16

Curves That Kick

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The debut CD by California-based sludgy noise-rockers 16 is like the edgy aggression that hangs thick in the air just before a bar fight, translated into music. Like Eyehategod, 16's lyrics are collections of nasty images and crude but highly articulate hostility -- lines like "These damn hiccups are bringing me down/I'm tired of reasons, it's time to fistfight" are both hilarious and off-putting at once. The music sounds nothing like Eyehategod, though; on this album, originally released in 1993, the group owes much more to the Amphetamine Reptile noise-rock sound of the time. Indeed, vocalist Cris Jerue, his voice fed through distortion throughout, frequently sounds surprisingly like Helmet's Page Hamilton. The band's thunderous guitar riffs and huge, throbbing bass sound, accentuated by bursts of noise -- they're more likely to end a song with 40 seconds of feedback, as on "Astroglide," than play a guitar solo -- keep the energy level high. Despite the fatalism in the lyrics, musically, 16 crank up and rock out.

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