Static-X have abandoned their "trancecore" sound for traditional Mexican music.
Not really, but that's what the techno-metal rockers lead you to believe during the first few seconds of their album, Machine (May 22), as bassist Tony Campos nods to his Mexican roots with the cancionita "Bien Venidos."
"For me, every time I hear the intro it puts me in a good mood," frontman Wayne Static said recently. "It makes me smile; it's kinda happy. And then the song kicks in and just takes your head off catches you off guard."
From there, Machine which follows Static-X's 1999 breakthrough, Wisconsin Death Trip proceeds with full-on metal mayhem and never lets up. Static said the album title refers to the churning feel and rigidity between the guitars and drums that the band created this time around.
Counteracting the emotional detachment of the music, Static offers frustrated, brooding lyrics, many of which, including those of the single "This Is Not," reflect on the pitfalls of life on the road.
"I wrote the lyrics when we'd been on the road for about a year and [were] feeling particularly burned out at the time and really wanting to go home," Static said. "I was just feeling, 'What am I doing here? This is not my life. I can't believe I've been on this bus for a year.' It was a low point, definitely."
On "Cold," which features a slow, plodding groove and a new-wavey electronic melody, Static assesses how he felt being separated from his girlfriend for long stretches of time, another drawback of constant touring.
Static said he's not dreading the roadwork ahead because the band has a better touring schedule with built-in breaks and can afford two buses and hotel rooms a far cry from the old days, when the four bandmates and their seven-member crew were crammed into an RV for months on end. The group will hit the road with Pantera and Slayer in late June (See "Pantera Line Up Dates For Extreme Steel Tour").
Static-X recorded Machine as a threesome, before signing on former Dope guitarist Tripp Eisen to replace Koichi Fukuda. When Fukuda left in November, Static, Campos and drummer Ken Jay decided to move ahead with work on the record instead of throwing his replacement straight into the studio. Static assumed all guitar duties.
"It's almost easier for us to [record] as a three-piece than it would have been to have Koichi, or anybody else, there," the frontman said. "I played 99 percent of the guitars on the first record, so it felt natural. Guitar-wise, it was not a problem we just had to scramble a bit to come up with the keyboard parts."
Meanwhile, the band's home video, "Where the Hell Are We and What Day Is It ... This Is Static-X," is still delayed indefinitely. Static-X's publicist said the delay was due to a manufacturing glitch, but last month Static said the holdup resulted from the fact that Ozzy Osbourne's camp had not formally signed off on the Ozzfest footage.
"Verbally, Sharon [Osbourne, Ozzy's wife and manager] signed off on it, so they went ahead and used all the footage, so now we're either stuck with delaying it indefinitely or going back and editing out all the Ozzfest stuff."
Sharon Osbourne could not be reached at press time.
The documentary follows Static-X from their early days as a struggling band in Chicago up to their slot on the high-profile metal tour last summer. Among the more revealing moments in the film is footage of Static naked in the studio during sessions for Death Trip.
"There's a little bit left to the imagination," he said. "They actually had a little too much in there before I had them cut a little bit out."