ROTW: Phantom Limb!

Sorry for the absence of Record Of The Week posts here since summer (and they had already really become Records Of The Month posts, to be honest). It's not like there haven't been plenty of great candidates in the last little long while – heck, a new Slough Feg came out in June, and the sophomore Apprentice Destroyer album Permanent Climbing Monolith should have been a ROTW in September, too – but other things intervened. You can check out our as-yet-to-be-completed year end lists to see what some of our faves were, that we probably should have written up here had we had time.

But anyway, here's one last Record Of The Week entry before the new year: a NEW freakin' album by underground European industrial jazzcore titans 16-17! Phantom Limb, the band's first full-length since Gyatso in 1994, due for vinyl release on January 3rd via the Trost label, was actually mostly laid to tape back in 1995 but was never completed or released before 16-17 ended their original eighteen-year run in the year 2000. Then, in 2018, raving vokills courtesy of Oxbow's uniquely talented Eugene Robinson were added to the mix, and now this surprise slab of new noise from these old faves is finally about to be unleashed. Talk about a blast from the past...

Led as always by Swiss sax-abuser Alex Buess, the line-up for this 'new' version of 16-17 includes members of Alboth! and Techno Animal along with the aforementioned Eugene from the mighty Oxbow. And they deliver all the industrial crushing chaos and distorto-jazz-dirge we could hope for, unlike any other outfit ever, still sounding like an unholy melding of Godflesh and Borbetomagus, perhaps, or Author & Punisher playing free jazz – with extra added Oxbow-ification.

The seven tracks here are a devastating onslaught, with moments of real beauty amidst all the cavernous electronic atmospherics, cathartic cries, intense saxophone squeals, and mechanized percussive brutality. It won't be a bad thing if more of 2020 harks back to the 1990s just like this...

RIYL: God, Oxbow, Combat Astronomy, Peter Brotzmann