Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Motionless in White - Creatures

Word about this album spread pretty damn quickly through the metalcore community. Like some other bands out there, one of the things that helped Motionless in White get more attention was the appearance of the band themselves. I will admit, what they have going is unique and isn’t too shabby, but the fact that their vocalist looks identical to a young Marilyn Manson isn’t going to affect their music in any way at all. I mean, theatrics and other shit like that can either enhance or butcher a live experience, but I’ve never seen them live, so I guess I don’t really have much at all to use as any sort of prejudice. But in order to avoid getting too off-track, Motionless in White is quickly approaching the release of their new album, Infamous. So when I was told this, I thought that this is a perfect time to review the predecessor to Infamous, Creatures. And on a side note, I will be reviewing Infamous sometime this week or next week, whenever I get around to it.

Metalcore has turned into a very touchy subject recently. It’s surprised me how if a metalcore band isn’t innovative or progressive in SOME way or another, they get a big “GENERIC SHIT” sticker slapped across their foreheads before getting the boot from critics. As for me, I’m not a complete and total hater of the generic and pure metalcore bands; but I won’t disagree with the fact that there most definitely has been a decrease in quality in the genre over the past four or so years. When it comes to Motionless in White, in no way, shape, or form would I consider them progressive or innovative. But I wouldn’t consider them as being in the melting-pot (they’re probably more like waist-deep). In other words, Motionless in White is a generic metalcore band with a unique sound. Some of the sound that you hear in Creatures can be heard in their debut disaster, When Love met Destruction, but since I don’t like that album very much at all, Creatures is what I like to talk about when talking about Motionless in White’s sound.

Probably what most people point out is some of the extremely dark and crushing breakdowns that can be heard all throughout Creatures. Despite the truth that those breakdowns really do contribute to the band’s sound, they really aren’t anything that special. I’m not one that typically compares bands when criticizing, but I feel that since neither of these bands are looking to be innovative or progressive, it’s ok. Those of you that are familiar with the metalcore masters Miss May I know that even though their breakdowns aren’t totally complex, the amazing instrumental skill from the guitarists and (especially) the drummer literally max-out the intensity level. So if you decide to play more generic and simple breakdowns, you NEED to make sure that you have mind-blowing musicians to make them interesting, catchy, and most importantly, tight. I don’t hear much of that in any of the breakdowns on this album. Yeah, the breakdowns on Abigail are pretty impressive, but that’s pretty much it as far as I can hear. All of the other breakdowns are either sloppy, boring, overly simple, or just dry and emotionless.

In order to not sound overly harsh, I should say that none of the musicians sound unexceptional or bad in any way. They all fit the bill for a metalcore musician and for what Motionless in White’s sound requires. There is obviously a bassist because when I turn up my subs, I can hear tons of bass, but the guitars and drums seem to totally cover anything that the bassist does, which is ANOTHER thing that I have a problem with the majority of metalcore bands out there. To me, the bassist should do much more than just provide a lower end for the band’s sound; they need to have a part where they’re actually playing something beyond the root-notes. And in rock and several other genres, sticking to the root notes is EXACTLY what the bassist needs to do. But come ON, this is metal we’re talking about, the most complex genre of music next to classical and jazz! We need to hear more from the bassist!

Frontman Chris Motionless is who everyone thinks of when they think about Motionless in White (there are too many bands that have that situation, it’s fucking depressing). After listening to Creatures over and over and over and over, there isn’t anything wrong with anything that he does. His deep mid-ranged screams are very strong and have a great foundation. His growls are crisp and strong, but I don’t feel that their overly-powerful sound fits the band’s melodic sound very well. Everyone knows that he has two types of screams: he has the typical higher-than-usual exhaled screams that are ok, but not something I would make a big deal over. And then you have these inhuman shrieks that have been known to cause chills to run down the spines of the weak-hearted. Even though I’m not a huge fan of those shrieks, they most definitely stand as a very unique quality for this album. So I don’t like them, but I like that they’re there (if that makes any sense) because it makes Creatures that much less boring and predictable. If you want to hear the most famous (and best) example of this, the last breakdown on my favorite song on the album, Abigail, has Chris growling deeply and letting out an inhuman shriek screaming “how could you??”.

Pretty much the only reason (that I can think of) why some people have labeled Motionless in White as being a “gothic metalcore” band is because they have an extreme gothic look and that they have some synthesized orchestral elements in a couple of their songs (i.e. Immaculate Misconception and Creatures). But I just hear metalcore. So Motionless in White DOES in fact have some unique qualities, but other than that, there’s not much else that they have. The fact that their breakdowns don’t have as much effort as I want to hear makes their music grow dry and tasteless after about six songs or so. The synthesizers and unique vocals help give you something to look forward too, but other than that, everything is just average. So all in all, I would only recommend this to metalheads that like their metalcore to be a bit more on the heavier side of things. The song Abigail is most definitely worth a listen, I love it, but the album as a whole gets my score of 12/20 for being an average metalcore album with a couple unique qualities.