Static-X Finishing Album, Hire Dope Guitarist

Metal band mixing Machine for May release.

Static-X are wrapping up their second album, tentatively titled Machine and recorded while the band was in between lead guitarists.

Tripp Eisen, formerly of New York metal band Dope, has signed on as the permanent replacement for guitarist Koichi Fukuda, who left in November. Static-X were in rehearsals for the album when Fukuda left, and they decided to move ahead with recording plans rather than hold off until they found a replacement. Frontman Wayne Static assumed lead guitar duties.

Static-X are currently mixing Machine in Los Angeles for a May release. They recorded the album in their practice space with Ulrich Wild (Powerman 5000, Apartment 26) aboard again as producer.

Static said the new disc doesn't stray far from the techno-metal thrashing of the group's 1999 debut, Wisconsin Death Trip. "We just tried to have a little more of everything — it's a little heavier, it's a little poppier and more melodic at times, and we tried to experiment a little bit more with layering guitars and texturing things."

The singer said the album's most prominent theme is life on the road, with lyrics devoted to both the ups and downs of that lifestyle.

The band is choosing between "Permanence" and "Black and White" for Machine's first single.

Static-X plan to tour Europe in April, stage a U.S. headlining tour in May and then play on a package tour this summer — but they've ruled out a third run on Ozzfest. "As much fun as we had doing Ozzfest, I think it's good to try something else," Static said.

Though the band has yet to rehearse with its new guitarist, Static said he doesn't think Eisen will alter the group's sound. "He and I are really based in the same thing. We both grew up listening to Kiss and Rush, and we like a lot of the same stuff now — electronic/metal kind of fusion stuff — so I don't think it's really gonna change things. I just think he's gonna come and be an awesome player and make the band sound really tight and heavy."

The members of Static-X became friends with Eisen when Static-X and Dope toured together several times in 1999 and 2000, including Powerman 5000's Rockets & Robots tour.

Meanwhile, Dope have named the New York guitarist known only as the Virus as Eisen's replacement.

Frontman Edsel Dope said Eisen's departure was ultimately for the best. "You can't be in a band for the wrong reasons, and you especially can't be in a band like ours with people you don't like. ... I made up my mind not to work with Tripp, and because of that decision all of the parties involved are happier people right now."

Drummer Preston Nash also recently left Dope. The group has chosen a replacement but is not ready to name the new player, Dope said.

The new lineup will begin tracking their as-yet-untitled sophomore album early next month in a Los Angeles studio, the singer said.