ProCreate Static X

Static-X: A Retrospective

Tara Alexander (@redtalyn)

On Saturday, November 1st, Wayne Static, the namesake for the industrial metal band Static-X, passed away in his sleep at the age of 48. I grew up listening to the nu-metal of the late 90's and because of that I was always a big Static-X fan. His death was not only a huge shock as it was so unexpected, but it is also a huge loss to the metal community. I decided this week to take a look back at a short but fantastic career and break down the discography of Static-X, highlighting the best tracks and doing what I love best as my way of honoring the late great lead singer. 

Wayne Richard Wells was born November 4th, 1965 in the town of Muskegon, MI. He played with small bands around the state, then moved to Chicago and played briefly in a band with Billy Corgan before relocating to LA and recruiting new band members to fully realize his vision. He changed his name, started Static-X, and signed with Warner Brothers in 1998.

The rest, as they say, is history. 

ProCreate Static-X

Static was known not only for his voice and lyrics, but for his unusual looks; with his black hair standing straight up on his head as if he had jammed his finger into a socket, and a long, “chin-tail” beard that trailed down his chest. Despite being one of the best and loudest growlers of his day, Static was quite soft spoken and mostly kept to himself, but he was always one to give his all when he was on stage or in the studio.  

One of the last times I saw Static-X live was at the legendary “free” Ozzfest in  that was held at an outdoor music theater in Clarkston, MI. I remember that show well because not only was it frenzied and kick ass, but they whipped up a crowd of baked and people so much that the attendees began to rip up the sod laid down on the lawn and pitch it onto the sky. Dirt, grass, and rocks rained down upon the crowd, and soon it was apparent that this type of behavior could not be tolerated when Static literally stopped the show to tell them to knock it off, as “I didn't tell you guys to do that shit,” and he was most agitated that a fan up near the stage had been pelted with a rock so large that she was bleeding. After threatening to leave the stage the crowd eventually subsided and Static-X was able to continue their set, but I was upset because my listening experience had been interrupted. I was happy that Static decided to continue because seeing them live is quite a visceral experience, but it is unfortunate that I will never be able to see them again. This to me is one of the many reasons it is so incredibly tragic when a band member dies; the knowledge that you will never again be able to feel the happiness that can only come from seeing that band's live show. So, to Wayne Static and his legacy, I present the full Static-X discography, with a brief review and lists of the best five tracks from each album.

First up is the landmark debut album, Wisconsin Death Trip (1999). With this album Static_x marked their place on the metal map, and gave headbangers something to really snap their neck about. With loud, pulsating rhythms and Static's signature angry growl, nu-metallers rejoiced over their new found saviors, and in 2001 the album went platinum. Mixing heavy electronics with live guitars and drums made for a fast and furious record that will always hold its own against the metal acts of new.

Top Five Tracks:

  1. Push It
  2. Bled For Days
  3. Stem
  4. Wisconsin Death Trip
  5. I Am

Their sophomore album, Machine (2001), was a genuinely brilliant and remarkable effort; where most bands fail at their second attempt Static-X flourished and with this album attracted an even broader audience. Out of all of the albums, this one is definitely my favorite and the favorites of many of my friends' as well. The riffs were heavier, the sound effect were weirder, and Static sounded angrier than ever. It is a great album and a must own for any metal fan.

Top Five Tracks:

  1. Cold
  2. Machine
  3. Structural Defect
  4. Get To The Gone
  5. Otsego Undead

The third album, Shadow Zone (2003) came out to a crowd that had expected the same angry and loud music. They were instead given a different type of Static-X, a more melodic and commercial one that ultimately failed to impress. Although the album is legitimately well done it didn't possess the same magic that the first two did, and unfortunately because of that it didn't fair very well with fans and critics alike. Pressures from the label, a new producer, and new members changed the sound of the album, but not necessarily for the best. I will give it a listen once in a while, but it is not my go to album by any means.

Top Five Tracks:

  1. Kill Your Idols
  2. The Only
  3. New Pain
  4. Destroy All
  5. Invincible

Revving back up to speed and getting back to their roots with the original guitarist, Static-X released Start a War (2005) and regained their reputation for a heavy industrial band with a crazy angry lead singer screeching into the microphone. Keeping up with the theme of the Otsego (which is a real town in MI, by the way) and giving the guitarist an opportunity to showcase more solo work made for a solid effort by Static-X, and although it also failed to be as successful as the first two albums I would still recommend giving it a listen, if only once. 

Top Five Tracks

  1. Dirthouse
  2. I'm The One
  3. Night Terrors
  4. My Damnation
  5. Otsego Amigo

Inspired by the food culture of our society (Static himself was a vegetarian) and how disgusted he was with the idea of humans consuming dead animal flesh brought about the fifth studio album, Cannibal (2007). This album was the strongest since Machine and is one of my favorite albums to listen to in general. I myself am a meat eater, but I like the lyrics and the aggressive imagery they bring to mind and find myself screaming right along with Static at times when I listen to this album. I would definitely recommend this one as well as giving the hilarious video for 'Destroyer' a view on Youtube.

Top Five Tracks

  1. Destroyer
  2. Cuts You Up
  3. Reptile
  4. Behemoth
  5. Forty Ways

Static-X's last album Cult of Static, (2009) was made wholly for the fans, as that is the “cult” the title refers to. The album is darker and longer with more synths and guitar riffs stuffed in than in previous albums. The album was made after Static met his wife, former adult actress Tera Wray, and two of the songs on the album are references to her: the aptly named “Tera-Fied,” and “Stingwray,” a reference to Wray's Corvette Stingray; she was also featured in the video for “Stingwray.” the album was well received by fans and I would definitely recommend this album for any metal collection. 

Top Five Tracks

  1. Terminal
  2. Tera-Fied
  3. Skinned
  4. Grind 2 Halt
  5. Isolaytore

Static's final and only solo album, Pighammer (2001), was a tribute and attestment to his getting sober in 2009-2010 and making a anew life for himself and his family. It is a concept album about a mad plastic surgeon that alters his victims to look like pigs. The album is well conceived, but it is also very reminiscent of Static-X's legendary sound, with Static himself playing all of the instruments instead of other band members or session musicians. Fans of Static will feel right at home listening to the album and may even consider it a bit rawer than previous works as this was Static's pet project and he was quite dedicated to it. This album is absolutely worth owning and although it was his last effort, his wife vows to make sure that she continues his work as best she can for as long as she can, and at least that's something to hope for. 

Top Five Tracks:

  1. Assassins of Youth
  2. Static Killer
  3. The Creatures Are Everywhere
  4. Thunder Invader
  5. Shifter 

Overall Wayne Static had a great career and will be fondly remembered by the metal community, and although his time with us was short, it was not wasted, and I wish the best the for his friends, family, and wife. The music of Static-X will always be a staple in my household and I feel certain that his former bandmates will honor his memory well in the coming years.

Comments

Leave a Reply



(Your email will not be publicly displayed.)


Captcha Code

Click the image to see another captcha.


TaraBioPic.jpg

Tara Alexander has been writing as soon as she could put pen to paper, and although she has only been reviewing music professionally for a few years, she has been an avid partaker in the music scene her entire life. She has been published on various websites and is always looking for opportunities to build upon her already expanding resume. A native North Carolinian, she now spends most of her free time in Michigan writing, playing video games with her husband, or watching too much television.

rockrantandrave

@redtalyn

heavymetalreview.com

Artist's Info

Artist:Static-X

Album: All

Label: Warner Bros., Reprise

Genre: Industrial Metal

Wanna Jam?

Have an album you want reviewed and/or showcased?

Other News/Reviews