These album overviews were originally written for Metal Edge Magazine when I was a contributor to their “Hear Us Out” CD reviews section back in 2006-2007. With the magazine wrapping up publication a few months ago, I decided to add them to the context of our PiercingMetal presentation. I felt that by doing this I would not only be raising the horns in remembrance of the magazine but would also be able to showcase just how different writing for a major publication was when it all came down to it. Since “Hear Us Out” notations were usually “100” words in length, these posts will feature several reviews each until we run out of them. The freelance writing tenure at Metal Edge Magazine was discussed on THIS LINK so please check that out when done. Here are the reviews, so “Hear Us Out”.
Staind: ”The Singles: 1996-2006” (Atlantic Records)
With Staind, Aaron Lewis and company most certainly dished out the Melancholy with their major label debut “Break The Cycle”. It was an album whose lead single actually owed some level of popularity based on Fred Durst’s (Limp Bizkit) initial interest in them. Durst had performed the song “Outside” with Lewis on the Family Values tour before the albums release in 2001. The performance built an interest and buzz that kept until the album hit. As a band Staind laid down the radio friendly Alt-Metal with apparent ease and this hits collection is a great way to remember their finest moments from the span of their releases. “BTC” has four presentations on the album, and sadly the studio version is omitted to include the acoustic pairing with Durst. While it’s a good version I am sure that many fans would prefer to have had the darker and heavier studio cut included. Other highlights include the hits from “14 Shades Of Grey”, an album that found the group a little more mainstream as they sang tributes to fallen friends and their family as well. A touching track is “Zoe Jane”, Lewis’ daughter. It was an album that showed there was also light inside the once dark and brooding band. In addition to the main hits there are several acoustic numbers and among them are covers of both Pink Floyd and Tool. The songs show that there is added passion to this group and it’s an interesting manner to hear a Tool song in the first place. Floyd generally translates well acoustically and on this I found the classic track “Comfortably Numb” to be just a little more ominous. I enjoyed Staind as a band, and felt that they strived to be different from the crop of Seattle Sound bands that the decade had just closed us out from. They used elements of this melancholy and angst to a great effect with a dose of Hard Rock that worked out very well in the end. As a result this band has far more memorable tracks than many others would from this same time in music history. Don’t believe me? Name three Limp Bizkit hits……see, I told you so.
Static X: “Cannibal” (Reprise Records)
There are not many bands that sound like Static X nor are there many who are able to infuse the level of Techno-Industrial vibe into Heavy Metal music as good as they do. For over 13 years, they have been continually impressing and surprising their fan base with what they can do and with their fifth recording “Cannibal” – they show that they stand poised to repeat the process once again. Led by Wayne Static, Cannibal finds the group also with their fifth different lineup in terms of the recording of the new music. The changes however, mark the return of their original guitarist Koichi Fukuda who now joins Oshiro (drums) and Campos (bass) to complete the four-piece Industrial Metal Masters. Despite the lineup shifts the listener will still find the aggressive and powerful sound that makes Static-X such a special band to the world of music and truly second to none against those who use this style. The assault begins right away with the title track “Cannibal” – a song that is a not so subtle hint at the overall assault that is looming on the other tracks. This is a heavier release than I every remember them delivering and they use their unique elements to success and make songs like “Chemical Logic” a form of “Techno-Thrash”. When it gets to “Forty Ways” they use the feel of Disco meets Rave music and give a number that you just know is going to have the audience on the feet jumping as they perform it. Static himself seems to be in top form once again as he screams in rage repeatedly and delivers his point with determination and intent. The listeners will find a very “live” sounding record instead of an over-processed piece and the reasoning was for it to maintain the level of an “in your face” album as opposed to sounding too bland and over-produced. They succeeded here as you feel the need to make this a louder and louder listen on your stereo and I continually felt my head bopping and foot tapping in time with the songs as I played it the first time around. This album welcomes new friends while at the same time embraces the old ones. If you like Metal coupled with a solid groove then this is for you, there will be “No Submission” this time. While never truly away, Static-X has returned.
Continue reading Revisiting “Metal Edge” Magazine: The CD Reviews – Part 10