Enduring, seminal and nihilistic to the core – California’s 16 have reformed and bounced back with the most intense, bleak and powerful album of their lengthy career. There’s no optimism here, throughout this awesome sludge-packed dirty affair Cris Jerue and Co. fist-fuck their way through 12 vignettes of how shit life can be. In fact, the titles alone sum up the mood of this album. The soundtrack to a life of living in the gutter? You bet!
From 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. Jerue doesn't use his seething clean vocals as much as on previous albums, preferring a more direct approach to voluntary laryngitis. 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.
California crossover sludge-meisters 16 have been plying their trade since the early '90s, but their output has been sporadic. Bridges to Burn is their first full-length release since 2003. The music on Bridges to Burn is driven by Bobby Ferry's guitars. His thick and heavy riffs are the backbone supporting the behemoth that is 16. Sludgy downtuned doom is sharpened by sharp hardcore edges and periodic breakdowns. Cris Jerue's vocals are hardcore yells, delivered with maximum volume and anger. His self-loathing lyrics aren't exactly puppies and sunshine, with lines like "this is the worst day of my life," but his misery is our pleasure. Bridges to Burn is a welcome return by 16.