16 - Bridges To Burn (Relapse/Riot)

Imagine if Sam Kinison started a metal band and they made a record. This album would basically be it. Read on for an account of one of the year's best...

Right, no nonsense this time. Straight into it…

Get this record. Get it get it get it get it get it. It’s one of the best of 2009 by a pissing mile.

No jokes, Bridges to Burn is a nigh on perfect album. For me at least.

You probably know by now, if you’ve read any of the other bollocks I’ve written here, that I’m pretty much a relentlessly negative wanker. Seriously, I hate everything and everyone. 16, God bless them, are one of the few bands that manage to completely articulate my utter misanthropy. The lyrics are beautifully downbeat and filled with regret, hatred and bitterness, and not a bit of it is false. ‘Throw in the towel, wait for the sequel’ roars Cris Jerue, over a barrage of primal riffs that recall Eyehategod in their fugged out heyday.

Lyrics like that could sound pretty insincere in the hands of any other dickhead, but Jerue (who’s gone through some… problems) roars it with the conviction of a fucked off preacher. It’s enthrallingly genuine and pissed off, and if you’ve ever gone through times where you’ve felt utterly defeated by life, it’s gloriously relatable. ‘Suicidal death wish! All because of you! So broken down!’ It’s fucking perfect. Jerue perfectly manages to articulate the feeling of utter hopelessness that follows a breakup. There’s no flowery, artsy language to hide his anger. In an age where stoner bands sing songs about Vikings and fucking Conan, hearing someone roar ‘You made me suffer’ is nothing short of fantastic.

It isn’t just a win on the lyrical front though. The music is equally direct. This is some of the best sludgy doom you’re ever likely to come across. The guitars have a killer tone and the drums crush harder than Beth Ditto during a particularly vicious bout of menstruation. There’s nothing complicated, It’s killer riff after killer riff. See all those shitty ‘sludge’ bands like The Sword and Baroness? You know, the ones with the cool t-shirts, beards and all the musical character of a sentient piece of cardboard? Never in their wildest DREAMS could they come up with stuff anywhere near as good as this. It’s refreshingly free of the widdly, wanky stodge that most stonery stuff comes with. It’s raw as a freshly fucked anus, and proves that there’s still a place for punchy primordial riffs.

It’s pretty hard to pick a standout track, as the whole album is pretty much ace, but the opening Throw in the Towel is a perfect opener. Man Interrupted meanwhile has the best dumbass riff that Sabbath never wrote. Flake slows things down even further and makes a mockery of anything that considers itself heavy. Picking a favourite out of a stellar collection is essentially futile though. It’s like trying to pick which member of Girls Aloud you’d violate (if you must know, the ginger one).

Basically this is essential, and easily one of the best records of 2009. If you can go back and enjoy that shitty stoner band ‘de jour’ after listening to this, you’re a fucking pleb. Seriously. Go get! And wallow in the most raucous self-pity ever.

16's Bridges to Burn is out now on Relapse/Riot.