16 - Dream Squasher review

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Band: 16
Album: Dream Squasher
Release date: June 2020

01. Candy In Spanish
02. Me & The Dog Die Together
03. Sadlands
04. Harvester Of Fabrication
05. Acid Tongue
06. Agora (Killed By A Mountain Lion)
07. Ride The Waves
08. Summer Of '96
09. Screw Unto Others
10. Kissing The Choir Boy

Anger, frustration, despair and addiction. 16 (or -(16)- as it's stylized) have been spewing intensely bitter sludge for about three decades. Dream Squasher is no different. If anything it made them more bitter.

There's no tip-toeing around the fact. 16 are overlooked as hell. Being around since 1991 and with their debut album, Curves That Kick released in 1993, a few splits with Grief (who by the way are sort of reunited) and with this being their 8th album, they certainly have quite a career under their belt. And still I hadn't heard of them until somewhat recently, despite being a sludge fan. Seeing them open for Primitive Man a few years ago I was so impressed with their performance and with finding out how damn old they are, that I went up and interviewed them on the spot. So if there's one thing I know, they're not overlooked for potentially being subpar.

One this that is great about 16 and Dream Squasher is the diverse amount of moods and sounds within the same sludge framework that are present here. Obviously everything is some sort of bitter angry riff fest, but some are angrier and more bitter than others, some are more vitriolic hardcore, some are more groovy, some are even somewhat more serene. The band supposedly tried injecting some more positive emotions into this album, but apparently the best they could come up with is a song about committing suicide when your dog dies. Well that's... something... I guess. But the intent of injecting positive emotions, even if it didn't inject actual positive emotions, did make way towards making this album feel surprisingly emotional, and most importantly pretty earnest in its emotion.

A lot of it also comes from the fact that this is the first 16 album to have Bobby Ferry, who is a founding member and was until now a guitarist, taking over half of the the vocals as well. It's drowned in reverb and all that, but you can feel all of that pent up anger and frustration. And with an admittedly groovy song called "Sadlands", you can expect that some of that anger turns bitter (I used this word way too much, but if one word describes this record, it's this). Spiced up with some harmonica and organ, there's a lot to take from Dream Squasher, as I've mentioned. The production makes it all pack a massive punch, but it's the band's credit for sounding so gigantic, emotional, and making so many memorable choruses. And for a band so focused on the hardcore side of sludge and taking so much influence from Melvins, there were plenty of doomy moments on here as well, from the aforementioned "Sadlands" to "Agora".

It's angry. It's meaty. It's gigantic. It's emotional. It stenches of regret and cheap liquor. And now they're halfway through their God-sent mission to make 16 16 albums.


Written on 31.05.2020 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 14 users
05.06.2020 - 12:29

It's certainly angry and meaty yeah - I'm enjoying it a lot

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