16 - Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds (2012)


Considering how often the band rotates members, you'd think the band name 16 was in reference to line-up changes. Regardless of the constant shifting, though, 16 has remained a dependable source of sludge metal over the years, and the group's latest, Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds, continues that streak. The band has a knack for hitting that sweet spot between sludgy dissonance and aggressive metal assault.

"Theme From ‘Pillpopper'" opens the record with a nice little bit of chugging before the rest of the band kicks in and begins cracking skulls. The band even slips in a trippy little guitar solo in there. "Parasite" adds a little bit of a groove to the mix, although much like "Theme," it's driven by chugging guitars and growling vocals. Track after track keeps up this sonic assault until the final cut, "Only Photographs Remain."

The downside to this record perhaps is its consistency. It's certainly solid throughout, but folks who don't care much for metal are going to find this record lacking in variety. The record doesn't exactly have a whole lot of flow, and as such feels more like a collection of songs than it does a full-length. As for metal fans, they might get put off by 16's lack of extreme aggression. These songs tend to stay in a set tempo, and while they're heavy as hell, there isn't much grinding going on here.

Still, though, what makes Deep Cuts so successful is that very same reliability. The record maintains a steady pace throughout and never embarrasses itself with certain niche stylings. It is never too fast nor too slow. 16 writes kick ass metal tunes; Deep Cuts consists entirely of kick ass metal tunes.