For me, the past few 16Volt records have been growers. Albums like Supercoolnothing and FullBlackHabit instantly made me fall in love with the Eric Powell-led industrial outfit but subsequent releases took a little more time for the same feelings to come back to the surface. Which is the great thing about 16Volt of today, while not as immediate as before they get better and better the more you listen and their latest (The Negative Space) is no exception as it delves into wholly new territory to phenomenal results.
“The Electric Pope” proves that from the start with its’ abrasive and in-your-face aural explosion, almost like a segue from Black December: a little more metal, a little less industrial. But that all changes real quick. “The Internal Paramour”, on the other hand, has that classic 16Volt sound: grinding guitars, tribal thumping, and Powell switching between a visceral snarl and his uncanny croon
“The Last Time” is a sonic treat and a half with guitars that just scream over a cacophony of noise until Powell’s smooth delivery enters steadily swelling into a new 16Volt anthem. “The Greatest Worst Thing Ever” follows the clean vocal trend with an almost hypnotic buzz building from the guitars.
Later in the album, Powell’s songwriting genius shines in full with a couple of tracks that could be 16Volt stand out’s for years to come due to the uniqueness of each within the band discography. First up is “The Ever Immortal Nurse” which is airy and, dare I say, catchy? Yep, it’s catchy alright with an undeniable groove on top but still branded with that 16Volt sheen so you’ll know you’re in the right place.
The same can’t be said for “The Heavy Dreams” which starts with a simple keyboard and drum line before Allison Scharf makes her breathy entrance. The song will have listeners checking their listening device to make sure this is still a 16Volt album (I know I did) with its glittering pianos, undeniable beat, and Powell’s whispered harmonies buried underneath. If that wasn’t enough, a gritty cover of “The Man Comes Around” (Originally by Johnny Cash) follows with…is that a bagpipe in there? Yep, it is. And yep, The Negative Space is definitely the most diverse 16Volt album to date.
The Negative Space is out on September 14th to the masses. If you were a real fan you would’ve pledged and gotten yours already but if you missed the memo, head here to grab your copy then here for tour dates and more on this still thriving industrial juggernaut.