16 Volt - "FullBlackHabit"

16volt_fullblackhabit.jpgrating-3.0Label: Metropolis Records
Year: 2007

16 Volt has done what I never imagined they could as I drove around listening to their CD's while delivering pizza in 1998: they've gotten boring.

The "they" in this case is really just Eric Powell. His technical construction is there, but all of the catchiness of his tracks has somehow dissolved in the long, hard decade it's taken him to create a new album. This decade has left the bodies of bandmates and tracks along the way, leaving us with an attempt to return to the guitar-industrial tone of "Supercoolnothing" with this release, adding in some of the melody of Ringer, his emo sideproject with Crazytown/Virus 23's Krayge Tyler, and stripping down the electronics of ye olde industrial days to leave more of a layer of programming coated with the metal riffs of "Supercoolnothing".

In fact, if anything, it feels like many of these riffs are just recycled from the last album, which he seems to have subsisted off the memory of for this last decade, young listeners preferring his almost nu-metal sound to that of earlier gems like "Wisdom" and "Skin", where he really showed his talent for song contruction.

The softer touches of the album and the recycling of the catchy "Suffering You" from the limbo of the past decade's songwriting still doesn't bring this album up to the par of any of his other work. The younger fans will love it, as it has plenty of rawk-ass tracks to get down to at the nearest date of 16 Volt's inevitable tour. The little moshers out there will appreciate half of the album, the more nuanced listener will prefer the other half, and many of the old-school listeners will just not get this assemblage of rock-industrial tracks. I think I may be in the third camp.

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