Static-X: Wisconsin Death Trip
Wayne Static- Guitar, Vocals, Programming
Koichi Fukuda- Guitar, Keyboard, Programming
Ken Jay- Drums
Tony Campos- Bass, Backing Vocals
Released in 1999, this is Static-X's first album. Amazon.com states:
"A genre-bending sonic onslaught, this disc is not for the faint-hearted. Static-X skillfully blend angry staccato guitar, dark metallic noise, and mutating synthesizer washes to construct an ominous (though occasionally humorous) wall of sound."
I wouldn't be that generous, but since this is the first "heavy" album I ever owned, it deserves a bit of credit. This is definitely a weird album that's slightly quirky and very aggressive. In pure industrial/techno fashion, the beats are very heavy and the chorus is repeated often. Thankfully, the songs usually aren't long enough to get tired of, but they have that quality about them that could make it boring to listen to for an extended time.
1. Push It (2:34)
: The opening track starts off right away with a guitar riff and pulsing drums and it soon leads into the verse. The growling vocals are very angry, but kind of scary if you've ever seen what Wayne Static looks like. If you read the lyrics in the booklet, you'll find yourself singing them to yourself because they're very catchy and it's easy to replicate that growl. Good track to start the album out with. 4/5
2. I'm With Stupid (3:24)
: Starts off with Wayne yelling "Heeee's a loser she said!" Then a chugging guitar riff, eerie keyboards, and a weird sample of a voice that I can't understand. It sounds like it's saying "Should I grab my shovel"" But it's kooky either way you hear it. The lyrics are pretty hard to understand or comprehend, but it's more of a thrashing/dancing song like most of their stuff. I like it, anyway. It's another one of the better songs. 4/5
3. Bled for Days (3:44)
: This is one of the first songs I've ever heard from them, and it stands out for me in that regard. But it's still pretty slow riff-wise, and the vocals march along in similar fashion until Wayne starts yelling out a string of verse with other background vocals. The bass is very low and thundering, but I have a hard time hearing it even with my bassist's ear. 3.5/5
4. Love Dump (4:19)
: Starts out soft with a woman's voice saying "I can't believe you're doing this to me." Then we get a weird techno noise and the guitar comes in with a catchy (although mostly rhythmic) riff that leads into the main riff. The lyrics are kind of disgusting and eventually lead off into just the chorus being repeated. Not my favorite kind of song, but that main riff is fun while it lasts. 3/5
5. I Am (2:47)
: This song comes in very fast with techno noises and a very distorted guitar riff. Having just done a Fear Factory review, I can sense the influence of FF on Static-X right here. The lyrics are angry as always and kind of suicidal ("Put a gun in my mouth and threaten to shoot" is repeated at the end). This is a techno-heavy song, even for this band. 3/5
6. Otsegolation (3:31)
: When I first got this album, this was my favorite song on it. I still think it holds up to that, and I'm not sure why. I think because it's one of the only songs with guitar riffs above the lowest three strings, and Wayne actually tries his hand at singing. This is another danceable song, as they all are, but it's got a bit more heart at it than the others. 5/5
7. Stem (2:54)
: This song begins with crickets chirping for some reason, and and added "analog" effect to make it sound like it's on a turntable. Then we get some soft synth leading into a plodding riff. I think this is another semi-suicidal song, and it's not one of my favorites. 2/5, but since I can hear the bassline, I'll boost it up a notch: 2/5 + notch.
8. Sweat of the Bud (3:29)
: The chirping crickets from "Stem" lead directly into this song. There's only one set of verse/chorus/words in the whole song, repeated ad nauseam. The riff is catchy though, and we get an added "Go!" from Wayne, as well as the traditional "Cutting off the last syllable and turning it into a 'Ooooo' like Serj from System Of A Down!" 2/5, but there's technically a bass solo about two minutes in where Tony' just repeating the riff (but all by himself!), so 2.5/5
9. Fix (2:49)
: The lyrics are a bit more heavy here, and the guitar switches from sounding like it's in the middle of your head to both sides of your head. I don't know how stereo does that (since both sounds are really just coming through both headphones simultaneously), but it's something you just have to hear. For that neat trick, I'm giving this a 4/5
10. Wisconsin Death Trip (3:08)
: The title track is kind of interesting. It's about some book one of the band members found at a yard sale, and the lyrics really don't make much sense. Still, it's all in good fun, and a fun track is always a welcome addition for me. 4/5
11. Trance Is the Motion (4:49)
: True to the title, this song is very trancey. Starting off with some techno effects and a slight bass riff, we get Wayne at a more subdued whisper in this slower track. It sounds almost like a Korn track with the wailing guitars, but there's no clicking Fieldy bass! Still, it's not THAT great, and it gets a bit annoying... and long. 3/5
12. December (6:18)
: The final track is even more subdued and melancholy. Almost a ballad here, with no vocals (just effects) for a good three minutes or so. The rolling drums and electronic buzz remind me of parts of Tool's "Disposition/Reflection/Triad" epic, but not nearly as good. It is very different from what we've been hearing through the rest of the album though, and that's always a plus for me. The song/album ends with an annoying fuzzy noise. 4/5
All in all, this album is a decent piece of work. If you want an album to dance to without losing your "rep" among your poser nu-metalhead peers, then pop this one in at your next party. It's also good for any Fear Factory fans who want something a little more accessible. Be warned though: there are no solos or musical wankery of any sort, so get ready to hear the riffs and the choruses repeated. This album gets a healthy 3/5.