Robby Reviews Static-X’s Project Regeneration
Ever since Wayne Static sadly died in 2014, I don’t think anyone thought we’d get another Static-X album. Even after his wife Tera, before her passing, said she was working on getting his unreleased stuff out there, I personally had my doubts about it happening.
Last year though, we got wind that Tony Campos got his hands on Wayne’s demo material and wanted to rework it and release it. While they were working on that, they toured a bunch (I got to see them 3 times). After some delays for one reason or another, Project Regeneration is finally here, I have it, and I’m super excited to talk about it. Almost as much as I am to listen to it nonstop. Let’s go through this thing song by song.
A fun little instrumental piece with some voice samples. One of my favorite things in the world is when samples from movies are used in songs. These one used the same clips from “I’m With Stupid,” which was cool. Elsewhere in the album, I believe the samples were recreated rather than lifted from movies directly. I heard it’s hard to get clearance to use audio from movies…
I love this song. It was released as single a while back, so nothing about this was a surprise. I believe the vocals are 100% Wayne (and Tony). In my opinion, due to a lack of existing vocals, they had to repeat the chorus more than they would have. It’s not a bad thing, but kind of off-brand, I guess.
“Worth Dyin For”
Let’s get what I consider the bad stuff out of the way. First off, I’m subtracting 5 points for the missing apostrophe in the title. That bugs me to no end. With that out of the way, this is another song where the limited amount of vocals hindered the song a tad. Some parts are provided by Wayne, but a good portion comes from Xer0. And that “no way!” part bothers me a bit. I like the guitar work, but it’s played a little looser than I think Wayne would have played it, but I suppose I shouldn’t get too nit-picky. One other thing that I didn’t immediately think about: the title and lyrics make me a little uneasy for obvious reasons.
As for the cool stuff, I do enjoy the overall flow of the song. It’s quite “Bled for Days”-ish, but not too much. Out of all the songs on the album, I’d say this is one of the better examples of Xer0 emulating Wayne’s voice the best. Especially since Wayne’s voice is featured on the track, it’s tricky to make two vocalists work.
Oh man, this is the song! I listened to the sample of this song more than any others probably, so I already knew it was going to be awesome. I love the synths, the Six Million Dollar Man samples, the tight guitar riffs, everything. It’s super heavy, but has that evil disco flavor.
Maybe I need to listen to the album some more, but this song stands out the more I listen to it. The guitars are crunchy, but they’re also super clear. The guitar doesn’t sound quite as processed and pristine in the other tracks. It almost sounds fake, but I like it a lot. Anyway, all that mixed with those hi-hats, the Wisconsin Death Trip-esque drum programming…yeah, it’s good. Props to the Total Recall sample, too.
Halfway through the track, there is a weird, random interlude of sorts where the music changes and has a different tone. “I want it! I need it” It sounds cool, but out of place. There are examples of that in most of the songs though. Whatever.
“All These Years”
I appreciate this sound of this song and that it appears in the middle of tracklist. It works to come after “Terminator Oscillator.” It would have been right at home on Shadow Zone, for better or for worse. Something I noticed throughout most of the songs, including this one, is that there are these short drum fills that are plugged here and there. I totally get why they’re there and could probably learn from their existence in my own music, but it’s another very minor gripe I have with the album as a whole. Most people probably don’t even notice them. It just contrasts a little too much with the otherwise programmed drums. And just to be clear, I have no problem with drum machines. If you listen to my music, you should know that.
Here’s an interesting one. More about drums: this one has a lot of real drum overdubs. Lots of drum fills and cymbals. Again, it’s just me being overly critical, but I like how the drums and all the instrumentation were handled on this song a lot.
The guitars are super tight and processed maybe a little too much. And to me, too much is just right. The vocals are especially interesting and aggressive. The tempo is pretty slow, so the aggression works well. And then you get the WDT-ish guitar riffs, which is rather uplifting. It’s a little reminiscent of “Love Dump.”
“Bring You Down”
Is this song “Fix?” No, but it starts out like it. I can see this as being picked for a future single/video. It’s heavy but is still accessible. Maybe a little like “Cold” or something. Anyway, it’s a good song, but still a by-the-books Static-X song.
Xer0 brings it again on this track. I love his vocals here. I’m not sure why, but on this song particularly, they sound a little like Edsel Dope’s. The song is just fun. It’s upbeat, has a lot of changes, Tony lends his grunty voice here and there, and the abundance of samples is cool. There’s also one of those aforementioned weird interlude sections towards the end. It’s awesome, but it sounds like it belongs in another song. And if you were able to separate out the vocal track right there, you could probably convince me that it came from a Dope song.
“Something of My Own”
There might be documentation of this, but my gut tells me this was from the Shadow Zone era. Wayne’s vocals have a certain clean sound that I feel like only popped up on that album. Other than that, I have to say it’s a bit uninspired. It’s certainly still Static-X, but it’s a little less good version of that old radio-single kind of Static-X. This is one I’ll tend to skip over when listening to Project Regeneration.
The Running Man samples! More Total Recall samples! I appreciate almost any movie samples that make their way into industrial metal, but especially when they’re from my favorite movies. So this song is a breath of fresh air. The guitars sound wonderful, the drums are just the right amount of artificial, and you’ll want to scream along with it, if you can make out the words. 🙂
I love this song, and I’ll try to make this the last time I mention it, but there’s another one of those odd sections in the middle that sounds like it was ripped from another song. Many of these songs do that, it makes it a thing and shouldn’t actually be weird. I don’t know.
Awesomest intro ever? Maybe. It starts all synthy and slow and atmospheric. Then BOOM! We get chugging guitars, blast beats, tons of vocal processing, and plenty of fills and flourishes sprinkled around. This is one of the more dynamic and interesting songs. Every time you get into the rhythm, it switches up to something else for a measure or two. Good stuff.
If it wasn’t for Al Jourgensen providing vocals, I wouldn’t be into this song too much. However, in context with the rest of the album, it totally works. I like how it sounds, and it’s definitely a very appropriate concluding track. But whenever I’m like, “I want to listen to a Static-X song. Which song should I listen to?” this song would never be my first thought. It reminds me of some of those slower, more melodic Ministry songs such as “The Fall” or “Khyber Pass.”
Edit: I forgot to leave some final thoughts! To be clear, I listened to the crap out of these songs before I wrote what you see above, and I will continue to listen to the crap out of them. It’s possible my opinion will change about the album, for better or for worse. But right now, I effing love this album!
The biggest takeaways for me are those strange parts in most of the songs. I guess they’d be considered refrains in most cases. The the way the vocals and the instrumentation sounds during them sounds so different from the rest of the song. It’s like they went in later and added those to spice up the tracks. I don’t know. Like, I said, I’ll probably get over them eventually.
To me, it’s easy to forgive some of the lack of variation of vocals since when working with Wayne’s recordings, they can only do so much. And it’s tricky to combine his and Xer0’s in the same song. So you can’t be too picky with that, I think.
Other than that, I have no complaints. In fact, I’m impressed overall with it. Time will tell, but I easily rank this higher than Pighammer and Cult of Static already. I could see myself putting it over Shadow Zone and Start a War as well.
When will we get Vol. 2? I’m still waiting on Dope’s Blood Money Part 2. That might be sitting around, completed, waiting to be released. If not, that might influence the timeline of when Project Regeneration, Pt. 2 can come out. Whatever. If it’s half as good as this album, I’ll patiently wait.
By the way, the production on this album is superb. Shoutout to Ulrich Wild.