Drop Out (Reissue)

Written by: PP on 24/05/2010 17:35:28

Seminal sludge metallers 16 recently re-issued their first two full lengths, which were sent our way for review consideration. It would've made sense to review them in the order of release, but since I fucked it up by not doing my research before going in listening mode, inverse order is what you're getting. Deal with it. Anyway, 16 originally released their sophomore album "Drop Out" back in 1996, where it "sent shockwaves through the international music scene" according to the promo blurb. Listening to it almost a decade and a half later, it's not difficult to see why, as its punishing sludge, and the viscerally roared vocals are quite something.

There are old school hardcore nuances in the otherwise muddy and very 90s-esque metal sound, where production hasn't been high on the list of priorities due to feeling, atmosphere and heart-wrenching passion for the music dominating the top spots instead. The music is ugly and chugging, but yet there's just barely enough groove and melancholia in the arrangements to make it somehow stand out and intrigue the listener. As a highlight I'd point out the "On the floor...face down...wide awake" cries of "Tocohara", or the desperation-filled "Jesus....doesn't....save...ANYBODY" primal screams in "Fucked For Life", which are intense beyond-belief despite the lack of clarity in the vocals brought by rumbling distortion all around. It's all very down tuned and extremely sludgy despite the heavy groove omnipresent in the music, no doubt having been influential to bands like Baroness and Kylesa, which is one of the reasons "Drop Out" is widely considered to be the best 16 album and an essential release within the sludge/stoner genres.

Download: Tocohara, Fucked For Life
For the fans of: Eyehategod, Unsane, Kylesa
Listen: Myspace

Release date 22.03.2010

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