Recorded at Double Time Studios, San Diego between February – April 1993. Originally released on Pushead’s label “Bacteria Sour”; re-released on Relapse Records.
Curves That Kick was the debut album by Los Angeles’ band 16 who, if you like neat labels, fall under the sludge metal category, a fusion of doom and hardcore punk.
16, who write their name on album covers as -(16)-, are another band that I’d never heard of before, but now thanks to this experiment I now have three albums of theirs — Drop Out (1996), Bridges to Burn (2009) and this earlier one, Curves That Kick (1993). And I’m glad I do because from the opening riffs of this album I had a feeling that I’d like it.
On my first listening to the whole album it sounded like a fusion of Helmet, Bleach-era Nirvana, lesser-known San Francisco band Less and even elements of Godflesh. Which to my ears is a winning combination.
There are no unnecessary guitar solos… in fact, without listening to the album again, I don’t remember there being any traditional guitar solos, only overdubbed guitar parts that add texture and depth to the songs.
The songs definitely carry a Helmet-like vibe to them, particularly songs like “Amish”, Hate”, and album-opener “Curves That Kick” with a growling bass tone and twisted, stop-start guitar riffs that relentlessly plough through the songs like slabs of metal. Track 5 “Grandpa’s Chair”, on the other hand, could appear quite seamlessly on just about any later Godflesh album.
That said 16 don’t sound like they are trying to be a Helmet tribute band. They do bring something of their own to the music.
I’m very much looking forward to listening to the other two 16 albums, if this is anything to go by. A very welcome addition to my collection.
Review score: 95%