But Listen: 060: 16Volt – FullBlackHabit

Nine years is a long, long time in music. And incredibly, this is the time since the (first) release of the last album from Eric Powell’s now long-running “band”. Supercoolnothing arrived in 1998, and was re-released in 2002 with additional remixes, and other than a “Best-of” (covering just three albums) since, little else had been heard until the last year or so.


Label: Metropolis
Catalog#: MET 493
Buy from: Metropolis Records


The first re-appearance was a collaboration with Cyanotic on the Glitch Mode compilation Hordes Of The Elite – an immense version of American Porn Song, that had appeared in a live format on the “best of”, but was here supercharged into something else entirely. Which makes it all the more odd that a version doesn’t appear here, as was trailed in the liner notes for the compilation.

The good thing is, there are easily four songs that are the equal of this – all of which rock like bastards. Come For You impresses with his hard-hitting beats and whispered vocals, before exploding into a huge, bounding chorus, Cables & Wires nearly takes the floor out with it’s skittering drum’n’bass – particularly the bass – before Suffering You unleashes a guitar-led assault on fakery. Considering the venom contained in the lyrics and delivery, it is something Eric Powell feels particularly strongly about…The Defect People is the last of the quartet, appearing later in the album, constructed around an incessant drum beat and a breathless chorus.

The quality doesn’t just stretch to the more “metal” tracks, either. The slower And You Are All Alone Again has no guitars at all, but instead has a dreamy, spaced-out feel that can’t help but suck you in, and The End Of It All does it’s best to keep the same feel but at least for the chorus begins to feel like the lighters should be raised aloft.

Amazingly enough, little really has changed too much after all these years in view of the 16Volt sound – The Error‘s bass-heavy chug sounds like it could fit right in on LetDownCrush, and Feel It Through wouldn’t be too far behind. In fact, there is only really one truly weak moment on the album – the mawkish, whining Therapy that closes the album. Eric Powell’s strongest moments are when he is on the attack, not on the back foot.

Against all the odds – the setbacks, the duff label deals, just about everything else – this is a triumphant return. It’s almost as if they never went away, which for once is a really good thing. Let’s just hope this resurgence is kept up without another nine year wait, eh?

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