.

Some bands are unfortunate enough to deliver their classic album right out the gate - GUNS ‘N’ ROSES, MORBID ANGEL, BLACK CROWES, SLAYER – and spend the rest of their careers mostly pissing on what could’ve been. Nearly 30 years into its life, -(16)- has breech-birthed its heaviest, most melodic, finest work to date. And that, my fiends, is more than “good enough”.