Start a War Explicit Lyrics
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With its fourth album, thrash heroes Static-X head back to the future of metal as 'Start A War' marks the return of original producer Ulrich Wild and original guitarist Koichi Fukuda, both of whom were instrumental in the success of the band's platinum debut Wisconsin Death Trip. Unrelenting and uncompromising, Static-X elevates it's bone-crunching hard rock to a new level of earth-scorching destruction with 'Start A War'. Warner. 2005.
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1999's "Wisconsin Death Trip" was a very good industrial metal album and a great debut, but 2001's "Machine" was (considered by most to be) a sophomore slump. "Machine" was just a full on metal assault, but 2003's "Shadow Zone," which recaptured the industrial-metal edges, was maybe Static's best work to date.
Static-X have one last tradition: being underrated. "Wisconsin Death Trip" went platinum, but that was mostly thanks to the hit single "Push It." Albums number two and three have been vastly overlooked. Part of their problem is that Static-X formed around the same time as most nu-metal bands, and, even though their music is like Pantera meets Ministry, it usually ends up sounding along the lines of White Zombie (another "nu-metal" band). Thus, they are lumped in with a lot of radio-friendly and unoriginal "metal" groups. But Static-X ain't Crazy Town. Their past three releases were all solid industrial metal albums which were heavy, consistent, and quite innovative.
Now we have "Start a War," a release that I had high expectations for. This was supposed to be an album that gets back to the roots of their debut, and former guitarist Koichi Fukuda (who worked with the band on "WDT") rejoined Static for this album, so it wouldn't be a complete shock to me if Static-X sounded like they did back in 1999. But, even still, I was excited to hear "Start a War," and expected it to carry on the "new sound" tradition. Did it?
"Enemy" has a fast skipping intro with trippy, bobbing guitars and drums. Some keyboards are included, giving this song a spacey vibe (which is creepy at times), and Wayne goes from whispering to laying down a couple of "Machine"-esque yells, to staccato vocals.
"Start a War" has beeping synthesizers in the verses. The guitars and vocals explode in the choruses, though.
"Pieces" has stop-start, staccato riffing and vocals, plus a mini guitar solo.
"Dirthouse" begins and ends with a almost a machine gun snare drum attack. The middle has soft, chugging guitar riffs with some synths.
"Skinnyman" has a lurching groove with chugging, industrial-tinged guitars.
"Just in Case" sort of echoes "So" from the last Static-X album. It begins with a booming, pounding rhythm, but then it turns to non-dominating guitars, synths, and vocals which switch from whispering to fairly clean and proper crooning.
"Brainfog" is maybe the weirdest song ever written by this band. The first two and a half minutes is sheer techno, followed by five minutes of silence. This is then followed by a capella vocals, which echo track 11 "Otsego Amigo." The vocals begin with a loud demonic voice, then Wayne rages out of control, then there is a bit of whispering, and finally, a man who speaks in Spanish.
But, even with the above heavy moments, "Start a War" probably has the most electronica out of all five of Static-X's releases. Plus, Wayne croons and whispers about as much as he yells. As aforementioned, Static-X has always been a solid industrial metal band, but here they are a bit more melodic; like industrial-techno-metal.
Now, I hope I haven't given you the wrong impression; Static-X didn't substitute any riffs in favor of synths. "Start A War" is still plenty heavy and VERY catchy (maybe the catchiest album of the year). It has more riffs than most industrial bands would ever dream of, and the first four tracks have a break neck speed, but the C.D.'s pace slows down as it progresses. (In addition to the aforementioned songs, "I Want to F-ing Break It" and "I'm the One" are two of the most exciting songs on here. "I Want to F-ing Break It" has a surging guitar attack and raging vocals, and "I'm the One" is probably the catchiest and most addictive track of the bunch.)
So, to answer my own question: yes, this album does have a new sound. Wayne and Company made this new sound by combining the metallic moments from their previous albums and adding more electronics. This C.D. does not go back to Static-X's roots and it does not sound very much like "Wisconsin Death Trip" (which is what was intended). Instead, "Start a War" is like "Shadow Zone" meets Nine Inch Nails. It's not watered down sound, it's more like Static-X with a new wave vibe.
"Start a War" probably won't change the minds of non-fans, but it's still a good album. You might be like me, kind of lukewarm on it at first, but this disc does grow on you. Plus, there should be some songs (i.e. the first four tracks) that you will like from the very beginning.
Even though I don't consider Static-X a nu-metal band, their C.D.'s are essential for nu-metal fanatics (as well as fans of industrial metal). Also, if you're a fan of Static-X's last three albums and are hungry for more, this album will satisfy your cravings. Finally, if you're new to this band, I'm not sure whether you should start here or not. I still think "Shadow Zone" is Static-X's finest hour, but "Start a War" IS a good representation of them. So, I do, generally, recommend this C.D. to all fans.
In conclusion, whether you like this album's new wave sound or not, please realize that every band needs to evolve, and the best bands never make the same album twice. Constantly changing your sound is not an easy task, so you've at least got to give these guys props for that.
All of the familiar Static-X elements are here, make no mistake. It's not that this album sounds exactly like "W.D.T.," but that it has the same spirit. Those who were disappointed with the stunted growth of "Machine," or the strange change of direction (which I personally enjoyed) with "Shadow Zone," will most likely have their faith renewed after hearing this album. "The Enemy" and "Dirthouse" are classic-X, songs that will instantly please any and all fans. Drummer Nick Oshiro finally gets to play on this album. I was wondering for the longest time if he was any good at the drums, afterall, John Freese (The Vandals, A Perfect Circle) filled his seat on not only "Shadow Zone," but on "Disclaimer," the debut by his former band Seether. Well, let's just say, the boy can play. He's quite fast, and sounds perfectly natural with Static-X, as highlighted in "Skinnyman." Koichi, who replaced his old replacement, Tripp Eisen earlier in the year (after some Michael Jackson-esque charges were brought against him) refreshes the group's sound. He was sorely missed on "Shadow Zone," but he returns to the throne as the unsung hero of Static-X. This is probably the strongest line-up Static-X have had, and I get a feeling that there won't be much more rotation in the future.
"Start A War," is definitely the band at their best. You've got familiar sounds clashing with new sounds (hell, even that strange voice Wayne developed on "Shadow Zone" is present), and yet they manage to pull it off without a hitch. Personally, I don't see a flaw here. If you liked Static-X in the beginning, you're gonna love them now. This new release may not break down any walls, but it will surely solidify an already strong fanbase.
There isn't one bad song on this CD, showing how strong Static-X has become with their unique style, vocals, and thrash/rock flavor. My favorites would be the title song 'Start A War', frantic with Wayne's classic growling in both whisper and shout. The driving beat of 'Pieces' gets you out of your chair every time. 'Dirthouse' another favorite, bringing in some electronica to the mix, with more of a "railroad" beat to the thrash.
'Just in case' is awesome, beginning with a feeling of marching to one's doom. Whispers, pauses, lyrics, all make up a perfect song, with nice "railroading" at the end.
'Night Terrors' starts out as almost traditional rock song, less growl and thrash but great nonetheless, with moving drum and bass breaks. 'Ostego Amigo' brings back memories of 'Ostego Undead', though nothing will ever beat 'Undead'.
'Brainfog' brings in some really great electronica along with some unique percussion, using only the word "Brainfog" as vocals, but ends at 2:20 minutes with silence following it. There is a five minute blank gap until some senseless vocals without instrumentation come in, lasting for another three-plus minutes. 'Brainfog' would have been great, but I hate those silence gaps.
'Skinnyman' is the star of this CD, possibly the best song Static-X has ever done, in my opinion. Addiction. Strong and slow, passionate beat, and powerful lyrics make it the one song I play over and over. "As my skin turns yellow, I forget this hell. As the skies are bruised, and the rain comes down. As my face turns pale, I try to deal with these thoughts. At the end of it all....I still miss you."
If you love Static-X, this CD is a must buy. Even if you are lukewarm and felt disappointed in 'Shadowzone', you will still like 'Start A War'. Grab up the CD and take that ponytail out of your hair. Enjoy!