Static-X were formed when Smashing Pumpkin’s Billy Corgan introduced vocalist/guitarist Wayne Static to drummer Ken Jay in a record store where Ken Jay worked. They then decided to move to California and start a band. Guitarist Koichi Fukada and bassist Tony Campos then joined the band shortly afterwards in response to an add in the newspaper.
In 1998, Static-X signed to Warner Brothers and released ‘Wisconsin Death Trip” a year later. In 2001 Koichi Fukada was replaced with former ‘Dope’ guitarist Tripp Eisen for their ‘Machine’ album.
Two years later Static-X re-entered the studio to record ‘Shadow Zone’.
The album kicks off with a total mess of metal in the form of ‘Destroy All’. The walls of down tuned guitars, barely audible bass and pounding drums make this song (along with most others on the album) just sound like static (how ironic). It also doesn’t make things any better that Wayne Static’s voice sounds very similar to Korn’s Jonathon Davis and to make matters even worse he has somehow managed to include stupid lines like “My head’s a loaded gun waiting to go off, DESTROY!”
The next three songs, ‘Control It’, ‘New Pain’ and the title track all sound very similar and seem to eventually fade into each other with the guitars constantly thudding no more than two or three notes. Also the drums seem to have been flattened into an annoying harsh hissing sound in the background (which just makes everything sound more like static). None of these three songs seem all too original with the chorus of ‘Control It’ being the only standout. “Life control it, life withhold it, suffer you’re skinny, torn you’re wasted”. I personally have no idea what he is talking about but it’s probably got something to do with Jesus.
The next two songs ‘Dead World’ and ‘Monster’ are barely distinguishable from each other and really are very poor songs. Both have the typical one note thudding guitars (that seem to give you a headache after a while), the faint clicking drum machine in the background and not a bass note in sight. Also both have hilariously atrocious lyrics with keywords including:
- Dead/Die (used 12 times)
- Kill/Killer/Killing (used 4 times)
Both of these tracks are worth skipping and really don’t add to the album at all (if anything they just make it worse). My personal highlight out of both these songs is in ‘Dead World’ (sometime after the third use of the word ‘Dead’) when Wayne spits out “King of my world, I eat my cake”. Great lyrics in my opinion, it just never get old.
The next song is ‘The Only’. This is by far the best song of the album and I have to admit it is very catchy, it is songs like this that make nu-metal bearable. Starting with a little drum fill, the guitar then explode in and this time they are actually doing more of a rhythm and lead playing instead of just both guitars thudding away on the same down tuned note. Also during the verses the bass is audible (try to control your amazement) and the drums are actually fairly alright. If all Static-X songs were this good then they wouldn’t be half bad, sure it’s no classic masterpiece but it is a decent and catchy Static song.
After the great previous track the album then takes a dip with the next three songs. ‘Kill Your Idols’, ‘All In Wait’ and ‘Otsegolectric’ all sound very similar and are overall just awful songs. The lyrics are redundant, the guitars are generic, the drums are an annoying click and the bass is… wait a minute, what bass? Overall these are another three tracks to skip.
Then we come to ‘So’. This is probably the second best track off the album (right behind ‘The Only’). As in ‘The Only’ the guitars seem to follow a more rhythm and lead type of thing instead of just thudding away randomly, the bass in more audible (especially in the verses) and do I hear a piano?
Although the lyrics are nothing special they fit the song well enough and manage to be reasonably catchy with Wayne screaming in the chorus’s “Pushing you away, away from me”. Overall a decent example of a nu-metal ballad.
Next there is ‘Transmission’, which if anything, is a failed attempt on trying to make a scary sounding slab of filler between the nu-metal ballad ‘So’ and the next slower song ‘Invincible’. As with many of the songs off the album I actually have no idea what the lyrics are about but then I guess that doesn’t really matter, it’s nu-metal isn’t it?
Overall this is an adequate finish to the album, nothing special but it’s fitting.
What I Liked About The Album?
Unfortunately there aren’t many things that I do like about the album. A few songs are rather catchy but there are no real stand outs apart from ‘The Only’
What I Didnt Like About The Album?
This may be a bit longer than the previous heading. All of the guitar riffs sound very similar and are very generic to the nu-metal genre. Lots and lots of thudding out down tuned power chords that don’t really fit that well together in the first place. The bass is very rarely audible and in the rare occasion where it is audible it is usually just following the same pattern as the guitars and not doing anything un-orthodox or crazy.
The drums (as I have bitched about numerous times before in this review) sound quite flattened and just end up being an annoying and inadequate clicking noise in the background. The vocals sound unmistakably like Jonathan Davis and the lyrics are truly awful with all the lyrics seemingly revolving around keywords like: Kill, Hate, Destroy, Torn, Terror and Self Destruct.
The sound production also isn’t very decent and all these weaknesses from the instruments just sound even worse and more highlighted in the recordings. All these factors end up just sounding like one thing…Static.
- The Only (4/5)
- So (3.5/5)
Overall, if you are into nu-metal then this may be okay for you. But if you are already sickened by the genres generic lyrics and down tuned guitars just stay away from this. Static-X are nothing special and probably never will be. 2/5