16Volt
AMERICANPORNSONGS


3.5
great

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
August 20th, 2009 | 134 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 16Volt return with the most consistent and diverse album of their career. Crushing industrial delivered in a post punk wrapper.

When I first received this album I didn’t really have a lot of time to listen to it. I think I may have played the first song and possibly the second, at most. My first impressions were that this was a total let-down. Here was a band that had released four albums of crushing industrial delivered through a gritty post punk wrapper and suddenly they sounded weak and uninspired. I have to admit that I only made it through the first three tracks the next few times I played this, and from there I started to develop the review in my head. I was fully prepared to drop such overused clichés as “phoning it in” and “oh, how the mighty have fallen” without shame. I was going to compare their new sound to the mainstream approach of Filter except without the good songwriting, adequate vocalist, or energy. Of course, I completely intended on eventually forcing myself through the rest of the album, but I figured that it was going to be more of the same and that the review was pretty much already written itself in my head.

I finally gave in to the fact that in order to adequately review this I needed to force myself through the entire album at least once. As I had a few times in the past, I struggled through the first three tracks while hoping that the album would be short. The problem is that once the fourth track started playing, the album did a complete 180 and it continued down this path for the rest of its duration. This left me conflicted since I now had an album that was just as cool as their older stuff, but I also had a fairly complete review that was now total ***. I decided to compromise by not trying to write another professional-style review, and instead tell a story of how laziness and pre-conceived notions can bite you in the ass. I can’t really explain why the band would include the first three tracks at all (except to throw off assholes like me), but when the title track kicks in it’s totally apparent that they have returned with another great album.

Not only did they return with a great new album, they also continued to further push the evolution of their sound. 16Volt had always delivered their brand of industrial through a post punk filter (think Pandemonium-era Killing Joke), but their sound was still cold and mechanical. On this album, the band took on a more organic sound that owes as much to post punk as it does the alt. industrial of bands such as Stabbing Westward and Machines of Loving Grace. The riffs aren’t simply crushing walls of sound anymore and, instead, have their own identities that can be catchy one moment and gritty the next. This change, on its own, could have solved one of the band’s biggest problems (the tendency for their albums to become repetitive), but it wasn’t the only adjustment they made – the band’s songwriting has also improved immensely since SuperCoolNothing (I know there’s an album between that one and this one, but I’ve never heard it).

The song writing has improved in a number of ways, but the most prominent enhancement is through the band’s improved use of electronics and beats which more fully integrate with the songs. Also, they’ve diversified the types of songs present on the album. In the past it seemed that the band knew how to write two types of songs – crushing industrial anthems and plodding mellow tracks. They still have plenty of heavy industrial songs, but they’ve also learned how to create mellow tracks (such as “It Turns All Bad”) that aren’t boring. In addition, they’ve got a new type of song that takes a more mainstream approach to their sound. Songs such as “To Hell” take high-energy beats, strong vocal melodies, and catchy choruses and combine them to create songs that would appeal to the mainstream industrial crowd (those that believe that Static X should be anywhere on a top industrial list). The only real problem with this album (besides those three opening tracks) is its overall length. Despite every song being good (except the obvious exclusions), the album ultimately ends up suffering from its overly-long run time. At fifteen tracks, it could have benefited from the removal of about five songs in order to lend it a punchier, more direct feel.

Pre-conceived notions are a bitch. Based on the merit of the first three tracks, this album is a complete failure. They feel like watered-down Filter tracks that Richard Patrick would never even consider using. The problem is that they don’t end up being representative of the album at all. The rest of the album is a great continuation of the band’s sound, but with a stronger sense of songwriting, more developed riffs and a lot more diversity. This is an album that uses the cold, sterile electronics of industrial as its base but delivers them with intensity and punk attitude, as well as a powerful, organic sound. This is an album that proves, once again, that all the hype that has been thrown at this band since its inception is justified and is well worth picking up for anyone into industrial metal that’s looking for a little more effort in the songwriting department.



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user ratings (24)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
August 20th 2009


16145 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You can download the band's first four albums for free from their website (I'd start with SCN V2.0 (SuperCoolNothing) and work backwards through their discography).

http://16volt.com/downloads/

Also, check out the short song samples located on this review. The first song is the crappy opening track, and the second sample is the start of the good part of this album.

Edit: Also, I know this isn't out until the 8th but there's 3 albums released on that date that I potentially want to review and I don't want to flood the staff area all at once.

Digging: Mors Principium Est - Dawn Of The 5th Era

Spare
August 20th 2009


5448 Comments


sounds badass. fisterbuttin' review.

Digging: Forth Wanderers - Tough Love

Waior
August 20th 2009


11461 Comments


Yeah, really excellent review. Interest is surely piqued.

Willie
Moderator
August 20th 2009


16145 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks. I think this is the fastest I've ever pushed out a review. It was just a single pass and one proof-read. My entire original review was ruined, and I was feeling too lazy to fix my mistake.

Spare
August 20th 2009


5448 Comments


you did well *pats on back*

bloc
August 20th 2009


35025 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

not a fan of these guys, but i didn't know they had a new one; i'll still check it out.

Willie
Moderator
August 20th 2009


16145 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Even if you didn't like their old stuff, there is still a chance that you could like this. It's better and slightly different than their old stuff.

Zip
August 20th 2009


5312 Comments


Orange Insect is an intriguing track name

greg84
Staff Reviewer
August 20th 2009


7463 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'll definitely check them out. Excellent review!

BallsToTheWall
August 20th 2009


44805 Comments


hmmmm.....

Digging: Pink Turns Blue - If Two Worlds Kiss

Willie
Moderator
August 20th 2009


16145 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Has anyone listened to the short song samples on this review?

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
August 20th 2009


8391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

great review Trey, seriously one of your best ever, i really enjoyed it.

You know what, I am feeling the industrial call today so i am going to spin some Celldweller and then I will listen to this album or get to that compilation. Which option do you suggest?

Also one thing i'd like to point out is that you use "Crushing industrial " or "crushing riffs" a few times and that's fine, but just the album that I have listened to so far (Wisdom) is pretty far from "crushing" tbh.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
August 20th 2009


7463 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yep. American Porn Song sounds awesome.

Willie
Moderator
August 20th 2009


16145 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@Metalstyles: listen to either one. The first compilation is mainstream industrial. Not really dark or heavy. The 16Volt album you listened to was their debut - worse production, primative ideas. of the free albums SCN V2.0 is the best. People seem to like this review and it was written in one sitting. Maybe I should stop over thinking my reviews.

@Greg: yeah. That song is really good and there are better on the album. This isn't out until September 8th, so it's not on sale and I have no idea if it has leaked. It gives you the chance to try one or two of their older albums first.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
August 20th 2009


8391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

well Celldweller (which i am hugely digging atm and I am going to haunt you until you check that stuff out) isn't dark or heavy, but nor is it mainstream. So I guess I have a dilemma on my hands. I guess I will listen to the Celldweller for another 30 minutes, then start dl-ing 16volt and start lsitening to that compilation simultaneously

Willie
Moderator
August 20th 2009


16145 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm going to check them out (and Crossbreed). What album by CellDweller? Your plan for checking out the compilation is probably the best idea.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
August 20th 2009


8391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yep, just a few Celldwller songs left that I want to listen to and then i'll get to the compilation.

Celldweller's self-titled is great, get that. As for Crossbreed I am happy you are willing to give them a go. The only thing by them atm is as you know, the New Slave Nation Ep, that you could enjoy a little but they have uploaded all the previews of the new album to their myspace and imo it is just going to slay so much. You could just wait for that as it's not that much left anymore (only about a month or so). I actually contacted Driven Muisc Group so that they could send me a copy, but they haven't replied. Bastards. Should have mentioned I am a reviweer haha

Willie
Moderator
August 20th 2009


16145 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ok I'll try to find the debut for CellDweller and I'll wait for the full lenghth for the other band. Just so you know, the mods frown on people trying to use this site as a way to get free music from labels. I think it's a permaban type offence.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
August 20th 2009


8391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

no I didn't say anythign about Sputnik, I didn't even mention i am a reviewer, I just asked them if they would send me a copy. For cash of course.

Willie
Moderator
August 20th 2009


16145 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I know, but you joked about telling them you were and I didn't want you getting trouble.



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