Reviewed! Static-X - 'Cult of Static'

‘Cult of Static’
Warner Brothers Records

Static-X clearly isn’t the band they used to be. Their last two records, 2005’s ‘Start a War’ and 2007’s ‘Cannibal,’ and even 2003’s ‘Shadow Zone’ to a lesser extent have seen the band fall somewhat off the map. That is, until, they released their latest record, ‘Cult of Static.’ It is their sixth studio disc to date and probably the closest thing to the sound fans will remember from their earlier records, ‘Wisconsin Death Trip’ and ‘Machine.’

‘Cult of Static’ is the bands best work since they released ‘Machine,’ not only evidenced by the vast amount of rave reviews it has garnered, but because it charted at number 16 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. They did bring back John Travis handle producing duties once again, but things are surely different this time around than they were on ‘Cannibal.’ This is one of those rare sequel albums that actually is great standing alone and as another release from a band. It usually doesn’t work out that way.

Although this record runs into the normal problem albums have with slowing and fading towards the end, the front end of the record more than makes up for any of the back end’s shortcomings. The band has readopted their old school songwriting approach and it shows through songs that sound as if the band wrote them a decade ago (‘Terminal,’ ‘Hypure’).

There’s even an underlying romantic sediment from frontman Wayne Static to wife Tera-Wray Static in a play on words with back-to-back tracks ‘Tera-Fied’ and ‘Stringwray’ in order to spell out her name. What a sweet guy that Wayne Static is.

With ‘Cult of Static,’ you really get the full gamut of Static-X’s musical capabilities. From Ministry-esque industrial atmospherics (‘Tera-Fied,’ ‘Grind 2 Halt’) to the type of songs this band is known for – heavy, down-tuned, shredding rockers that will have you thinking it is 1999 all over again (‘Stingwray,’ ‘Z28,’ ‘You Am I’), this album is surely complete.

The guitars might be better than they have even been, and Static’s vocals have not lost a step through the years, leading to a number of standout tracks. The Dave Mustaine assisted ‘Lunatic’ kicks the album off like an exploding bomb, ‘Z28’ offers sort of a kitschy, almost modernized 50’s feel and tribute to Tera-Wray and Static’s corvette and ‘Terminal’ is one of the purest and strongest grooves this band has jammed yet.

Listen, if you’re like one of the many old school Static-X fans that have sort of written this band off as gone the way of the buffalo, think again, and do your best to give this album a shot. It will definitely surprise you.

Grade: A
Listen to: ‘Lunatic,’ ‘Terminal’