Motionless in White released their breakthrough album Creatures in 2010. Ever since then, their popularity has continually increased to the point where they’re headlining tours all over the world. The big question: was Creatures a big fat fluke? Or is Motionless in White truly one of the better metalcore bands out there? Well, I was only minimally impressed with Creatures, the only song that truly stuck out to me being Abigail with its interesting vocal harmonizations and its unique sound and concept. But hey, the album as a whole was better than most of the other metalcore albums I’ve been hearing lately! Let’s take a moment and look at first impressions: the artwork, although slightly cliché, fits the band’s theme perfectly and has a nice dark look. The member of the band that gets the most goddamn attention here is Chris Motionless, who is (surprising as it may seem), a Marilyn Manson fanatic. How can I tell? Well, when he cut his hair sometime this year along with the extreme amount of makeup he puts on his face makes him look like…well…Marilyn Manson.
I’m a huge fan of Marilyn Manson, I always have been. I’m obviously not one of those ridiculous fanboys that only listens to Marilyn Manson and other random shit like that, but I thoroughly enjoyed his performance at the 2009 Mayhem Festival and currently own Mechanical Animals and Golden Age on CD, but seriously, Chris Motionless has taken this thing to a level that I haven’t even seen before! This new Motionless in White album, titled “Infamous”, has incorporated Manson-style industrial metal into their generic metalcore sound. This is an EXTREMELY risky choice and because of that, Infamous has turned out to be a disaster. Unlike other metalcore bands that incorporate industrial metal into their sound like Mnemic, and…well…Mnemic (I have yet to hear another band fuse those two genres and still sound good), Motionless in White completely fails.
It’s not so much the things that they chose to do that fuck everything up, it’s the way that the use those things that just piss me off. For example, the first song has a soft piano riff played in a minor key. Here’s the problem with that little piano riff: it’s cliché as fuck and just sounds cheesy. Also, the riff has nothing to do with the rest of the music AT ALL! You get this really soft piano section and then BAM!, something of a whole different world is thrown at your face. There’s no transition at all. TRANSITIONS ARE YOUR FRIENDS, USE THEM! So while I have yet to hear some sort of melody in this song, some really mystical-sounding keyboards rise out of the background and really give the music an amazing touch. Then you get a section where that same goddamn piano riff comes in, except this time, it’s a pipe organ, and it’s taking the dominant spot in the music. Seriously, that whole gothic minor piano/organ thing is a great idea! But all potential of it helping the music is butchered because the band didn’t have the motivation to come up with their own fucking riff to match the rest of the damn song.
Motionless in White’s reputation for having an extremely gothic appearance has inspired the band to introduce various gothic elements into their music. Along with the disastrous one that I listed above, there are others that are worth mentioning. The one that bothers me the most is the reason why I even took the time to type out Marilyn Manson’s NAME: and that’s the song A-M-E-R-I-C-A. All you have to hear is the muffled keyboard riff for you to notice the Marilyn Manson sound this song is going to have. This entire song is one big fat fantasy coming from the mind of Chris Motionless of his burning desire to have the reputation and persona of the legendary musician. The really creepy talking sound that he does, the effects he uses on his screams, and even the style that he uses to let out his lyrics are way too similar to Marilyn Manson for him to “just be a huge influence”. This is way more than that, and it doesn’t sound good at all. The level of cheesiness in this song can’t be measured by any scale that I’m aware of. And on top of that, what the hell happened to the singing? It’s just downright terrible! You want another example of this? Although A-M-E-R-I-C-A is a much better example, The Divine Infection is another example of a song that sounds like a shitty Marilyn Manson cover.
Another change that has taken place in Motionless in White’s sound is the style of the heavier parts. In Creatures, the heavy parts were made up of fancy breakdown-style guitar chugs. Now, the really heavy parts have more of a thrashy sound that is at a higher and more constant speed. I think this is a great direction for these guys to take, because the breakdowns are used more sparingly now; but there’s a problem. The problem ends up being one of two things. The first thing that happens is that the brutality gets butchered by a big block of cheese that could be a keyboard riff, a lyrical line, or anything else like that. The second thing that happens is that it gets old and tasteless a little too fast. Luckily, Motionless in White takes care of that most of the time by throwing in melodic choruses, breakdowns, or keyboard sections to help spice things up a bit.
Despite all of these major flaws that have caused me to give this album a below-average score, Motionless in White still manage to…wait, what the hell is this? WHY IS BJORN STRID A GUEST VOCALIST FOR THESE FUCKS?? Bjorn “Speed” Strid, the godlike vocalist for the Swedish melodic death band Soilwork, is featured as a guest vocalist on Puppets 2 (The Rain). Being the Soilwork fan that I am, I know Bjorn’s voice when I hear it (it’s just too unique to miss), but why is he being associated with Motionless in White? I understand better why he did guest vocals for Dutch symphonic metal band ReVamp, but DAMN! Soilwork is from a completely different league. Honestly, his singing doesn’t do anything more than offer the listener the luxury of having a break from Chris’ deteriorating singing. The breakdown at the end of that song is probably the pinnacle-point of the entire album (which is fucking pathetic).
Ok, now that I’m done ranting about something I (surprisingly) never noticed before when listening to this album, Motionless in White has proved to me that Creatures was a mere fluke. There are no songs off of Infamous that I would recommend, I wouldn’t bother spending your time listening to this album unless you’re a hardcore metalcore fan that’s likely to enjoy this album. But even THAT’S unlikely. I would give Infamous 7/20.