Review Summary: The target is safe with Static-X's latest effort
So, Static-X has brought out a new album" OK, I'll check it out. I'm a bit wary though because they have not had a good run since their first album, Wisconsin Death Trip. It must be hard being one of those bands always having to top your first album. Having said that, I liked Machine and Start A War and a couple of songs on Shadow Zone, and I heard this album would be more metal with some solos and whatnot...
Wrong. This would have to be one of the sloppiest albums I have bought in some time. Gone are the catchy beats that made Static-X songs fun. Gone is the aggression that made them interesting. Gone are standout songs that anchored their previous albums.
Let me elaborate; the album opens up with the title track Cannibal. No, hang on. It opens with noise and Static yelling for a couple of bars, then some weird electronic beat. Finally the song starts and it is promising. A nice riff, catchy beat, Static's vocals in typical form. The difference between this and previous album openers, such as Push It and Get To The Gone, is this has no punch to let you know you are listening to a metal album. It kind of meanders through not doing a lot until the mediocre end where they repeat the horrible start of the song. John 5, apparent guitar maestro, contributes the first solo of the album which does not fit into the song at all, something which will be repeated throughout on every single song.
Wayne Static, the band's chief writer, seems to have adopted a taste for stop-start riffs and singing. There are a lot of verses on the album where you are trying to follow where they are going but end up frustrated. Where Wisconsin Death Trip had riffs which seemed to flow individually and between each other, Cannibal has you slamming on the brakes then hitting the gas over and over. As a result the songs, and album as a whole lacks flow.
Some noise was made about the solos on Cannibal. It seems that this was decided before any of the songs were written though, as they all seem forced into the songs. Many of the tracks do not need or want a solo, but a meaningless recitation of some bars is slapped into every song. To confirm what you just read, yes every solo sounds similar, and every song has one of these solos.
What about the catchy songs Static-X used to write" There are remnants of this strewn throughout the album. Cannibal starts off ok, but like I said earlier lacks the killer punch when they fail to raise the intensity. Chemical Logic has a cool fast riff used in the opening and chorus, but the verse is stop-startish halting the momentum, the solo is sloppy, and there is an annoying digitised voice throughout the song. Destroyer has a Bled For Days feel, flowing nicely at a mid-tempo and the solo is probably the best fitting on the album, but lacks the sharp edges or hard finish it needs. It is too nicely flowing... Chromo-matic is a step in the right direction when they use the samples to thicken the sound and add to feel of the song, which is what I assume they had been trying to do the whole time, but it has another solo which would feel more at home on a Metallica or Anthrax album and not is the middle of an industrial-electronic-Static-X song, and it finishes when it should have been escalated. It takes you 11 tracks to find the album's best song, Goat, which has a low key and unassuming start but opens into a nice mid tempo beat and simple riff. They didn't try to do too much with this song, which is what they do best, and you know how I said I kill you last Sully, I mean you know how I said every song has a solo" I lied, Goat isn't spoilt with a solo which clearly has no place.
The other songs don't have many redeeming qualities other than what is listed at the start of the review. They lack any aggression which may have made them interesting, they have no interesting riffs, and they all kind of bop along indifferently. So why 1.5 for something I find indifferent with some ok bits" The indifferent parts are very boring and are erring on the side of horrible, and the good bits are ruined by add-hock solos which don't fit into the music, and there is overall feel that it lacks the edge their first two albums had. Perhaps Static-X are trying to take their music in a different direction, but they haven't completely stepped out of their old mould, and the songs have a bits-of feel to them with industrial song structure and sampling, and 80's inspired solos.
Download and see if you like;