Project Regeneration Vol. 1 (album) - Static-X

Industrial metal is one of my favorite subgenres of metal and I can’t wait to look more into it during this blog journey. Considering how much I like the industrial sound, I’m ashamed to admit for how little while I’ve been into Static-X, a great industrial metal band from the States. I’ve known the band’s existence for a while, but only recently really got into listening to them. 

Indeed, Static-X has been around from the mid-’90s but ended breaking up in 2013, following the death of the frontman and lead vocalist Wayne Static in 2014. Some years after, the remaining original band members got together for a reunion and plans for new music. And boom, after 11 years of silence, Static-X released a new album in the summer last year. The new album, Project Regeneration Vol. 1 is a tribute to Wayne Static, including some unreleased recordings of his vocals that didn’t make to the band’s previous albums. In addition, the role of the lead vocalist has been taken on by a mystery man behind a mask, known as “Xer0”. He does a pretty good job stepping into the boots of Wayne.

Normally, I suck at listening to albums as a whole and rather prefer individual songs, but at the time the album dropped, I already had my blog plans and intentionally kept my ears away from the album until I got my blog all set up. However, I was already familiar with the two firstly released singles of this album, “Hollow” and “All These Years”, which both are absolute bangers. By now, I’ve listened the album a million times cover to cover because it’s so darn good!

Here’s a rundown on my thoughts, song by song.

1. Regeneration

This is a one-minute intro, not much to say about this one. (Didn't even find a video for it).

2. Hollow (Project Regeneration)

 

This was the very first single and song released from the album. And damn it’s a good song! I like contrasts, and this song definitely has it with the more mellow verses and more intense choruses. This might sound weird, but the verses have this… almost like “seduce-y” kind of sound to them, if that makes any sense. It must be the guitar melody with a dreamy, mysterious tone to it, accompanied by Mr. Static singing:

                Come on now I'll light your fire
                I'll make your every desire

                Come true if you let me in

                I won't stop till you say when

After being charmed like a snake, the intense chorus shakes you back into reality. Good tune!

3. Worth Dyin For 

 

This song was alright enough but mostly caught my ear firstly because the verses reminded me of an older Static-X song called “Bled for Days” from the band’s very first album Wisconsin Death Trip. I think this was simply because the rhythm of the vocals is similar in both of the songs. Another factor catching my ear was the key change between the verses and the choruses. At first, I didn’t like it that much, since it made the song sound incoherent as if the verses and choruses were two completely different songs. But I suppose I can count that as a contrasting factor and thus, can enjoy it. 

4. Terminator Oscillator 

 

At first, I didn’t think much of this song but got more focused on the vocals since this is the first song on the album sung solely by the mysterious Xer0. I suppose Wayne Static’s voice is quite distinctive as I could hear the difference right away. As much as I like Wayne’s voice, Xer0 does a good job in his own distinctive way, yet unfamiliar to me. I’d say his voice is rawer than Wayne’s but by no means in a bad way.

After several listens, however, this song has become one of my favorites in this album. The pulsating rhythm creates this uplifting energy to the song and together with the simple lyrics, it is impossible not to headbang and sing along.

Another notable thing: the song starts with a sample of a male voice saying “Gentleman, we can rebuild him. We have the technology”. I don’t know whether it was intentional or not, but I thought this was a cool detail, as the band actually is “rebuilding” Wayne Static with this album and the help of Xer0.

5. All These Years 

 

This was the second song I was already very familiar with. The song was released with a music video (above), and after seeing it, I thought this is, in fact, sort of a sad song. Musically super, but the message is sad. In the video, young Wayne is dreaming about the life of a rockstar in his bedroom when suddenly the old Wayne appears on the TV screen. Interpreting the video alongside the lyrics, I think the song is about the older Wayne singing to his younger self about the pain of growing up and losing the childish innocence in a self-blaming manner.

                This is what its come to don't you
                Don't you hate me I know I would

                I remember times of innocence
                
Take it back I would if I could
                
I'll destroy you

He dislikes the person he has become and how he has betrayed his younger self, whatever the reason is. He yearns to be the carefree and innocent kid he used to be, but being from the future, he knows how things will turn out and flat out tells his past self: “Beware, because I’ll destroy you”. Sad, huh? Also, no matter if the song is based on Wayne’s true feelings, the song is very relatable in a way because it really sucks to grow up and be an adult haha. 

6. Accelerate 

 

I didn’t find this song that intriguing. Frankly, I simply wrote in my notes: “kinda spooky”. For some reason I thought the song had a horrory tone to it. 

7. Bring You Down (Project Regeneration) 

 

Just like with “Terminator Oscillator”, initially, this song didn’t do much for me but started to grow on me after a couple of listens. I really like the melody pattern in the verses, and the chorus is particularly catchy and fun to sing along to. At first I couldn't put my finger on why this is, so I investigated the melody a bit further, and came up with this very theoretical analysis haha. The melody is actually super simple. The song is in the B-flat minor key. The melody in the verses is basically going back and forth between four notes in the scale (F, E-flat, D-flat and B-flat). This continues in the melody of the choruses with the exception of going up to A-flat. Rhythm-wise, the verses follow a pattern of alternating staccatos and legatos ("short-short-long-long-short-short") whereas the choruses are more of a continuous flow. I suppose here we have another case of contrasts which make the song so intriguing! I also like how Wayne sings some of the transitions between the notes: not purely but as glides instead, especially in the choruses.

8. My Destruction

 

Not a bad song, but didn't really provoke any special feelings in me. I don’t really have much to say about it. Except that every time I have to lip-sync the female voice saying “The road to hell is paved with blood” in the beginning. :D

9. Something of My Own (Project Regeneration) 

 

I don’t normally pay that much attention to lyrics, at least during the first listen, but right away, I found the chorus of the song really relatable.

                Leave me to burn, out in the cold
                Leave me to learn, things on my own

                I've been searching, searching my soul

                Looking for something of my own

I don’t know what the song is actually about, but for me it symbolizes my battle of being a people pleaser, living my life on other people’s terms and the desire to search myself and something of my own. I want to find myself, my soul and whatever is important to me even if it means difficulties and pain, like the song suggests. Musically, I like the song as well. My favorite part is the bridge and the breakdown after the chorus at 1:48. I really like how Wayne’s scream is sampled and paced with the melody. There’s something poetic about it too, as it sort of culminates the misery that (I think) the song is about.

10. Otsego Placebo  

 

The synth melody intro and some other synth elements in this song gave me serious Turmion Kätilöt vibes! (TK is a Finnish industrial metal band and one of my favorites, I’m sure I will be introducing them here at some point). The overall robotic and industrial feel (especially Xer0’s robotic voice) in this song was pretty cool, but otherwise, it was a bit too chaotic to my taste. Except the supersonic “yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah” at 0:44 is the best thing ever and I always have to listen to it even if I’m going to skip the song otherwise hahah.

11. Follow

 

Kinda falls into the same category as #8. Pretty good, but I don’t really have anything to say about it. Perhaps my least favorite track in this album. Except now that I look at it, all these songs that I have liked the least have Xer0 as the leading vocalist. So maybe I’m just not used to the new sound of the vocals just yet?

12. Dead Souls 

 
 
I don’t know what it is exactly, but there are certain songs that have a very emotion-provoking effect on me. I can’t but my finger on what the factor is, but one might be the change of minor and major keys throughout the song, creating a bittersweet feeling of longing, spiced up with a mixture of simultaneous desperation and hope. It’s a mix of emotions that is really hard to explain.

This song had this very effect on me, and I think the lyrics were to support this feeling. Without trying to analyze the song too much, I think it’s a very pretty song in a fragile yet powerful way, and a great ending-track for this kickass album. The soft guitar strumming in the end leaves the listener waiting for Project Regeneration Vol. 2 (which apparently will happen!!).

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