Static-X Start A War
Grade
B+
 
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I'm not going to beat around the bush: I hated the influence that guitarist Tripp Eisen had on Static-X over the last two albums. I think it diluted the raw, fun, groove-heavy power that the first album established. But with his legal problems and his quick replacement in the band with Koichi Fukuda, the guitarist from the first album that he replaced, it seems that Static-X has shifted back to what made them so good in the first place. While Eisen's influence on the music is still audible, Start A War proves to the be progression in the band's sound that was missing between the first and second albums.

The album opens with the powerful staccato of The Enemy, which shows off a clean thrash that rolls into a groovy-heavy chorus. The pace of the song is quick and to the point without being brutally short. Synthesizers pipe up as Wayne Static kicks into screaming "You make me hate! You make me hate you!". I'm the One follows with a thick but catchy groove that makes the song stand out. Start A War starts off with synthesizers but quickly breaks into an acidic build of whispered vocals and basslines that roar into the screaming chorus. When the song gets to it's heart, it's powerful and damaging.

Pieces opens with a coarse bassline that shifts into a more severe riff that's reminiscent of tones heard on Wisconsin Death Trip. The pace of the song is fast without being overly rapid and feels catchy all the same. Dirthouse opens with a pounding snare drum and synth line that accents Wayne's more laid-back vocal tone. The guitars wail along with the lulling bass work. Skinnyman is a slower, darker piece that still retains the mood of the album while establishing a thicker, more moody tone. Just in Case follows this with a dark industrial tone that builds as it progresses. It shows off that Wayne can actually carry a note when he's not screaming or softly whispering.

Set it Off is your standard rock track, which proves to be more filler than anything. It's not bad by any stretch but after following Just in Case it feels a little contrived. I Want To F****** Break It is a riotous bar-brawl of a song. It's fun to listen to without much depth to break up the steady groove. Night Terrors is a another rock song standard that doesn't really impress, but also doesn't prove to be bad by any stretch. Ostego Amigo is a strange little track that feels as experimental as it feels like a Static-X standard. It's moody, fast and excitable all at the same time. Not radio-friendly, but still enjoyable. My Damnation has got a catchy groove and is probably the most radio friendly of the lot. The album ends with an odd instrumental in Brainfog, which, unfortunately, feels more like filler than an appropriate end to the album.

It's nice to have Static-X shift back to what made them so enjoyable initially. While Eisen's influence is still in some of the tracks, Koichi Fukuda's return at least gives Start A War the feeling that Wisconsin Death Trip brought when it first came out. I can only hope that Static-X has somewhere to go with their sound in their next album as this album proves that some of their standards are starting to grow a little thin.

- - Vane

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