Apart from 2017’s split with Fistula, I’m unfamiliar with -(16)- and their work, although I’ve been aware of their existence for decades. Due to their pedigree, and the fact that the press blurb recommends them for fans of Crowbar, Eyehategod, Down, Helmet, Melvins, Acid Bath, and Weedeater, I was sure Dream Squasher merited checking out.
I was right. What we get is 43 minutes of riffs, vitriol, misery, and fury. But also heart. This is filthy, nasty sludge metal from America’s South, sharing obvious kinship with many of the above-mentioned bands, while still having its own identity. Honestly, listening to this is like being transported back to the 90s for me; Dream Squasher has that same sort of vibrant, creative, honest vibe that so much music seemed to have then, (and of course you can still find today if you know where to look, case in point).
These songs are charismatic and expressive, snarling with punk rage, crushing with doom workouts, and demolishing with blues-tinged sludge riffs. Of the latter, there are plenty, and of high quality. There’s depth of delivery here too, with nuance and atmosphere appearing alongside the aggression, helping to foster a good sense of variety across the album. Yes, these tracks are well-written and contain a surprising amount of hooks and general catchiness. -(16)- clearly know how to write sludge.
I really enjoyed this, so make sure you check this out. Very highly recommended.