By Ray Forrester
Del Shannon, Queen, The Cranberries, HELLYEAH, Static-X. What do these legendary bands have in common?
Like all of us they were each faced with heartbreak, loss, and tragedy. Losing the most crucial and vital part of their respective bands while trying to create and record a new album while also losing a friend. Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, and friends finished Del Shannon’s 1991 album “Rock On” after he killed himself.
After Freddie Mercury passed away Queen used his final recordings to complete their 1995 album “Made In Heaven”. Same with the passing of Dolores O’Riordan. The Cranberries would finish the 2019 album “In The End”. When the metal god Vinnie Paul left us HELLYEAH had to pull together more than ever to complete their 2019 album “Welcome Home”.
Why would they take the time and effort to finish up a project after losing a close loved one?
Simply, love and reverence. To pay respects to the loved ones who’ve departed this existence. To honor them.
Now finally after a very long wait it’s Static-X’s turn to honor a fellow brother. A fellow friend. As I said it was a long wait but after hearing this gem it was absolutely worth it. I tried to go into this objectively. With a Static-X record you know exactly what you’re gonna get sprinkled with little twists, turns, and surprises.
Upon hitting play on track 1 I honestly for the first time ever did not know what to expect going into a Static-X album. It made me a little nervous. That’s fair right? These are Wayne’s final recordings. Final pieces of music. Final words. Final works. Left incomplete.
That’s such a huge and tough task for anyone to take on. That amount of responsibility and duty I can’t even pretend to imagine. It’s a little scary to say the least. After listening to this monster of an album though you can tell it was entirely an effort and labor of love. I can literally hear the care, love, passion, dedication, commitment, and the blood, sweat, and tears that they put into it. I can see why Koichi, Tony, and Ken took their time. They used it to the fullest. The sound and production of Project Regeneration Vol. 1 is on point. It sounds fantastic. The same classic Static-X sound that we all know and love. Massive crunch. Unmatched groove. Funky and scary riffs. It just makes you want to jump and bounce and Destroy All. A powerful motherfucker.
This album is mean. It’s fucking tough. It’s meaty. Its dirty. It’s gritty It’s just down right nasty! It hit me right square in my goddamn face and knocked me to the floor, and I’m not complaining. You get everything you could ever want and expect and a little more with Project Regeneration. Shades of their entire 20+ year career blended together so beautifully and masterfully for an Evil Disco Heavy Metal cocktail that you can’t stop drinking. They come right at you and give you few moments to catch your breath, and I personally fucking love that.
Wayne’s lyrics are possibly some of his best ever. Simple and to the point yet powerful and moving. The words are right there on the surface yet as deep as you are willing to go. The band is so tight which is quite impressive considering they had to do this without Wayne being there. As tight as Jim Keltner laying down a track during a recording session.
Static-X always possessed a quality that I admired that some of the greats like Tom Petty, Bob Seger, and The Eagles possessed. Their songs are short, sweet, to the point yet extremely affective, deep, and unbelievably moving. They are simple songs yet quite complex.
They say if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! They’re not intricate like a Dave Mustaine guitar solo. It’s basic stuff but with tons of imagination and boundless creativity oozing all over. A good friend once told me, if you ain’t got rhythm you gotta have soul.
Well Static-X with this record not only have the fucking balls and attitude they have their rhythm and soul on full display for all to see and hear. You really feel these songs. I think because of the absence of Wayne and because the songs are just that fucking good. There will always be a hole in all of our hearts that can never be completely filled. But with everything going on in the world today this album couldn’t have come at a better time. It may never fill that hole but it damn sure eases the pain. A lot. And I know I can’t begin to thank the guys in the band and their crew for everything that they do. It is certainly appreciated.
When you get right down to it everybody involved with this album did a magnificent job and deserve a big tip of the cap. They handled this thing with care and delicacy and god damn if they didn’t create something so fucking beautiful that it truly brought me to tears. Very well done and deserved to everyone involved.
Some of Wayne’s last words on the album are, “Can you set me free”? Although we miss him terribly the small sliver of peace left in our minds is knowing he is set free and no longer hurting. It’s a bitter sweet moment.
My wish is that Wayne could hear this record because he’d be smiling like a butchers dog. He would absolutely approve and absolutely love it. The record fucking rips and it will kick your ass if you’re not ready for it.
We all need a good ass kicking every now and again and I’m thrilled that it’s Static-X doing the kicking in 2020. For my money this is the album of the year and only seven months into 2020 possibly album of the decade.
Thank you Koichi, Tony, Ken, and every single person who had a hand in making this thing possible. For making it come to life. You never disappoint us fans. And thank you Wayne for your vision. For your music. For your love and dedication. Not a day passes where we don’t miss that smile. From the middle of all of our hearts, thank you Static-X. Thank you so fucking much. Love & respect.