SNAP INTO A SLIM JIM!!!
Anybody remember that ad campaign? The product was the American classic snack/junk food, the Slim Jim. The announcer was pro wrestler Macho Man Randy Savage. Yessir, the Macho Man grizzled out those words under high pressure in the most guttural of ways, neck veins standing at attention.
For the longest time, most of the vocals found on so-called "Nu Metal" records reminded me of that Randy Savage delivery. All growl, all cartoonish rage. There were parallels with the music too. Lots of down-tuned guitar rumble… and not much else.
So then why do I like this Static X record? It's still got plenty of deep guitar squall. There's also more than a little bit of uvula abuse. The mystery is that, unlike the other CDs I've heard, this one grabs my attention. Is it a change in the thematic approach? Dunno, I haven't pulled out the lyrics sheet yet.
The mystery's solution made itself known to me during the fourth or so listen: guitar solos.
That's right, at some point between now and my last Static X experience (2003's Shadow Zone), the band brought original lead guitarist Koichi Fukudu back into the fold and in the process, added color and extra intensity to the music.
Please don't worry, the guitar solos played by Fukudu don't go on for several minutes nor are they played with a violin bow. No, these are short and terse things that torque up the proceedings by allowing the rhythm section to take a short breather. This has the effect of making that chunky guitar seem all the more intense when it returns. This gives even the most brutish tunes ("No Submission" comes to mind) a feeling of dynamics that wouldn't have been there otherwise.
Call this stuff what you will (and I'm sure someone's gonna correct me on the Nu Metal thing), but there's an undeniable and relentless energy to the whole thing. Don't believe me? Put the opening "Cannibal" on the noise-making device of your choice. Turn it up very loud. Think of it as the aural equivalent of a Slim Jim, without the extra fat and salt, but with extra gristle.
Feel your neck veins stand at attention.