Static-X’s 1999 album Wisconsin Death Trip is one of my all-time favorite nu-metal albums and it’s finally on vinyl courtesy of Music on Vinyl. If you aren’t really familiar with this album then you should be. Chances are that you’ve heard the song or seen the video for “Push It” but you don’t know who made the song. Characterized as “Evil Disco” by the band’s frontman Wayne Static, this album is equal parts weird, melodic, fast and heavy. I dig it the most.
I have two pretty good memories of this album. The first is from the winter of ’99. My main man T-Bubbs got the CD from his parents for Christmas. We listened to it a whole lot that winter. Lots of days and nights just sitting in the upstairs of his house cranking the CD to the max. I liked it so much I even ended up going out and buying the digipack single for “Push It”. CD singles. Ha! What a relic of past times (for most people). The second memory I have of Static-X is seeing them live at Ozzfest 2007. T-Bubbs is actually present in this story as well. Weird. Anyway, we weren’t expecting much out of Static-X in a live setting but we were completely blown away with how fantastic they sounded. I don’t know if it was just the perfect day/setting for them but it was awesome. Lots of energy, HUGE thumping bass and lots of Wayne Static bobbing his head back and forth while playing guitar and singing. A very fond memory of simpler times.
Sadly, Static-X fell apart in 2009, was reformed in 2012 and then frontman Wayne Static died in 2014. No more Static-X. That’s a real bummer for me. I always looked forward to whatever they were putting out. It may not have always been as fun, unique or good as their first few albums but I did still enjoy it.
Now, onto the artwork. The art contained in this release looks like the 90’s action-sports culture. Picture skateboarding/BMX/snowboarding graphics in your mind and this album fits right in with it. I swear it’s like looking through a CCS, Mongoose Bikes and any other outlying-sport’s catalog. I love it. Big, bold colors and type. Lots of texture. Odd photo treatments. It perfectly fits the band and the times.
The cover starts it all off with a bang. The big image of a screaming guy that looks like it was shot through a TV screen submerged in cracked ice. The bright colors at the top. The texture behind the lettering. All are brilliant remnants of the 90’s design trends. If I was a designer back in the late 90’s I would have wanted to do this same damn treatment.
The spine of the record is really simple but it has a nice feature at the bottom, the logo. I can’t think of all that many records that I own that have a bands logo on the spine. Usually it’s just the band name, album title and any cataloging information that’s necessary. Maybe the record label’s logo, but not usually the band’s. A very cool addition that is appreciated by nerdy fans like myself.
The back of the jacket is similar to the front. Big image, a bit of texture and lots more color. The thing I like the most about the back of the jacket is how the graphic from the top of the front bleeds over onto the back. Very good choice. I don’t think I had ever noticed it before I bought the vinyl copy. I love finding little artistic touches like that so many years after my initial impressions were made.
The type is nice and bold on this release. Very fitting for the time period. It looks like they are using some version of the Din typeface for most of the text. One other cool thing to check out is the debossed/gold-foil stamped numbering in the yellowish-orange color block. These are supposedly limited to 1,000 copies on silver vinyl so they imprinted the numbers here. Very nice.
Opening up the gatefold and you are treated to all the lyrics for the album. Set in the Din typeface (naturally), all the lyrics are present and accounted for. Another big group image appears above. Notice the heavy texture applied to the image. It almost looks like a bad photocopy. Good stuff.
Now it’s time to get to the nitty-gritty. Pulling out the guts of the release and we are treated to a full-color insert with tons of cool things to look at. The logo from the front makes another appearance as do a bunch of photos. The band members are all represented with the thank you’s and other liner notes. The actual record comes in a sturdy, black anti-static sleeve. A nice touch that isn’t always thought of or actually implemented.
I really dig the graphics on the second side of this insert. I like the collage effect that was created and I REALLY like the big image on the right. Whatever is going on with that face is super wicked.
As I alluded to before, the record is pressed on a silver wax and it’s supposed to be limited to 1,000 copies for this format. I’m not sure if there will be a black wax, non-numbered release or not. I really like the look of the waves of color so I took a bunch of photos. Deal with it.
The labels follow the same design that was set forth early on. Wild photography, big color block and type set in Din.
The last little thing to show isn’t very important but I do appreciate the effort put into doing it. Music on Vinyl (the company who produced this release) adheres a nice, thick metallic sticker to the plastic outer-sleeve that gives a quick rundown of the release. Like I said, it’s nothing important but I just really like that they do that.
So there you have it. If you don’t know Static-X then you had better get to educating yourself real quick-like. Listen to this album on Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music or whatever-the-hell else the kids are listening to these days. Check out some of their music videos. Maybe look up a live concert on YouTube. I dig ’em and so should you!