[Warner Bros.; 2001]
After a year on the road supporting breakout debut Wisconsin Death Trip Wayne Static had come to a conclusion; “I hate this!” That exclamation, from Machine’s “This is Not” is
the centerpiece of an album about absolutely torching your way through hell at maximum speed. Machine sounds like highway signs and white lines whizzing by day after day after day. New parking lot, new venue, new city, new state. Same VHS tapes and the same old bunk waiting for you at the end of the night. Hell, “...In a Bag” is literally about how you can’t even shit on the bus. So when Wayne Static observes with horror “This is not my home / this is not my life / this is not me” what is there to do? While Machine doesn’t innovate on the 4/4-lunk-industrial of Wisconsin Death Trip, it brings its strengths into greater focus while shearing away what didn’t. The gross sex jams have been excised in favor of a song cycle about feeling like a cog inside a larger cog inside a machine that powers an even bigger machine. Static-X’s music is so simple it helps that Wayne has specific targets of ire to obliterate here. Problems are objectives to overcome with brute force (“Structural Defect”) or de-evolution (“Machine”) The music, meanwhile, pummels forth with unceasing force and fury but occasionally breaks into something truly surprising. When “Otsego Undead” concludes with twinkling spirals of synth arpeggio it’s a moment of quiet wonder that sparkles in the air like mid-day snow. Then the song ends and it’s back to the bag.