Static-X — Cannibal
Following the release of Start A War (review), an album I didn't spend much time with, I completely lost track of Static-X. Revisiting that album felt more like a first time listening, and in the case of Cannibal it is literally true. I actually had to do some homework and track down the album, and didn't know what to expect after the previous 2 releases flirted with more mainstream sounds. I heard nothing about this record when it was new, although that was mostly due to my paying zero attention to new music at the time — I had no idea how well received it was or wasn't.
As it turns out, Cannibal saw the band revert back to their more aggressive ways, eschewing most of the radio-friendly sheen that had been added to the band's industrial metal formula. This album features a variety of screamed vocals and effectively no clean singing. Instrumentally, the band strip things back with a clean, polished production sound, lacking layered wall of sound of prior albums. The material still features electronic flourishes but the bulk of the material is straight-forward, grooving metal. The inclusion of guitar solos on each track was a surprise; it doesn't always work, but the willingness to experiment within their sonic niche was always commendable.
Even with the sequenced loops and sparingly used keyboards, Cannibal is a very no-frills metal record. The Static-X sound is really stripped down to its bare elements on this album; everything sounds clear but not overly processed or mechanical. The record is also the band's shortest offering to date, running just over 37 minutes in length over 12 tracks. Despite this being the band's fifth album, everything still sounds fresh and unique, aside from a small section of "Goat" where the vocals sounded like a slowed-down version of "Fix" from Wisconsin Death Trip (review). Cuts like "Destroyer," "No Submission" and "Behemoth" are the tracks which stood out to me, although I didn't find anything worth skipping.
Aside from the solos feeling a little forced at times, like on "Cuts You Up" and "Chemical Logic", but it's a mild gripe and doesn't ruin the tracks. Overall, Cannibal is yet another solid record from Static-X, a band with remarkable consistency with regards to song quality. For those who enjoy the band's unique sound, they always rose to the occasion and released what I would consider their best material at the given time. Everything on this album sounds good, but it doesn't feel as immediately striking as Start A War or the rest of its predecessors. It's a little unfair to compare Cannibal to records I grew up with and listened to innumerable times, but that's just how it is. There is potential for this album to grow on me over time, but for now I would rank it as my least favourite Static-X album up to this point, but with the qualification that it's still very good.
I wasn't filled with as much immediate regret that I'd not heard Cannibal sooner — such as was the case with Start A War — but I was pleased to find out that a quality effort was waiting for me. Cannibal wouldn't be my first recommendation to someone who'd never heard Static-X before, but it's still a strong representation of the band's style.
Purveyors of "evil disco," Static-X managed to retain a line-up from one album to the next. Cannibal sees the band return to their heavier roots, with a rawer sound and a greater sense of technical performance. This is another dozen quality bangers from a band with a very strong back catalogue. Five albums in, Static-X still sound hungry and continued to maintain a high quality standard.
Release date: April 3rd, 2007
Record label: Reprise Records
Wayne Static — lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Koichi Fukuda — lead guitar, keyboards, programming
Tony Campos — bass, backing vocals
Nick Oshiro — drums
- No Submission
- Chemical Logic
- Forty Ways
- Cuts You Up
- Electric Pulse
- Team Hate
Published: May 8th, 2019.