Published Jan 26, 2009From Cris Jerue's antagonistic caterwauls in scorching opener "Throw in the Towel" it's absolutely evident that SoCal noiseniks -16- have returned with a vengeance after a seven-year hiatus. Their previous album, 2002's Zoloft Smile, hardly prepared the listener for the updated animosity felt on Bridges to Burn, their Relapse debut. "Me & My Shadow" recalls the Bayou sludge gait of late career Eyehategod, while the urgent doom of "Man, Interrupted" and "Flake" invokes the ghost of Goatsnake. Jerue doesn't use his seething clean vocals as much as on previous albums, preferring a more direct approach to voluntary laryngitis in "Missed the Boat" and "Monday Bloody Monday." Still, he manages to proffer a bit of plaintive brooding in "What Went Wrong?" and the Helmet-gone-wrong "So Broken Down." "Permanent Good One" hearkens back to their classic 1996 Drop Out, with dejected chords and end-of-the-line pleas for salvation. An updated production with rare Rwake-like guitar solos and metronomic destructo beats from returning drummer Jason Corley, Bridges to Burn is the sound of a rejuvenated band ready to take on all comers with Unsane-esque bloodied fists.
You guys still rip it up after all these years! The new album even sounds slicker than Zoloft Smile. Why the switch?
Corley: Thanks man, ripping is our thing. I don't hear any switch at all, not intentionally. The four of us haven't made a record together in 12 years. I guess we are better at writing songs now and more familiar with how to write them and express what we want to get across musically with -16-.
You've been doing -16- since you were teenagers. Name one thing that you miss most about the old days of metal.
Honestly, I can't think of anything I miss about the old metal scene. I've been going to metal shows since 1983 when I was 13 years old, so I have seen a lot of bands and a lot of things come and go. The "metal scene" is oversaturated with so many shitty "metal" bands that I could go on for ten hours about the things I find hysterical, and my sledgehammer, sarcastic wit could light up and destroy 70-percent of the "bands" out there today. I stay in my own little musical world where I am comfortable.
What if some fans scream "sell-out" when they see your new album on Relapse?
I like that fact that people can actually find one of our records now. Let's be honest here, Relapse is not throwing around piles of cash. Our recording budget is still what it was before. We all still have jobs. Cris and Bobby have kids. I'm unemployed right now, and Cris pretty much lives out of his car. We struggle and we make what we want, music-wise, as -16-. (Relapse)