-(16)-
Lifespan of a Moth
(Relapse Records)

Like a blanket of darkening oceanic mist, long time L.A. sludge legions -(16)- crash the shore in waves of mighty hardcore fever, psychedelic spells, doom-laden apexes, and darkened wizardry. The veteran band dances the quicksand of down-tuned magic behind the ever-resourceful guitarist and founder Bobby Ferry, and the punishing vocalist and co-founder Cris Jerue. There are enough cool and varied intricacies on their newest slab of pain Lifespan of a Moth, to keep you invested, sparkled, and entwined for the whole entirety: leaving you satisfied, right, and swamped.

The sludge these particular purveyors sculpt is an engaging one. Forging a mix of L.A. hardcore, grungy-formality, ‘90s noise rock sensibility, and an ever-so-progressive ascendance, their new album moves like a poetic water curl: punishing, crystal, calm, wavering, and varied. And this is the record’s unique charm and ultimate character: it can soar, it can bleed, and ultimately—it transcends its form. The album lives within and without itself, tests its limits, and finally stretches out. The epic instrumental “Gallows Humor”, bridges the divide of land, sea, and sky: a highly resonate jam that builds and wrecks. It’s perfectly angled to the album’s syntax, and through it, you sort of you grasp the totality of the band in its full dreamy stew.

The album is structured in a way to allow absolute space for the band to perform its special séance. There’s a lot of black magic in this record and it stomps forcefully in the underground of its full vision. There are some slightly underwhelming tones through. Vocalist Cris Jerue is sort of mechanized in a way slightly unfamiliar. The industrial feel of his bark at times fails to synchronize wholly with the more organic instrumentation of (-16-)’s inner structure. Jerue is still a beast though: churning and preaching with a real hardcore bent, and ultimately, he transcends and leads in his distinct way.

“Pastor In A Coma” partakes in the ultimate form bender, with almost jazz interludes and progression extension: it’s really a cool song. The band is so solid and straight through the whole of Lifespan of a Moth; that you’re left wanting more. You’re thinking this is the sort of band that could push out even further; extending their moods, their visions, and their pulsing sludge. (Christopher J. Harrington)

Purchase Lifespan of a Moth here.

4-stars

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