Music

Static-X: Start a War

Start a War sees the return of some old friends and an old sound. Welcome home.


Static-x

Start a War

Label: Warner Bros.
US Release Date: 2005-06-14
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon affiliate
Amazon
iTunes

Sometimes, you just need to sit and absorb a CD in order to appreciate it to its fullest extent. Put on some headphones, listen at a medium volume, try and pick apart the many layers just waiting to be opened. Let it seep into you, gently digging in its claws as you lose yourself in its world.

Other times, you need to turn the stereo to 11 and run around in circles hurling yourself at random inanimate objects, implicitly daring your unsuspecting neighbors to call the cops.

I'll give you one guess as to which category the new Static-X CD falls into. Hint: You won't be surprised.

Static-X has been around for six years now, making a surprisingly mainstream splash on the usually well-hidden industrial-metal scene with Wisconsin Death Trip. Some called it death-disco, some called it techno-thrash, but whatever it was, it was oddly catchy and it had a satisfying streak of black humor to go with it. Best of all, Static-X sang some songs about girls, which as we all know, may not be necessary for a shot at success, but it sure doesn't hurt. In two albums since then, Static-X have tried to recapture the magic of Wisconsin Death Trip, and have succeeded in expanding their horizons, if marginally -- what they haven't managed to do is maintain the buzz that propelled their debut to near-platinum heights.

Start a War is quite obviously a play to regain the momentum of six years ago. Returning to the Static-X fold are Koichi Fukuda on guitars and Ulrich Wild behind the boards, serving as major players in the effort to go back to the glory days, and for the most part, they get it right. Start a War is a raging, rollicking good time that hardly ever pauses to catch a breath. Much as Fukuda and Wild are integral parts of the band's success, however, it's dynamic frontman Wayne Static (he of the approximately four-foot beard-to-hair-spike span) that steals the show with his acrobatic vocal turns.

Static has a few different vocal styles, any and all of which could appear in any song, in no particular order. There's the low growl, the more intense medium growl, and the high-pitched screech, all of which could go into full-fledged rhythmic rant mode at any given time. It may not sound like the three vary all that much, but Static has a knack of knowing when to use one of his three growly voices to best effect. Most notably, however, the use of Static's singing voice is becoming steadily more prevalent. Even better, his singing voice won't make you cringe! It's a relatively thin, reedy sound, but in the endearing way that, say, Gary Numan's voice is reedy and thin, rather than Simple Plan reedy and thin. Since a comparison to Gary Numan couldn't possibly be a bad thing, Static's singing actually works in favor of the album.

Even more effective than Static's singing voice is the band's sense of humor. The niftiest song on the album might well be "I Want to Fucking Break It", which starts with a sample of polka music that shows up intermittently to alternate with the thrash of the rest of the song. Hearing Static scream the title in perfect rhythmic synchronization with that little polka motif is truly one of life's simpler pleasures. Of course, there is a fourth installment of the "Otsego" series that has graced all of the Static-X album (whose only reason for existence seems to be that "Otsego" is the name of the town Static grew up in), this one called "Otsego Amigo". This title, admittedly, makes me chuckle. Then, there are the bits of unintentional comedy that come with an album such as this, as when Static offers "I'll be your piece of ass" in the otherwise decent "Just Incase". All in all, it's easy to find yourself laughing while listening to Start a War far more than you likely ever thought you would.

Mostly, though, Start a War is about thrashing and breaking shit.

The first four tracks, which include first single "I'm the One", are all under three minutes, and all fall into the breakneck Ministry-style industrial-metal category. As the album progresses, the songs slow down, but only for the sake of being loud in different ways that don't happen to move at speeds faster than the speed limit. "Skinnyman" evokes images of Filter outtakes (which, granted, isn't necessarily a good thing), and the excellent "Night Terrors" turns up the electronics so that the goth kids have something to dance to on Saturday night. Bottom line, you probably know what you want out of a Static-X disc -- with Start a War, that's exactly what you get, no more, no less.

6


Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Film

Greta Gerwig's Adaptation of Loneliness in Louisa May Alcott's 'Little Women'

Greta Gerwig's film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's classic novel Little Women strays from the dominating theme of existential loneliness.

Music

The Band's Discontented Third LP, 1970's 'Stage Fright', Represented a World Braving Calamity

Released 50 years ago this month, the Band's Stage Fright remains a marker of cultural unrest not yet remedied.

Music

Natalie Schlabs Starts Living the Lifetime Dream With "That Early Love" (premiere + interview)

Unleashing the power of love with a new single and music video premiere, Natalie Schlabs is hoping to spread the word while letting her striking voice be heard ahead of Don't Look Too Close, the full-length album she will release in October.

Music

Rufus Wainwright Makes a Welcome Return to Pop with 'Unfollow the Rules'

Rufus Wainwright has done Judy Garland, Shakespeare, and opera, so now it's time for Rufus to rediscover Rufus on Unfollow the Rules.

Music

Jazz's Denny Zeitlin and Trio Get Adventurous on 'Live at Mezzrow'

West Coast pianist Denny Zeitlin creates a classic and adventurous live set with his long-standing trio featuring Buster Williams and Matt Wilson on Live at Mezzrow.

Film

The Inescapable Violence in Netflix's I'm No Longer Here (Ya no estoy aqui)

Fernando Frías de la Parra's I'm No Longer Here (Ya no estoy aqui) is part of a growing body of Latin American social realist films that show how creativity can serve a means of survival in tough circumstances.

Music

Arlo McKinley's Confessional Country/Folk Is Superb on 'Die Midwestern'

Country/folk singer-songwriter Arlo McKinley's debut Die Midwestern marries painful honesty with solid melodies and strong arrangements.

Music

Viserra Combine Guitar Heroics and Female Vocals on 'Siren Star'

If you ever thought 2000s hard rock needed more guitar leads and solos, Viserra have you covered with Siren Star.

Music

Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts Honor Their Favorite Songs With "Oh No" (premiere)

Ryan Hamilton's "Oh No" features guest vocals from Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo, and appears on Nowhere to Go But Everywhere out 18 September.

Music

Songwriter Shelly Peiken Revisits "Bitch" for '2.0' Album (premiere)

A monster hit for Meredith Brooks in the late 1990s, "Bitch" gets a new lease on life from its co-creator, Shelly Peiken. "It's a bit moodier than the original but it touts the same universal message," she says.

Music

Leila Sunier Delivers Stunning Preface to New EP via "Sober/Without" (premiere)

With influences ranging from Angel Olsen to Joni Mitchell and Perfume Genius, Leila Sunier demonstrates her compositional prowess on the new single, "Sober/Without".

Music

Speed the Plough Members Team with Mayssa Jallad for "Rush Hour" (premiere)

Caught in a pandemic, Speed the Plough's Baumgartners turned to a faraway musical friend for a collaboration on "Rush Hour" that speaks to the strife and circumstance of our time.

Music

Great Peacock Stares Down Mortality With "High Wind" (premiere + interview)

Southern rock's Great Peacock offer up a tune that vocalist Andrew Nelson says encompasses their upcoming LP's themes. "You are going to die one day. You can't stop the negative things life throws at you from happening. But, you can make the most of it."

Music

The 80 Best Albums of 2015

Travel back five years ago when the release calendar was rife with stellar albums. 2015 offered such an embarrassment of musical riches, that we selected 80 albums as best of the year.

Film

Buridan's Ass and the Problem of Free Will in John Sturges' 'The Great Escape'

Escape in John Sturge's The Great Escape is a tactical mission, a way to remain in the war despite having been taken out of it. Free Will is complicated.

Books

The Redemption of Elton John's 'Blue Moves'

Once reviled as bloated and pretentious, Elton John's 1976 album Blue Moves, is one of his masterpieces, argues author Matthew Restall in the latest installment of the 33 1/3 series.

Music

Whitney Take a Master Class on 'Candid'

Although covers albums are usually signs of trouble, Whitney's Candid is a surprisingly inspired release, with a song selection that's eclectic and often obscure.

Music

King Buzzo Continues His Reign with 'Gift of Sacrifice'

King Buzzo's collaboration with Mr. Bungle/Fantômas bassist Trevor Dunn expands the sound of Buzz Osborne's solo oeuvre on Gift of Sacrifice.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.