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Subtle as a sledgehammer to the skull, Southern California sludge metal vets 16 return after a 12-year hiatus with BRIDGES TO BURN. This quartet's vitriolic reintroduction to the world is a venomous 12-track affair laden with crushing yet hazy hardcore grooves that drum up comparisons to everything from Weedeater and Will Haven ("Missed the Boat") to Unsane and Helmet ("You Let Me Down (Again)"). Abrasive vocals ragefully spitting out nuggets of nihilism and riffs bolstered with bone-shattering crush do battle with an unrelenting rhythm section's voluminous batterings on seething selections such as "Monday Bloody Monday", the bouncy bastardized bop of "Me and My Shadow", and the self-loathing "Thorn In Your Side". Dumping out their patented gloom and doom desperation mantra over waves of molten stoner rock ("What Went Wrong?"), 16 have thoroughly scraped from inner hell's deepest recesses to make this disc a bleak blues-metal gem.
- Mike SOS