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Thursday, October 06, 2011

Album Review: Wayne Static - Pighammer

Wayne Static - Pighammer
2011 Dirthouse Records
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

So now we have something we might subtitle "Otsego Solo," the debut album from Wayne Static as an individual artist. Pighammer is the album in question and if your main question is how much different this album is from Static-X, well, not much, honestly. That ends up being a good thing since Static-X is one of the few bands from the long-dead "nu metal" explosion that still carries any weight.

In a concept stewed beneath his electro-shocked tower coif, Wayne Static masterminds a humping 42 minute groove metal album that (on the front) comes off as a ripping merge between Motel Hell, Autopsy, The Human Centipede and Bride of Frankenstein. Pighammer is Wayne Static's intentionally demented quasi concept album about a fetish-oriented plastic surgeon who likes to sew pig snouts to beautiful ladies. For the disarming artwork of Pighammer, it's no surprise Wayne Static utilized his wife, ex-porn star Tera Wray Static.

There's no love dumping on this album, only random bits of Wray Static's sex panting ("Static Killer") and her other haunted vocal plants, while Wayne engineers the guitars, bass, programming, synths and beats. Though this brings the Pighammer enterprise down to a more singular, rawer method of attack, Wayne Static's capacity for hip-shaking furrows does him favor. Start a War and Shadow Zone began an age of stripped for Static-X, so it's only natural Wayne Static follows suit on his own. He keeps the album on a throb for much of the ride before slinking to the finish line on an intentional drag. In other words, very much like a Static-X record.

While the contributions of Koichi Fukuda and Nick Oshiro (and before he split for Soulfly, Tony Campos) create more depth in tone and tempo, at least Wayne Static proves on Pighammer he can assemble a largely entertaining "evil disco" record on his own. The whole pig hammer ethos is a metaphoric smoke screen for Static's actual underlying message: his getting off of drugs.

Sometimes the message is blunt, such as "Get it Together," which you can get the gist in title alone. No doubt Tera has helped Wayne Static do just that, and though the insinuation of a solo record hints possible dischord within the main band, there's no doubt Pighammer is Static's personal purge. He's got it together on the driving "Around the Turn," "Chrome Nation," "Assasins of Youth" and the double-tripped "Thunder Invader," all worthy of a Static-X album, much less this one. Wayne Static's rhythmic scat-huffed vocals are as sharp as ever on these cuts, as are his riffs and electro washes.

Even though Static is relegated more to drum machines on this album, you don't mind it so much since there's still a swing to Pighammer that separates it from industrial and commercial metal, two tags forever heaped upon Static-X but not wholly accurate. Pighammer might've stood better to carry some extra momentum into the final third of the album, once "Shifter" turns the speed knob and sequencers backwards. Still, Wayne Static pours out some nasty riffage and wallowing vocals (drifting into Jonathan Davis territory on "Shifter's" bridges) along with a heaving bob that would steer other bands directly onto FM hard rock radio. "Slave" could have no problem banging out on today's FM next to Nick Oshiro's former band, Seether, while Wayne's chilly synths give the track a trippy shake.

As Koichi Fukuda is romping around with Drugstore Fanatics in the duration of Static-X's hiatus, Wayne Static throws a pretty cool rip 'n rave on Pighammer. It's been 12 years since Static-X's Wisconsin Death Trip, and much of that album's (and Machine's, for that matter) scorching density has been traded away for leaner drives. Pighammer is no different in mentality and is overall impressive as a one-man-jam. Wayne Static has kicked his assassins of youth to the curb through his marriage and his music and that's the bigger picture.

Rating: ***1/12

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