More than 11 years have passed since industrial metal band Static-X released its last album, Cult of Static. Fans’ wait for new material from the band will come to its end Friday with the release of Static-X’s new album Project Regeneration Volume 1. The 12-song record takes previously unused vocals from the band’s late front man Wayne Static and crosses them with new musical arrangements from the band’s original lineup of Tony Campos (bass), Ken Jay (drums) and Koichi Fukuda (guitar) to make the final product.
That mix of new musical arrangements and unused lyrical content combines for a record that is sure to appeal to longtime fans and those less familiar with the band’s catalog alike. Each item will be discussed here. Also of note is the sequencing of those arrangements and lyrical themes. This will also be discussed as part of this examination of Project Regeneration Volume 1. When it is considered along with the album’s overall content, the whole of the record becomes a presentation that is without argument, a work that kicks off the second half of 2020 on a high note for the hard rock and metal community.
With the countdown to the end of 2020 officially on, it did not take long for the year’s first great heard rock and metal album to see the light of day. That album comes from veteran industrial metal band Static-X. The album – Project Regeneration Volume 1 — is a strong new offering from the original Static-X lineup of Tony Campos, Ken Jay, and Koichi Fukuda. That is proven in part through the album’s musical arrangements. The arrangements in question do show some links back to Static-X’s early days, but also shows a certain amount of creative growth from the band in whole. The most prominent point at which the album reaches back to its early days comes early in the album’s 39-minute run time in the form of its lead single ‘Hollow.’ That song’s overall stylistic approach, with its steady bass drum beat, guitars and percussive vocal delivery style from enigmatic front man “Xero” immediately lends itself to comparison to Static-X’s breakout hit single ‘Push It,’ featured in the band’s 1999 debut album Wisconsin Death Trip. ‘Terminator Oscillator,’ which comes shortly after ‘Hollow,’ but still early in the album’s sequence, is an example of the latter statement. It shows that noted growth from the band, as it relies more on keyboards and electronics than much of what the band has offered audiences in its past albums. It and a number of other songs featured in the album, rely more on keyboards and electronics than works from the band’s past albums. The noted songs lend themselves to comparisons to works from other industrial and electronic acts, such as Frontline Assembly, Ministry, and Juno Reactor. That is just as evident late in the album’s run in ‘Otsego Placebo’ and in ‘My Destruction’ as anywhere else in the album. The sampling is there right alongside the keyboards and the band’s more familiar metal guitar riffs. Now given, the band did go through multiple lineup changes over its initial run, so naturally stylistic changes were to be expected. This record on the other hand takes much of the stylistic approach used in Wisconsin Death Trip and builds on said approach. Musically speaking, that approach makes Project Regeneration Volume 1 Static-X’s best album to date. Of course the album’s musical content is just one part of what makes it so engaging. The record’s lyrical themes add their own share of interest to its presentation, too.
The lyrical themes presented throughout Project Regeneration Volume I are important to discuss because of the amount of ground that they cover. From the personal to the peculiar (in a good way), audiences are offered quite a bit that will keep them engaged throughout. One of the most notable of the album’s more personal lyrical themes comes late in the album’s run in ‘Bring You Down.’ The song comes across as being rather introspective as Wayne Static addresses a relationship that had apparently gone bad. What situation is being addressed through the song’s lyrics is anyone’s guess. That is especially considering how long Static’s vocals had been sitting unused. That aside, it is a deeply personal work that will engage listeners. Static sings in the song’s lead verse, “You were the one to be true/To be down/I was/Out of the black/You brought me/Into the light now/Now take your little pills/Headlong to overkill/Resent me/’Cause I represent what you hate/Don’t wait.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “Bring me up until you bring me down/Take me to hell/Bring me back/I can’t tell/In the black and bring it back/I don’t wanna wait/So I’m gonna say this right now/I feel my mind is going/My discontent showing/And now I know, I know/I’ve got to bring you down.” Obviously that last line, “I know/I’ve got to bring you down” is not Static saying he has to bring someone down, but rather, he is speaking sarcastically in a manner of speaking. Everyone who knows about Static-X’s history can’t help but wonder if this had any relation to the band’s breakup or to something else. Again, regardless, this content is certain to engage listeners and generate its own share of discussion among listeners. It is just one example of what makes the lyrical content featured in Project Regeneration Volume 1 noteworthy.
‘Terminator Oscillator’ is another example of the key examples of the importance of this album’s lyrical content. This song’s lyrics were penned by current front man Xero instead of Wayne Static. While the song’s musical arrangement would be a good fit on Fear Factory’s 1997 remix album Remanufacture, the song’s lyrics are unique and quite intense. The song’s lead verse states, “I am the senseless/The vicious/The wicked/Annihilate/Calculate/Devastate/Terminate/Obliterate/Incinerate/I am the vicious/Exterminate/Violate/Devastate/Decapitate/Assassinate/Exhilarate/I am the wicked.” Its second verse, reads, “Suffocate/Desecrate/Devastate/Terminate/Obliterate/Disintegrate/I am the vicious/Exterminate/Violate/Devastate/Decapitate/Assassinate/Accelerate/I am the wicked.” The song adds in its finale, “I want it/I need it/I’m gonna hunt you down/I am the senseless/The vicious/The wicked.” Knowing that an oscillator is something that swings back and forth in a set pattern, and that a terminator is something that ends the operation of something, maybe this has something to do in the bigger picture, then, with maybe someone who apparently who has two distinct mindsets that are one. Of course that likely is not precisely on point. Being that this is such metaphorical (and intense) lyrical content, it is just as certain to generate its own share of interest among audiences, showing even more why the album’s lyrical content is so important to the whole of its presentation. It is just one more example of what makes the album’s lyrical content so important. ‘Something of my Own’ is one more example of what make the album’s lyrical content so important.
‘Something of My Own’ comes across as another personal commentary from Wayne Static, and is sure to keep listeners just as engaged as any of the album’s other songs. Static, through his archived performance, sings in the song’s lead verse, “All my life a new beginning/All my life not understanding/All my life it’s you and me/And all my life we disagree/See through the dark/See through the light/See through the black and see through the white/And all night long/See through these shadows/All night long/You’re all that matters.” He continues in the song’s chorus, “Leave me to burn/Out in the cold/Leave me to learn/Things on my own/I’ve been searching/Searching my soul/Looking for something of my own.” He closes out the song in its second verse, singing, “Three years ago/I didn’t know her/Now she’s gone/I sit and wonder/What went wrong and couldn’t tell/And now I sit here/In my hell.” It would seem that this has something to do with another relationship matter. What’s interesting here is the power in the song’s musical arrangement. The lyrics alone seem rather brooding, but the song’s musical arrangement makes the emotion anything but brooding. Rather, it comes across as someone who is angry at one’s self for allowing a situation to reach the point at which it did. It’s another interesting matter that will connect with a wide range of listeners even with its seemingly personal nature. When it is considered along with the other noted lyrical themes and the rest of the album’s lyrical themes, audiences learn even more why the album’s lyrical content is just as important to its presentation as its musical content. Music and lyrics taken into consideration together, they make for plenty of reason for audiences to take in this record. They are just a portion of what makes the album worth hearing. The album’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.
Project Regeneration Volume 1’s sequencing is important to note because of the aesthetic impact that it has on the album’s presentation. From start to end of this record, the sequencing ensures that its energy remains at its highest point, barely letting up at any point. The arrangements’ styles change slightly from one to the next, but even as they change, the album’s energy does not let up. This means audiences will remain just as entertained and engaged through the stability in the album’s energies as through its arrangements and lyrical content. To that end, the album wins for its aesthetics as much as for its overall content. All things considered, the album in whole proves itself a strong return for Static-X and gives plenty of hope for Project Regeneration Volume 2, which is scheduled for release later this year. Its release date will be announced soon.
Static-X’s new album Project Regeneration Volume 1, is the first great hard rock/metal album from the second half of 2020. That is proven in part through the album’s musical arrangements, which echo some of the hints of the band’s past works but also show a certain amount of evolution from the band members, ¾ of which are the band’s original members. The album’s lyrical content generates its own engagement and entertainment through its personal and otherwise themes. Those themes will generate plenty of discussion among listeners as a result of that engagement and entertainment. The album’s sequencing rounds out the most important of its elements. It ensures that while the arrangements’ stylistic approaches change slightly from one to the next, the album’s energy never lets up too much. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album. All things considered, they make Project Regeneration Volume 1 not only the first great hard rock/metal album of 2020’s second half, but one of the year’s top new hard rock/metal albums overall.
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