Staind, a Boston-based foursome mentored by Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst, is the more musically subtle band. Break the Cycle, its sophomore album, refers to the misery passed on from generation to generation -- specifically singer Aaron Lewis's family issues. And Cycle is an issues album, Lewis's therapy session for all to hear. "For You" reads like a final confession from child to parent ("I am fucked up because you are"), and on the current single, "It's Been Awhile," he sings, "I cannot blame this on my father." Staind wraps up all this pain in deceivingly melodic packages, sort of like Nirvana's "All Apologies" without the depth. Static X's Machine, a mile-a-minute thrashfest, also has issues. But where Staind's Lewis guides his anguish through unplugged ballads, Static X frontman Wayne Static merely howls, growls, crashes, and burns on his band's second album. The differences between songs such as "Black and White," "This Is Not," and "Cold" are barely distinguishable, and the overload of electronic gadgetry and kerosene vocals hardly disguises the lack of actual songs here. This is metal machine music for postmodern robots.
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