-(16)- – The Lifespan Of A Moth album review

Big riffs and bright ideas from LA’s oddball sludge kings -(16)-. Read our album review here...

-(16)- album cover, 'The Lifespan Of A Moth'

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An impressive 25 years after forming in Los Angeles, -(16)- are still devout servants of the riff.

Although nominal members of the sludge metal set, they’ve always been happy to park their sonic van on the fault lines separating no-nonsense, mutant Sabbath-isms and the more cerebral, adventurous voyages through the downtuned cosmos favoured by (early) Mastodon.

As a result, even though The Lifespan… only occasionally deviates from the Californians’ trademark, mid-paced assault, there are still numerous moments when any notional kinship with the Louisianan sludge scene is robustly defenestrated. That tendency to buck the system is less apparent on the harrowing ooze of album centrepiece Gallows Humor, wherein -(16)- embark on an exercise in grimy doom à la Bongripper for seven crippling minutes, but elsewhere – on the crazed tempo splurge of Peaches, Cream And The Placenta and the lobotomised, Helmet-style fractured grooves and woozy psych of Pastor In A Coma – these scuzzy outlaws are relishing a chance to subvert a well-worn sound, making everything weird and wired in equal measure.

Dom Lawson has been writing for Hammer and Prog for 14 intermittently enjoyable years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He listens to more music than you. And then writes about it.