16 is one of the more veteran sludge-metal bands out there, and that may well be the reason why they do not sound like the many bands that inhabit the scene nowadays. Their latest album Deep Cuts from Dark Clouds certainly, while displaying many of the traits that define the genre, indicates that this is a sludge band who have authority enough to go their own way.
As mentioned, many of the features that define the sludge-metal genre are present on the album, such as groovy riffs and heavy beats – although not as tortured and slow as with many other sludge bands – and 16 also draw a bit on noise rock and psychedelia, which is not unheard of in sludge-land. However, compared to many other sludge acts, 16 have opted for a very clear and clean productions on this album, which makes many of the riffs sound quite aggressive, and the sense of aggression, even in some of the southern style groovy riffs is further bolstered by the distorted bass and the yelled and raw-sounding vocals. While the music itself is groovy and sludgy, the production thus strikes me more as the production of a modern thrash metal album.
There is, in attitude at least, a touch of hardcore punk present on Deep Cuts from Dark Clouds, which I think is a positive asset, as it sets the album apart from the average sludge release these days, and it allows for people who are into groove thrash and the like to also relate to the album and, possibly, appreciate it. In any case, the production and the riffs put together result in a very crushing album.
Fans of groovy music with an edge should definitely check out this album.
(review originally posted at metalmusicarchives.com)