Personnel: Bobby Ferry (guitar); Dion Thurman (drums).
Audio Mixer: Jeff Forrest .
Recording information: Doubletime Recording Studio, San Diego, CA.
The seventh studio long-player from the veteran Southern California sludge rockers, Lifespan of a Moth distills all that is bruising and uncompromising about 16 into a viscera-stained, eight-track calling card with incredibly sharp edges. What the self-produced effort lacks in vocal dynamics -- Cris Jerue's commanding growl, while dialed in emotionally, is imprisoned in static, factory pre-set distortion and delay -- it more than makes up for in sheer doomy might. "Peaches, Cream, and the Placenta" and "Absolute Center of a Pitch Black Heart," the former an unrelenting slab of vintage West Coast sludge and the latter a pitch-perfect hybrid of Bay Area thrash and NWOBHM-blasted stoner metal, bristle with pre-dawn highway psychosis. That nervy, post-lost weekend twitch also fuels the propulsive opener "Landloper," which pairs the lawless refrain "live now -- pay later" with an equally nihilistic, blues-kissed groove. Even "Gallows Humor," a psych-tinged, nearly seven-and-a-half-minute instrumental, feels locked-in and vital, like a storm rolling into the great expanse of the Mojave. As pioneers of the genre, alongside stalwart sludge institutions like Acid Bath, Eyehategod, and Crowbar, 16 could just sit back, dial it in, and let the midtempo waves crash along the beach and disappear into the seagrass. Instead, they're continuing to take aim at every boat, house, and unsuspecting beachgoer who dares to come close to the edge, and they're doing so with extreme prejudice. ~ James Christopher Monger