Review: “Project Regeneration Vol. 1” by Static-X

Project Regeneration” probably has to stand up as one of the most highly anticipated albums of 2020 with original members of Static-X in Tony Campos (bass, backing vocals), Koichi Fukuda (guitars, keyboards programming) and Ken Jay (drums) creating new music around the vocals from unused demos from the much missed and dearly departed Wayne Static. It was originally painted as a multi guest vocalist release but instead with the increased amount found in the vaults of Static that idea was put out to pasture, with the only guest being Al Jourgensen of Ministry, which is fitting as Wayne Static looked up to him (Static-X covering “Burning Inside” of course), and being easily achievable as Tony Campos played in Ministry for a stint himself. The project has been in the pipeline since October 2018 with contributions from Matt Zane who has created some music videos for the album, long time Static-X producer Ulrich Wild who handled production, recording and mixing, mastering, Edsel Dope of Dope fame who is credited as Xer0 with additional guitar, additional vocals and production and former guitarist Tripp Eisen who contributed to some of the songwriting of some of the original demos from the “Start A War” era of the band. Part of the delay in making the album a reality has come from the band going out on a 20th Anniversary tour for “Wisconsin Death Trip“, while the fact that there is now a volume one suggests that there could well be another album in the offering…

…we’re going to skip over the Edsel Dope being Xer0 talk and avoid going down the rabbit hole around the rights and wrongs of Tripp Eisen because that’s pretty much all been said and done at this point. Our hopes for the album were always simply for something which is a fitting tribute to Wayne Static and the legacy of Static-X. Classic Science Fiction Horror introduction “Regeneration” sets the tone as a palette cleansing industrial moment before first single “Hollow” makes its entrance and it’s classic Static-X Evil Disco with haunting synths, staccato riffs and industrial sounds in the mix. The first single is a winner and finds Static himself on top form as an Industrial Groove Metal track that skillfully avoids some of the pitfalls of the Nu-Metal or Alternative Hard Rock moments that fleetingly appeared at the tale end of the bands career. “Worth Dyin For” continues that while wearing its Ministry influences on its sleeve. It captures a similar structure to the “Wisconsin Death Trip” classic “Bled For Days” while having a brighter chorus that combines the heavier and more melodic sides of the band into a single offering in some style. The heavier “Terminator Oscillator” takes a track that combines elements from the Wayne Static album “Pig Hammer” with sounds you might have heard on the final Static-X album “Cannibal“. It makes good use of samples and while riff wise it very similar to some other Static-X tracks, it sounds solid and it is immediately obvious that Tony Campos and Xer0 are both doing vocal parts on it around Static’s central vocal, something which it benefits from.

Second single “All These Years” has a dark and somewhat creepy video that depicts a Wayne Static as a young boy and the track itself is an eerie affair with ice cold synth loops that is soaked in industrial groove and would make a fine film soundtrack song. There is a mournful melody underlying “Accelerate” which the shortest cut and has the limited vocals of the “Wisconsin Death Trip” album, making it a nostalgic, almost hedonistic track and a guilty pleasure. It plays perfect partners with “Bring You Down” which has that classic Wayne Static rant style vocally with a bass heavy, staccato riff orientation that will get fans jumping around. Very much the kind of track that will be fans favorite it captures the imagination around what could have been for the band had things not played out the way that they did. “My Destruction” enters the fray with the kind vibe that “Brain Frog” brought to the table before diving into guitar driven chaos with an Evil Circus kind of vibe that makes it sound like it belongs to a Rob Zombie film, especially with the evil laughter and movie samples. The second track where both Campos and Xer0 contribute vocals around Wayne Statics central parts, it is one of the stand out efforts here.

A catchier chorus brings “Something Of My Own” some warmth despite the ice cold synths and odd time signatures riffs which make it sound like one of the heavier cuts from “Shadow Zone” before the wrecking ball of “Ostego Placebo” smashes through the building with a darker atmospheric and heavy programming. Its another where Xer0’s vocal contributions are pretty obvious and it’s pleasing that this new line up haven’t hidden behind that and claimed otherwise because having seen him perform the “Wisconsin Death Trip” album live, he could have mimic’d Static’s voice better than he does here but fortunately doesn’t. That means that the vocal contributions are obvious and Static himself gets a chance to shine. It’s a heavier white knuckle trill ride and worth twice the admission price with the adrenaline fueled pacing and vicious vocals making it another stand out. “Follow” is champagne vintage Evil Disco groove that leaves no stone unturned in it’s pursuit of madness before that all important Al Jourgensen contribution. Its not what you might have expected, a darker, slower, drawn out Metal track that has a somber and sobering acoustic guitar part in it. It sounds like Pink Floyd on steroids is the last thing you’d expect the Ministry vocalist to guest on but his contribution is a solid one and as the track plays out it makes for a fitting final bow. A solid album that captures the essence of Static-X perfectly, it’s one that should excite the fans as it does Wayne Static’s legacy justice [8/10]

Track listing

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

Project Regeneration Vol. 1” by Static-X is out now

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