Engineered and mixed by Jeff Forrest at Doubletime Studios, San Diego from January–October 1994. All music created and produced by -(16)-. Special thanks to Chris Elder.
I find it amazing how some albums just make sense. Even on the first listen. There is no wrestling with it, there is no listening to it again and again, trying to tease out its finer nuances, trying to appreciate its hidden meaning. This is one of those albums for me.
It comes as no real surprise that I’ve enjoyed this album as I gave Curves that Kick (1993) 95% and Bridges to Burn (2009) 90% and perhaps there is an element of familiarity with -(16)- that makes me feel like I’m coming home listening to this album, but that can’t be the whole picture.
Sludge is a fusion of doom and hardcore punk, which sounds like it should be kind of bipolar genre: weaving an uncomfortable path between bass-y, slow and depressed riffs and in-your-face, energy. But it works. What does that say about me that I connect with it so readily?
This album gave me the same excitement that hearing Helmet for the first time did. There is an eagerness about the music, and energy that is contagious. It’s not so much drop out as a pick me up.
This album, like their others, still has a strong Helmet- and southern-metal-vibe, with what sound like drop-tuned, stop-start guitar riffs. But it’s not all about the guitar, the bass guitar comes to the fore though on many of the songs, such as ‘Sniper’ and halfway through ‘Felicia’.
Another winner from -(16)-. They have managed to produce an album that makes me feel as though I’ve been listening to it for years, rather than just a couple of days. Good work.
This project has been amazing for unearthing bands like -(16)- that I would never otherwise have heard. I’m still so grateful to Calum for gifting me this enormous pile of CDs for free.
Review score: 95%