16 – Dream Squasher (Relapse)

Drop Out changed everything. 16’s sophomore album was a brutal, misanthropic statement of intent wrapped in a dysfunctional lead lined casket filled with uncompromisingly heavy, ridiculously infectious anthems that were laced in darkness, despair and depression.  It was, is and always will be one of the unsung heroes, and masters, of sludge driven, overpowering alternative metal,  teetering as it does between the Amphetamine Reptile noise scene of the late eighties and the darker side of Hardcore. It is the yardstick by which I judge any band, or record, that uses the word “sludge” to describe themselves or their music and it is the reason that I fell head over heels in love with 16.

In the near quarter century since Drop Out was released, 16 have, beset by a multitude of addiction and personal issues, balanced on the edge of self-destruction, but despite, or perhaps because of, the numerous obstacles they have faced, and created for themselves, they have continued to craft sublimely beautiful and impossibly heavy odes to the stygian depths of the human soul that reek of unmitigated sorrow and boundless joy.

And Dream Squasher continues their legacy in an orgy of barely controlled, rage infused songs that lash out at, and embrace, the duplicitous minutia that encapsulate life’s duality and make it so devastatingly complex and hard and, at times, magnificent and wonderful.  Welcome to the dark side… Tim Cundle

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