Games Meet Metal: Going post-hardcore with 16-The Riff Review

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Going post-hardcore with 16-The Riff Review

My experience with post-hardcore has been pretty limited. I got into the kings of the genre, Helmet, way back in my high school. I had no idea there was an entire genre based around this form and tempo of music. All I did know was that "In The Meantime" was one hell of an album and "Unsung" was a goddamn anthem! I also listened to another band on the genre, Quicksand, but beyond that I was pretty damn ignorant of the great music being put out by this underground movement.

Now, thanks to a renaissance in digitally cleaned-up re-releases, a lot of old post-hardcore albums are finding their way into people's hands in unheard-of clarity. One band, 16, is the current flavor of the moment, having two of their releases given the cleaned up treatment.

Curves That Kick (originally released in 1993) and Drop Out (originally released in 1996) were 16's debut releases, and are fill of the angst and anger that you would find plenty of hardcore. The great thing of the "post" version of hardcore is it's simplicity. It's still in your face, but it doesn't have the "I don't give too fucks about you" mentality, instead actually making you listen to the music. Heavy emphasis is on the bass guitar and bass in general, as everything gets a nice tune-down to help reinforce the groove.

Both records come dangerously close to being super sludge metal, but the vocals save the day. Lead singer Cris Jerue isn't singing about demons and toking on a pipe here, no sir. This is good old 90's teen angst, but in such a powerful vein that it would make Kurt Cobain blush. If their history is any clue, then they have plenty to be angsty about. Constant line-up changes, heroin overdoses, and not being able to tour for Drop Out, which earned major critical acclaim. Yeah, I'd be pretty pissed too.

If forced to make a choice, I would pick Drop Out over Curves That Kick, but either on is worth a look if you were into Helmet back in the day. 16 would of been a perfect fit on Amphetamine Records, the original home of post-hardcore, and are actually a pretty good fit for the metalcore crowd of today. However, if you're new to this genre, I would give a listen to Helmet first, and of you like what you hear, then go get yourself some 16.

Final scores: Curves That Kick-Rippin!   Drop Out-Slaytanic!

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