Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds
01. Theme From ‘Pillpopper’
03. Her Little ‘Accident’
04. The Sad Clown
05. Ants In My Bloodstream
06. Broom Pusher
07. Opium Hook
08. Bowels Of A Baby Killer
09. Beyond Fixable
10. Only Photographs Remain
When I was much younger, I had a friend who was a little bit ‘off’ — a genuinely nice guy through and through, but over the short time I knew him, he provided some of the more memorable and repressed parts of my childhood. One day, upon receiving a pen knife and his first round of responsibility, he turned to me with a wry grin and said:
‘Hey, do you wanna see something cool?‘
With no hesitation at all, he proceeded to dig the knife into his skin and carve out a wart that had chosen to adorn itself on his forearm. To be entirely fair, it was a pretty precise job considering how dull the blade was but the whole time I had my eyes fixated on the gruesome display out of some weird morbid curiosity. I’m not that squeamish, but a few moments later he held up his grisly flesh trophy and waves of nausea ran through my gut. Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds takes me back directly to that moment, dredging up that exact uneasy feeling I got from watching his gleeful self-mutilation.
In a nutshell, 16 combine the southern discomfort of Eyehategod with the depraved world view of Acid Bath, wrapped in the sludgy hatred of Cavity and topped with some utterly bleak lyrics. Deep Cuts takes on a mid-tempo trudge for the majority of its running time and relies on off-kilter rhythms and big riffs to get by, with new drummer Matteo Pinkerton acting as a ‘John Bonham’-style rhythmic anchor for the rest of the group on tracks like ‘Ants In My Bloodstream‘ and ‘Bowels Of A Baby Killer.’ Also worth mentioning is Cris Jerue, who provides a solid performance vocally, but as on every other 16 release, it’s the lyrics that shine through with tales of rampant drug abuse, hopelessness, and even the chilling tale of revenge inflicted upon on an ex-lover.
Speaking of which, ‘Her Little ‘Accident’‘ may even be the definitive 16 track — pure misanthropic NOLA sludge. Its subject matter is typically dark and the music surrounding it sees the band weave driving and pulsing riffs around slow, lumbering drums and bass that bring to mind the less subtle moments of the core duo from Big Business. Other highlights include ‘Broom Pusher,‘ another dark and moody rocker that even indulges in some Alice In Chains-esque sections, and opener ‘Theme From ‘Pillpopper’‘ which sets the tone perfectly for the album and bridges the gap between it and the slightly more primitive 2009 release Bridges To Burn. No pun intended.
Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds is a record that will most likely confound many who aren’t already fans, it takes a special kind of masochism to find solace and confide in a record that does everything in its power to drag you down. But despite the fact that it’s so intentionally obtuse and unlovable, there’s still that morbid fascination with this record that I mentioned before. Every word that Jerue bellows feels real and every riff that sits alongside it seems testament to the self-destruction that surrounds it all which can at times make Deep Cuts a difficult listen but more importantly adds bags of character — a rare commodity these days. Whether 16 set out to make me feel incredibly uncomfortable is an entirely different matter but so far, I just haven’t been able to look away.
16 – Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds gets…