Although sludge is usually seen as a southern staple, it also had a notable West Coast presence in its early years, with bands like Noothgrush outta Oakland and 16 from L.A., not LA. Like many early sludge outfits, 16’s discography is marked with a whole buncha splits and 7-inches, but The Lifespan of a Moth now marks this outfit’s seventh album… four years after their last Relapse release, Deep Cuts from Dark Clouds.
This one opens somewhat deceptively with seagulls and children playing, but it’s not long before the band settles into a sludgy mid-paced groove à la Noothgrush or High on Fire. They slow things down a notch on pre-release single “Peaches, Cream and the Placenta,” a pretty solid Crowbaresque piece of downtuned doom, complete with Windstein-style windmill breakdowns. “The Morphinist” offers up another strong dose of heavy riffage, although this one is laced with a few more mellow passages.
“Gallows Humor” slows things down even further, a devastatingly heavy piece of sludgy doom that reminds me of YOB. “Pastor in a Coma” also contains traces of Scheidt-like heaviness, and some neck-breaking stop-start riffage, before “George” delivers the final blow, a slithering, stuttering sludge-metal slamfest. This is even better than their last record.