Static-X – Project: Regeneration Vol. 1 (Album Review)

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From the ashes of a tragedy arises a modern form of rebirth, and a band is brought back to its feet after an unexpected loss with an album that gives the dead new life. After the tragic passing of Wayne Static in 2014, it seemed that Static-X was destined for a future of permanent silence following two decades spent defining the industrial metal scene. But a cache of unreleased recordings and the determination of the original “Wisconsin Death Trip” lineup to further cement Static’s legacy resulted in this year’s highly anticipated release “Project Regeneration Vol. 1.” Featuring some of the last vocal recordings of Wayne Static himself, this album brings with it speed, fury, and a bright creative light from one of the genre’s most unshakable monoliths. Short tracks with ceaseless forward momentum define an album that demands all eyes turn to its profanity-laced abrasiveness, its youthful bite bringing both passion and nostalgia to a name long eponymous with industrial and nu metal. 

It had appeared that the 2009 album “Cult of Static” was the end of the line for Static-X, with all speculation being put to rest by an announcement from Static of the band’s breakup in 2013. But fans remained as enamored with Static-X as ever, and are now being delivered a new album which includes a heavy dose of nostalgia alongside new, fresh content. No meager collection of leftovers, Project: Regeneration – Vol 1” features twelve complete tracks, and includes with it the promise that a second volume will be released in the future in much the same fashion. Though first alluded to in 2018, it took another two years for the project to come to fruition. This time was filled with a Wisconsin Death Trip reunion tour featuring the original lineup and a newly welcomed vocalist that goes by the name Xer0. His identity otherwise obscured both by a mask and in persona, Xer0 is the new live lead of Static-X, contributing additional vocals and programming on Project: Regeneration – Vol 1 thus far. While new additions and other creative talents have been welcomed into the fold, it’s clear that despite the breakup and the very founder’s death Static-X is still a Wayne Static project through-and-through. 

“Project: Regeneration Vol. 1” Album Artwork

The most striking characteristic of “Project: Regeneration – Vol 1” is the relentless heaviness that fully encompasses every track on the album, granting listeners no reprieve with an onslaught that is as electric as it is emotional. False instrumental lulls such as those in “Terminator Oscillator”  only serve to make the subsequent vocal punch all the more intense, giving the image of a berserker beast tearing up the foundations which make industrial metal so jarring. Buying further into the alternative metal structures which made their later work so palatable includes the third track “Worth Dyin For,” which packs a chorus as catchy as it is powerful. While the speed and intensity across the album remain relatively consistent between tracks, the album remains engaging as it is intriguing with a number of programming flourishes that swing between electronic fire and ice. Always accompanying founding member and drummer Ken Jay as a reliable sonic companion, the top-notch production on “Project: Regeneration – Vol 1” strays only occasionally into the overtly cinematic with roots firmly in the untempered thunderous aggression of metal. 

Another striking feature is the bright and feminine spoken-word segments which repeatedly shine above the instrumental fray, notably on “Regeneration” and “Bring You Down,” among others. Threads of playful chuckling are a sharp contrast to the rasping howls of Static’s voice on “My Destruction,” which proceed with a vicious streak of tangible anger and resentment in one of the album’s more fiery offerings. Heavy programming is yet another staple in “Project: Regeneration – Vol 1”, but it holds enough experimentation to demonstrate a more modern boldness among the classic Static-X motifs. “Ostego Placebo” is just one example of the increasingly intense programming segments which captivate in their seamless chemistry between head-turning riffs and atmospheric development. Such strong evocation of emotions is certainly one of the strengths seen on “Project: Regeneration – Vol 1,” its careful balance of instrumentation supporting a sea of angst and conflict carried primarily on Static’s voice. Koichi Fukuda’s guitar meshes particularly well with the effects on “Something of My Own,” giving metallic energy to a previously established sonic eeriness for flawlessly smooth transitions.  

It seems to be a new art to bring the dead back to life, if only in their creations, but it is one which Static-X has tackled with a definitive boldness. There is no doubt that Static’s former band-mates captured the essence of his remaining compositions, as “Project Regeneration Vol. 1” undoubtedly carries the essence of a true Static-X album in every imaginable way. The raw enthusiasm conveyed in Static’s voice is a steadfast testament to a creative spirit that was always dreaming, and it is a dream that is seeing its potential realized for the rest of the world to see. Still working under longtime producer Ulrich Wild, Static-X sees the flame of their creativity burn bright once more, and have released the first part of a saga which promises to memorialize as much as energize. Energized, youthful and pushing the boundaries of their style without losing their identity, “Project Regeneration” is a the album every Static-X fan dreamed of for years.

Released By: Otsego Entertainment Group
Release Date: July 10th, 2020
Genre: Industrial Metal

Musicians:

  • Wayne Static / Vocals
  • Xer0 / Vocals, Programming
  • Koichi Fukuda / Guitars, Programming
  • Tony Campos / Bass
  • Ken Jay / Drums

“Project Regeneration Volume 1” Track-listing:

  1. Regeneration
  2. Hollow (Project Regeneration)
  3. Worth Dyin For
  4. Terminator Oscillator
  5. All These Years
  6. Accelerate
  7. Bring You Down (Project Regeneration)
  8. My Destruction
  9. Something of My Own (Project Regeneration)
  10. Ostego Placebo
  11. Follow
  12. Dead Souls

8.5 Excellent

Serving as both an exciting testament to the creative powers of industrial metal and a memorial to one of its founding voices, “Project Regeneration Volume 1” is the Static-X album to both reaffirm long standing talents and push ever-bolder creative boundaries

  • Songwriting 8.5
  • Musicianship 8.5
  • Originality 8
  • Production 9
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1 Comment

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    Listening to his final works is painful. He was a flawed human like all of us, but I think a lot of his fans, myself included, felt a sense of family like not many other bands have created with their fan base. His albums have messages in them if you listen for them. They’re more than just thrash heavy. Their first album is a social commentary on the state of our world through the eyes of some guy making music from the American Midwest. It just happens to be amazing musical genius at work.