* * 1/2
One of the most high-voltage live bands out there right now, these industrial-metal fiends came impressively close to capturing their vicious stage assault on their last album, "Wisconsin Death Trip," an exercise in incessant, groove-oriented noise that yielded a moderate hit, "Push It."
"Machine" picks up where that one left off, with a similar formula--merciless rhythms and possessed grunts. But this time the techno element seems to drive the beats rather than simply heighten them. Hypnotic loops and samples create a chaotic yet controlled vibe on tunes such as "This Is Not," "Otsego Dead" (also heard on the "Dracula 2000" soundtrack) and the down-tempo lament "Cold."
Recalling the throbbing mechanical mayhem of early Ministry, Static-X melds electronica and rock into an otherworldly barrage of sound that's threatening yet still has a sense of humor. Unfortunately, this twisted sensibility comes off more effectively in a live setting, where singer Wayne Static's demonic, Don King hairdo is like a fifth band member.
Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.