Static-X — Cult Of Static
Released almost exactly 10 years after the band's breakout debut album, Wisconsin Death Trip (review), Static-X were in a vastly different state by the time Cult Of Static dropped in 2009. At the time, the band was disintegrating — personal conflicts eventually proved to be too much — and the group disbanded before the year's end. Cult Of Static is the band's sixth full-length record, titled in dedication to the loyal fans who supported Static-X over the years, and would end up being the final album to be released while Wayne Static was alive.
Featuring the same line-up as Start A War (review) and Cannibal (review), Cult Of Static continues the steady progression and style-tweaks found on prior efforts. After adding guitar solos to every track on Cannibal, the band dials it back this time and is a lot more sparing with them. Megadeth's Dave Mustaine even lends a solo to the opening track, "Lunatic," adding his unique tone and style to another otherwise standard Static-X cut. Additionally, the layering of loops and backing synths is more prominent on this album than its predecessor although the guitars are still the focal point of each track.
The production on this record is very similar to Cannibal, giving everything a very raw, stripped-down feel despite the complexity of the song arrangements. Aside from the solos, the guitars retain the distinct, rhythm-heavy focus that Static-X has always been known for. The pacing of the tracks varies quite a bit from one cut to the next, overall I would say this is a bit of slower record than Cannibal but very similar otherwise. Just as Start A War worked out the bugs on Shadow Zone, this album does much the same compared to its predecessor.
For a band deep into their career, and in the process off splitting up, Static-X still managed to assemble a coherent and, overall, very solid album. Cult Of Static doesn't sound like a band barely on speaking terms; nothing sounds uninspired or phoned-in. In the context of the band's whole discography, I didn't find anything on Cult Of Static that instantly hooked me like a lot of their past work, even if I found the record very good. As a long-time fan of the band, I appreciate having the additional material to listen to, even if I didn't find anything to add to my list of all-time favourite tracks. If I had to pick something from this album, I'd say "Skinned" was the most memorable.
As this ended up being the last Static-X album recorded while Wayne Static was alive, it's a fitting end to that chapter of the band's history. Cult Of Static is a worthy entry in the band's discography, a strong effort — an album filled with another 11 tracks from a band that never released a bad song. As a long-time fan of the band, I was glad to find out that this album was a respectable finale. In the final accounting, you can't go wrong with any of the records Static-X released; whether or not you're a fan of the band's "evil disco" style, their song quality was always very high. Newcomers can just as easily start with this album as any other, while old fogeys — like myself — who fell off along the way should also enjoy Cult Of Static as well.
The sixth and final album from industrial metal, "evil disco" purveyors Static-X, Cult Of Static serves up 42 minutes of the band's trademark sound. While the band continues to get more technical musically, and added even more electronic enhancements to the instrumentals, there aren't any huge surprises to be found here. The group disbanded less-than 4 months after this record dropped, but still managed to go out on a high note. Well worth a listen regardless if you're unfamiliar with Static-X or not.
Release date: March 17th, 2009
Record label: Reprise Records
Wayne Static — lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Koichi Fukuda — lead guitar, keyboards, programming
Tony Campos — bass, backing vocals
Nick Oshiro — drums, percussion
Dave Mustaine — first solo on track 1
Marc Jameson — keyboards
Tera Wray Static — additional vocals (track 5)
- You Am I
- Grind 2 Halt
Published: May 15th, 2019.