Review: Static X – Shadow Zone

This aint no in-depth review, just a quickie on what I think of the new album.

Well, first thing I noticed is it’s short. I don’t care as much anymore though cuz A) so many albums are short nowadays it aint worth bitchin’ about and B) as long as what’s on offer is good who gives a fuck?

Second thing I noticed is that… it’s different. Very. In fact if someone had played pretty much any song off the album without tellin me who it was I woulda had a hard time figuring out who it was. Well, maybe not, because I’m gifted when it comes to music ‘n stuff but the general sound, ESPECIALLY the vocals, are completely different to what I’ve come to expect from the X.

Which is a good thing, frankly. Linkin Park take note. Limp Bizkit… uh… don’t ever pull that soft shit on the masses again. Bastards.

What was I on about? Oh yeah, vocals. I am VERY impressed. I never really thought ol’ Wayne had it in him but he has, in fact, got a great SINGING voice. Thankfully though he still screams his little heart out and gets all gruff ‘n shit, which is what The RKanester likes.

“Destroy All” is the perfect opener, short and to the point. Kicks off with a distorted riff, then breaks into a relentless barrage of nuttiness with the crunching guitars and Wayne’s throaty vocals.

Fortunately things remain distinctly uphill, with “Control It” and title track “Shadow Zone” showing off Static’s new (though not so new as to dignify a reinvention) sound nicely, with “New Pain” slotted nicely in-between, sounding like grade-A single material.

“Dead World”, “Monster” and “The Only” follow, each track keeping up the pace and overall “feel” of the album. It’s about this time you begin to appreciate the direction Static-X have taken, because they COULD have just churned out another Wisconsin Death Trip and made everyone happy but no, they’ve obviously taken things back to the drawing board, kept all the elements that made them such a success and thrown in enough changes in the process to allow them to come out with something genuinely “new”, all the while retaining the core elements of hard, often fast-paced accessible industrial metal. I can imagine some Static fans are gonna be a tad taken aback by this album but that’s a good thing. It won’t just be “another” Static-X album in their collection; it’ll be “that” Static-X album.

We’re reminded of the old Static-X though with “Kill Your Idols”, which I’ll admit is my fave track on the album. I’m just a sucker for the more slow-burning malevolent tracks cuz, like, I’m evil. Plus it’s just a bad-ass song.

“All In Wait” and “Otsegolectric” keep up the pace and then, in a move that caught me totally off-guard… we get the soft song.

Well, it’s as close to a ballad as we’re gonna get from these guys anywayz. “So” is a totally radio-friendly track but not in a way so as to offend the Static-X zealots. It’s a different song for a different album, simple as, and it seems only fitting.

Then we get the little intermissionary (t’is a word, honest) track in “Transmission”, which leads us straight into closing track “Invincible”. Again, COMPLETELY different from what you’d expect. Not particularly heavy, though not as mellow as “December” off the Wisconsin Death Trip LP. In any case it winds you down nicely after having your ears assaulted for the past 30 minutes, give or take.

So yeah, overall it’s a great album. I won’t lie and pretend that the shortness of the album (it comes in at around 35 minutes total I think) doesn’t bother me but I can deal with that. What’s on offer is great and nothing really stands out as being bad, and I’d definitely say that “Kill Your Idols”, “All In Wait” and “New Pain” are the stand-out tracks, at least for me.

Is this Static-X’s best album? Depends on who you ask. For me? No. Though it’s a great album I still have a soft spot for the rawness and anthemic feel to the majority of Wisconsin Death Trip’s tracks.

I suppose I better hand out a rating so here goes…

OVERALL: 4 out of 5.

A very fair rating methinks. Definitely one of the better releases this year from a major name.

Anyone else?

2 replies on “Review: Static X – Shadow Zone”

Great review Richard. I’ve got their last album, Machine, but I only really liked a few songs from it. Most notably, Cold. I might have to give this new album a listen.

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