On November 4, 1965, a child was born that would later grow up to push boundaries in music. Wayne Static, born Wayne Richard Wells, set out to challenge limitations and force us to abandon our conventions. When Wayne helped form Static-X in 1994, he really had no idea just how much of an impact he would soon make on the music industry. No, I’m not talking about the coining of “evil disco”, and I’m not talking about his music. I’m talking about his transcendent tresses. Now the man with the legendary locks has released his debut solo album, Pighammer, and everyone waits with baited breath to see if he’s capable of reaching new heights (with his hair, of course).
Okay, all jokes aside, I used to be a huge Static-X fan. 1999′s Wisconsin Death Trip still ranks among my favorite albums of all time. But, beginning with the release of Shadow Zone in 2003, I’ve slowly lost interest, little by little, until there was barely enough left to press play for Cult of Static. Optimistically, I hoped Wayne would be able to breathe some life into his solo album and recapture a bit of my interest. And after listening to Pighammer several times, I can firmly say “No such luck.”
According to interviews, Wayne and his wife, former adult film actress Tera Wray, moved from Los Angeles to the desert to “spen[d] some time getting off drugs and cleaning up, and [Pighammer] deals with all of that stuff.” One would think that removing an element, like drugs, that was previously present in your songwriting process would change a person’s sound. That’s not the case here. Essentially, Pighammer is Static-X with a slightly different tempo. He’s done this all before, but in a far more interesting fashion.
I applaud Wayne for getting clean. Really, I do. But I can’t pretend like this isn’t sub-par rehashed Static-X material. He’s tried to make it sound a little different by slowing down the pace of some songs, like “Around The Turn”, “Static Killer”, “The Creatures Are Everywhere”, etc. Also, I don’t think I heard any utterances of the word “ostego” on the album (I could be wrong though). But apart from that, you’ve already heard it all before—only better.
Dissenting opinions about Pighammer are evident; people are going to say “He’s the primary songwriter for Static-X, so how can his solo album not sound like Static-X?” But come on, it’s not like I was expecting an about-face, like Chris Cornell did with Scream. A little experimentation and variation never hurt anybody. As far as solo albums go, at least it’s better than Jeffrey Nothing’s The New Psychodalia. But if you want to hear this style done better, just revisit Wisconsin Death Trip. That’s what I’m going to do right now.