16 Volt

The Best of Sixteen Volt: 1993-2003

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It's impressive that 16 Volt have lasted for close to two decades, especially considering the various hassles the band has undergone in that period, including early releases on underfunded indie labels and, worst of all, the abortive release of the group's sole major-label album, 1998's SuperCoolNothing, which only barely trickled out on the Mercury label after a new regime cut the funding for all new acts. It's particularly impressive because, frankly, 16 Volt are little more than a retread of ideas better explored by Skinny Puppy and Nine Inch Nails. This two-disc set does contain the best tracks from the four albums leader Eric Powell and company released in the specified time frame, but that's not really saying much. Strictly by-the-numbers industrial synth thud topped with Powell's anonymous vocals and banal "everything sucks" lyrics, The Best of Sixteen Volt: 1993-2003 is only for the most die-hard genre purists; the addition of an 11-track live set recorded at Chicago's Cabaret Metro in 2003 might entice hardcore fans who already have the songs on disc one, which makes its muddy sound (Powell's vocals are largely inaudible, and not in the way that vocals are usually buried in the mix in this style of music) and sloppy performances something of an insult.

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