8/17/2007 - Review by: Wils
Static-X - Cannibal - 2007 - Warner Bros. + Reprise Records
|Track Listing:1. Cannibal|
2. No Submission
4. Chemical Logic
6. Forty Ways
8. Cuts You Up
10. Electric Pulse
12. Team Hate
Static-X have provided us metal loving folk with 37 minutes of pure industrial fury, seriously; this album is like getting kicked in the head, over and over again, but in the best possible way! ‘Cannibal’ is the 6th studio album that Wayne and co. have thrown our way and it’s a return to classic Static-X in more ways than one. First of all it sees the return of original guitarist Koichi Fukuda to the fold, his first album with the band since 2001s ‘Machine’. This may be one of the reasons why the sound of this album is quite similar to that of the bands debut; ‘Wisconsin Death Trip’. This album is full of classic Static-X stylings; huge fragmented guitar rhythms, industrial samples, Wayne’s eccentric vocal patterns, but creatively it is probably Static-X’s freshest effort to date. An example of this new batch of creativity is the inclusion of full blown guitar solos, something which the band have tended not to indulge too much in in the past.
This album is crushingly heavy, a fact which isn’t stressed quite enough by lead off single ‘Destroyer’, which is probably the tamest track on offer. No track exceeds 4 minutes and the pace is relentless; it’s difficult to listen to opening track ‘Cannibal’ and not listen to the rest of the disc. The title track is a real stand-out tune, with its huge blasted intro riff; it’s a real sonic fist to the face! With a driving chorus to get your head banging and a crazy John 5 guitar solo, it’s an opener which really leaves an impact. What sets Static-X apart in the metal world at the moment is their clever and subtle use of sampled electronics. Many tracks on this album, ‘Cannibal’ being a prime example, are packed full of samples, but they are used in such a way that you don’t really notice them on the first listen. It gives their sound a different edge and makes for a very interesting listen. This is something they have always done well, but it’s much more evident on this album.
Despite this, this is undeniably metal in the heaviest sense of the word. The use of riffs on this album is very simple; they are designed to be as heavy and huge sounding as possible. The riffs aren’t complex, there aren’t strange time signatures or tempo changes, this is just straight up ear pounding metal. The vocals on the album are very well worked into the music also. They are often based around the riffs, with the words following the guitars a lot of the time, ‘Chemical Logic’ is a good example of this. It really adds to the driving rhythms of the album. Front-man Wayne has reverted back to a more direct screaming approach on this album, there is little to no singing or spoken vocals as there is on some older albums, in fact the vocals are most closely matched to those on ‘Wisconsin Death Trip’. A prime example of this is the track ‘Forty Ways’. Its massive verse riff is separated by the fast screamed vocals, which put you in mind of those found in ‘I’m With Stupid’.
The album follows a similar format throughout, huge riffs, tasteful samples and erratic vocals which altogether make for a huge grinding, head banging experience. The guitar solos on the album add a great new dynamic themselves. Over half the tracks on this album have got some form of solo in, some full blown frenzied affairs like those in ‘No Submission’ and ‘Electric Pulse’, others are designed more to enhance a riff or as a basic lead break, but in both cases they add a great extra element into the tracks. It is difficult to compare the sound of this album to any other bands, because this simply is just classic Static-X with even bigger riffs and great guitar solos! If I was forced to pick at this album in an overly critical way, the only thing that I could say is that all the songs do follow a very similar format. Even this however, does not take away from the album because it is a format which works, and the record is so short and sweet that you don’t tire of it.
Simply put, this is an album which is going to appeal to anyone who likes metal. The riffs are there, the solos are there. This is simply a crushing album from start to finish. Any long standing fan of the band is going to love this; it is definitely one of the best albums they have ever produced. For those who are not into Static-X this is definitely a CD worth a listen if you love your big riffs and your heavy driving rhythms. Only if you’re not a fan of industrial metal on the whole, or Static-X themselves would I recommend avoiding this album. This is an excellent buy for anyone wanting a bit of crushing metal you can really get a hold of.