16Volt
Beating Dead Horses


2.5
average

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
May 10th, 2011 | 26 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 'One step forward and two steps back' has never been a more appropriate way to describe a 16Volt release.

16Volt should be better than they are, but they just can’t seem to get their formula right. The band started as a straight-up industrial act, but they really hit their stride when they started to incorporate a post punk aesthetic that instantly caused their sound to become much more organic and powerful. The issue is that they didn’t stop there. Almost since the moment they established their core sound, they have been trying to figure out the best way to make it more accessible without abandoning their roots. The band have actually been fairly successful at executing this goal, but they have always struggled with the mellower songs. In fact, Beating Dead Horses is the first album in the band’s career where they seem comfortable with writing these subtler songs, but they’ve also taken it too far. Beating Dead Horses is full of songs that lack the band’s typical energy levels and even the best aren’t good enough to carry the entire album while marginalizing their traditional strengths.

This problem won’t be apparent at first, because the album actually begins with its three strongest tracks; songs that work because they utilize the band’s strengths. Those strengths are, and always have been, the band’s ability to mix dirty riffs and rhythmic industrialized percussion with well-built hooks and appealing electronics. The album begins with the title track; a song that hits all the right buttons with its use of pounding beats, gritty, yet accessible riffs and a strong chorus that manages to be catchy despite being comprised of distorted shouts. The third track, “Fight or Flight”, takes the punk attitude even further by pushing the aggressive edge and upping the energy levels with a solid hardcore beat. Unfortunately, this level of energy is brief as the raucous industrial punk gives way to a mellower direction after only three tracks. The main problem on this album, however, isn’t the quality of the mellower songs (most aren’t bad, actually), it’s that there are so many of them.

After three tracks of vintage 16Volt, Beating Dead Horses spends its remaining time focused on mid-tempo songs that, at best, fail to make much of an impact when taken as a whole. These ‘at best’ songs really aren’t that bad on their own, but their impact is stifled by their sheer number and a handful of duds. Songs such as “Burn” are built on infectious beats and melodic electro influences that rely on the guitar riffs almost solely as a secondary instrument, and it works pretty well. The problem is that these songs still aren’t to a point where they can carry an album, and yet they dominate this one. This issue is exacerbated by the fact that there are still a few duds interspersed throughout the album as well. These subpar songs tend to be very lethargic and repetitious which causes them to bog down quickly. The overall effect is that the remaining nine tracks gradually descend into a rut that the album never really recovers from.

It’s a shame that 16Volt didn’t stick with the ideas that made the first three songs so compelling. The band’s blend of post punk and accessible industrial has always been second-to-none when done well, and these first three songs are proof of that. In fact, even if they had opted to include a few of the better subdued tracks, the album would have still been great because they’re definitely getting better at them. The problem is that there are a handful of these slower songs that fall totally flat and the other similar songs, while better, just don’t have the ability to help the album recover. You have to credit 16Volt for their persistence because their mellower songs are much better, but Beating Dead Horses proves that the band still aren’t good or consistent enough to try to release an entire album of them.



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user ratings (15)
Chart.
2.9
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2011


8357 Comments


Not too thrilled that they wrote an album mostly comprised of mellow songs, but at the same time, I do enjoy these guys so I think I'll still give this a go, it just won't go near the top of my list of things to check out.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
May 10th 2011


7041 Comments


Ill have to find this it seems

Blindsided
May 10th 2011


1871 Comments


Well I guess I'll pass this up.

Willie
Moderator
May 10th 2011


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It's a shame that they've gone this route. I remember reading that the album I've never heard (the one before AMERICANPORNSONGS) was the same way.

Digging: Necropoli - I

Acanthus
May 10th 2011


9542 Comments


What would be a good album from them then, as this one seems to be lacking? I'd like to start listening to their better work if I could.

Digging: Falls of Rauros - The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood

greg84
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2011


7391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Their previous album definitely. AMERICANPORNSONGS was a kick-ass industrial album. One of the best
releases of this kind lately for sure. I'll check this one out too. EDIT: Or at least the first three
tracks.

Digging: Lo-Pan - Colossus

bloc
May 10th 2011


34848 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

What did I tell ya ;)

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

pizzamachine
May 10th 2011


12571 Comments


Their last album was great, but I'll skip this one

Willie
Moderator
May 10th 2011


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

What would be a good album from them then, as this one seems to be lacking? I'd like to start listening to their better work if I could.
For the post punk/industrial mix then definitely try AmericanPornSongs. For a great straight up industrial album try Wisdom.

I'll check this one out too. EDIT: Or at least the first three
tracks.
The first four tracks are actually good, but it all gets pretty bogged down after that.

What did I tell ya
Yeah, yeah, yeah. New Skold and new ohGr came out today and both are really good.

bloc
May 11th 2011


34848 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

You know me man, I'm hardly into rock/industrial hybrids.

Willie
Moderator
May 11th 2011


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Try the new OhGr at least. It's not rock/industrial and it's streaming online (I just posted the news).

bloc
May 11th 2011


34848 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I gave it a peek, I doubt I will be able to get into it.

Willie
Moderator
May 11th 2011


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Damn. I think Ogre is one of industrial's best frontmen. Oh well.

Willie
Moderator
May 11th 2011


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Someone gave this a 3.5 -- maybe it's worth some of you looking into. I just don't think these guys have ever done the slow, mellow thing very well and even though it's better here they definitely included too many of those songs.

bloc
May 12th 2011


34848 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It was probably the guy from 16Volt.

But tbh I am going to check this out because I was listening back to their other albums and I prefer it much more when they slow their asses down.

Willie
Moderator
May 12th 2011


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Really? I like their louder, noisier songs. Maybe this will work better for you.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
May 13th 2011


7391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is really good. I actually prefer it to this Skold album.

Willie
Moderator
May 13th 2011


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Really? To each their own, I guess. I just don't like all the damn slow songs on here -- I think I made that clear already ;)

What puts this one over the Skold album?

greg84
Staff Reviewer
May 14th 2011


7391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think vocals. I for one don't think Skold is a very good singer, but to be fair I only gave his album one spin. As for 16Volt, this record is obviously mellowed out and has this NIN feel to it, which may be only a plus for me. Their beats are sick on this album. I also appreciate the fact that they're making attempts to evolve with every new release. This isn't AMERICANPORNSONGS2 for sure.

Willie
Moderator
May 14th 2011


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I agree about Skold's vocals and even put it in the review. The vocals on this remind me of a gritty Richard Patrick (I think that's his name... the Filter singer). I'm not a big fan of NIN either so if there is that kind of vibe then I wouldn't probably take to it. They definitely try to evolve with every release. Just listen to Wisdom and then this.



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