Wayne Static — Pighammer
The year 2011 has featured quite a number of solo releases from members of bands I happen to like. Wayne Static's debut solo effort Pighammer caught me by surprise; within a couple of months of seeing references to it on various news sites, the album was out. I will admit that I haven't paid much attention to Static-X — Wayne's main gig — since the release of their third effort, Shadow Zone.
To say that I expected another collection of industrial metal would be an understatement; it's just a fact of life that solo albums rarely stray all that far from the artist's primary efforts. Given Static-X's consistent adherence to the rigors of making "evil disco", and Wayne's status as the main song-writer, I figured Pighammer was more a sign he was tired of working with other people rather than not being able to write the music he wanted. This becomes abundantly clear within the first 20 seconds of Pighammer, as things kick-off sounding like a stripped down Static-X album, and that remains the general tenor throughout the record.
The riffs are catchy with an awkward groove to them, the drums sound very artificial, although this actually works in the context of an album like this, and Wayne's signature vocals are in fine form. There is nothing too embarrassing about Pighammer, as Wayne acquits himself well in terms of the instrumentation. The concept behind the album — a plastic surgeon obsessed with turning women into pigs — is, to be a little technical in my terminology, extremely weak, but it's not a big part of the album.
The songs are all fairly catchy, and the production is good, but the material lacks the benefit of Wayne's collaborators in Static-X. The feeling I am left with, after multiple complete listenings of the album, is that Wayne wrote some good songs but makes himself out to be a jack of all trades and, sadly, a master of none. Instead of going off in a new direction, or trying something new, Pighammer follows in the footsteps of Wayne's prior work, without offering enough of a reason for existing. Even a few guest appearances or collaborations would have likely done the album a favour, possibly leading to some great songs instead of a collection of merely good tunes.
If you're a big Static-X fan, all is not lost; Pighammer is more than passable. If this is not what you would consider a strong endorsement, then I would advise skipping this album; the contents of the Pighammer will not win Wayne Static any new fans. With luck, it won't repulse too many old fans, and future solo efforts will feature a more diverse output. There is nothing inherently wrong with "the Static-X formula", but at this point in time you really need to bring your A-game — especially if you're going back to the same well yet again.
A respectable first solo effort from Wayne Static, albeit one that hews very closely to the work of his previous band. If you're looking for another quick hit of the familiar, then Pighammer will scratch that itch. That being said, this record is also illustrative of the notion that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts — there is definitely something missing from the formula here. This is a competent, listenable record, but hardly groundbreaking or any sort of essential listening. Good, not great; Pighammer is worth a look but you aren't missing much if you take a pass.
Release date: October 4th, 2011
Record label: Dirthouse Records
Wayne Static — vocals, guitar, bass, drums
- Around the Turn
- Assassins of Youth
- Thunder Invader
- Static Killer
- Get it Together
- Chrome Nation
- The Creatures are Everywhere
- Behind The Sky
Published: November 21st, 2011.
Edited: February 7th, 2019.