Review of Static-X’s ‘Cannibal’

2005 was a largely tragic year for the world of metal. Forgettable releases from once great bands, including Mudvayne (“Lost and Found”) and Rammstein (“Rosenrot”), plagued those 12 months, dropping morale of the community as that dreadful question seemed to pose itself more and more prominently; “Is metal on its last legs?” A potential “yes” answer was further cemented with Static-X’s “Start A War,” a mediocre disc (at best) showcasing some wildly uninspired lyrics on frontman Wayne Static’s part, shouted over some decent riffs that made fans long for the days of “Wisconsin Death Trip,” the band’s 1999 debut.

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By Tyler Davidson

By Tyler Davidson

2005 was a largely tragic year for the world of metal. Forgettable releases from once great bands, including Mudvayne (“Lost and Found”) and Rammstein (“Rosenrot”), plagued those 12 months, dropping morale of the community as that dreadful question seemed to pose itself more and more prominently; “Is metal on its last legs?”

A potential “yes” answer was further cemented with Static-X’s “Start A War,” a mediocre disc (at best) showcasing some wildly uninspired lyrics on frontman Wayne Static’s part, shouted over some decent riffs that made fans long for the days of “Wisconsin Death Trip,” the band’s 1999 debut.

However, if 2005 was to be the industrial superstars’ swansong, so shall 2007 be their inevitable resurrection. Static-X’s brand new album, “Cannibal,” is arguably the band’s best work since said debut. It becomes, fittingly, a melting pot of genre influences, cooking up a tasty industrial piece with hints of techno and (gasp!) disco.

Static’s one-in-a-million vocals stand out on this album, the frenetic energy of his growls, grunts, and screams bombarding the listener from all angles, almost (but not quite) distracting from the other highlights of the CD. These include creative synth elements amongst lead guitarist Koichi Fukuda’s blazing solos, as well as a guest appearance by current Rob Zombie guitarist John 5.

The album is not without its flaws, however, the most prominent of which still remains Static’s lyrical input. The title track (an angry rant at meat-eaters from the vegetarian Static), while solid, contains the impressively unoriginal “Killing game/Watch and prey on the victim/Rabid beast/Can’t believe you’re a cannibal.”

If you can manage to look past its imperfections, at the heart of “Cannibal” lie a quality industrial album, most definitely proving to be the best work to come from Static-X in years. Clocking in at just barely under a half-hour, it is a must-have for fans of the band, and definitely worth a listen even from casual industrial listeners. Let’s just hope Wayne doesn’t injure himself getting down from his soapbox.

Fans of this album will also enjoy:

John 5 – “Vertigo”

If you enjoyed the guitar work on “Cannibal,” you will definitely find yourself enamored with John 5’s 2004 solo debut. The Rob Zombie guitarist (and ex-Marilyn Manson guitarist) has broken through to the forefront of the metal scene, thanks in large part to “Vertigo.” With beautifully crafted solos influenced by everything from metal to bluegrass, the disc is a uniquely engineered lesson in the potential versatility of an artist like John 5.

Rob Zombie – “The Sinister Urge”

While not quite up to the standard set by his debut, “Hellbilly Deluxe,” “The Sinister Urge” is a quality album from Zombie that, stylistically, shares many common elements with Static-X. Wayne Static’s growling, punchy vocals definitely owe a lot to the rocker-turned-director’s own style, and Static-X fans will gladly find “The Sinister Urge” to be the most techno-influenced of Zombie’s releases.

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