I know I’m in the minority here, but I’m going to be upfront with this: “Machine” is a better album than “Wisconsin Death Trip”. There I said it. As a STATIC-X fan from the beginning, I’ve listened to both of these albums a million times and I simply think that “Machine” is a stronger album (and perhaps the strongest album of STATIC-X’s career).
STATIC-X is known for blending Industrial synth work and their simplistic brand of machine-like Metal into a roller-coaster ride that doesn’t quite sit in the Nu Metal genre but only flirts with Industrial labels. Definitely one of the most unique sounds I’ve heard, there is a reason that STATIC-X remains one of my favorite bands to this day and why “Machine” is one of my favorite albums.
STATIC-X moves in plenty of new directions on “Machine”. They begin adding in a lot of new influences to the mix including a heavier Industrial side and even some Gothic tendencies both of which tend to only add solid layers to the already interesting sound that is this band.
The band uses the synth work in more relevant ways on this album. The keys and Industrial-esque noises are now significant parts to the songwriting and important factors to how songs build. Before the synth work simply complimented the instruments and now it is an instrument. Songs like “Cold” or “Otsego Undead” have to have the synth work to flow correctly and it’s written well enough that it’s the synths that make these songs stand out. So if you have issues with samples and keys being used as main sections then I would already say that “Machine” is not going to be for you.
Of course, STATIC-X had dabbled with Gothic work on their debut on a few of the songs like “Love Dump”, but the title track and the vocal work on “Cold” might trump it with how it is used. Where I found the Gothic tendencies on the first album to run a little too long and become a tad boring, on “Machine” its used as a melodic compliment to the hard hitting and multi-rhythm work the rest of the band is doing which makes it both stand out and more relevant to the overall feeling.
Now I’m sure with my next point I’m going to tend to alienate a lot more STATIC-X fans, but I believe that Tripp Eisen is a better element in this band then the guitarist he replaced. The guitars are now doing two separate things for most of the album instead of following each other and it adds a lot of flavor to the sound then they had before and I love it. Granted, we aren’t talking leads and solos with the band now but there is a definite new edge that wasn’t present before.
Overall, I just feel as though “Machine” is a more accomplished and full album with all the new layers and approaches to the music. Having new elements and layers added to the already awesome sound that STATIC-X has patented makes this album better on repeated listenings while all the while still retaining a catchiness that makes the band fun on first listen too. This is the band at their very best on all levels and to this day remains there.
Songs to check out: “Get To The Gone”, “Black And White”, “This Is Not”.
(Online April 23, 2009)