Sound — 8
Static-X has had a very hard time lately -? first the departure of founding drummer Ken Jay for reasons they never revealed, then loosing a guitarist Tripp Eisen for charges of sex with a teen girl. Also, their 2003's album Shadow Zone didn't meet the majority of their fans' expectations. That is enough to lead to the end of any band, but not in this case. Not only they survived, now they are back with a new album Start A War and two new member of the band. Koichi Fukuka, who played with the band on their first and second albums, is now welcomed back to his guitar duties and the touring drummer Nick Oshiro is permanently in control over the drumset. And Ulrich Wild, who worked with the band on their first two albums, is producing the latest one. But the band stays true to their habits even with the change of the cast (which is one of their habits as well, as in between of their releases one of the band members usually breaks away) releasing a new studio album every two years and making every next one sound different than the last. On their latest release Start A War with the comeback of the founding guitarist the band is back to their roots, where violence and a need to destroy are the rules. Most of the songs on the album do not even reach a 4-minute barrier, but you don't notice it until somebody points that out to you. The trick is that all the songs have such intense from the beginning to the end, that it keeps you strained all through the album. Imagine somebody shouting at you right in your face for just a couple of minutes - that would last like an hour for you, wouldn't it? The journey through this full of negative emotions record starts with a 2,5 minute howling fury "The Enemy" -? a dense and compact song that don't even pauses to catch a breath and moves on to "I'm The One" that just reinforces all the emotions the first song held. But don't take it too serious as the band is famous for its sense of humor. You can laugh listening to "Start A War" and the band makes it ridiculous in "I Want To F--k Break It," starting it with polka music that pops up intermittently to dilute the trash of the song and Static screams the title in rhythmic synchronization with the base polka motive. Awesome! When I listened to the end of the album, I was left with a feeling that I've just been on an open air festival and saw different style bands all on one stage ?- first metal trashy music, then by night it all turned into techno for those survivors, who don't have a hotel room and want to dance up till the first cafe opens. Just like that towards the end the album turns electronic with "Brainfog," which can freak you out like "What the heck is this doing here?" if that's your first Static-X record. But for real fans, who know what they want from the band, that's not a big surprise due to Static-X previous electronic experiments, and the whole album is a real gift.
Lyrics — 10
Wayne Static's manner of singing (or screaming) and acrobatic vocal grabs you by the balls from the very beginning of the record. He combines different vocal styles and mixes them in the song unpredictably. But he knows what he's doing and when to use one of his "voices" to best effect. You can witness all kinds of death-metal growl, East Coast speed-rapping and even high-pitched speech all produced with a very high intense. He also has the capability to sing the choruses in a very melodic way. I can't even imagine how strong throat you should have to sing like that through one-hour concert. As for the lyrics, if you don't like violence and think it's abusive, you wouldn't enjoy Start A War's lyrical context. But those who don't take it too close to heart can find it amusing -? like that line from "Just In Case" -? "Just in case you need, I'll be a piece of your ass." I wonder how he's gonna do that.
Overall Impression — 10
This might be the Static-X darkest effort. Though for the majority of people it is just another album of a nu-metal band with nothing too extraordinary, but it would reply on fans who are stuck with the band over years. Some of them might think with this album the band is improving the mistakes they made in Shadow Zone, but I don't think they even have any mistakes to improve. Each record is different and you don't necessarily have to like it. The current album can be described as fast, venom, sadistic and festive at the same time -? the so-called ode to violence. There's another band habit I didn't mention before -? a signature song with "Otsego" word in the title on each album. The only reason to do that might be the fact that Otsego is the name of the town Static grew up. This album's installment is called "Otsego Amigo." That's a little nice feature -? you always wonder what the next "Otsego" song would sound like. In conclusion I should say that even if you're not a fan of nu-metal or trash, you should at least enjoy the record. This album is quite a kick-ass.