Album Review: Motionless in White – Disguise (Roadrunner Records)
Motionless In White uncover their heaviest and most hypnotic body of work to date on their fifth full-length album, Disguise released 7th June via Roadrunner Records. The Scranton, PA quintet – Chris Motionless [Vocals], Ricky Horror [Guitar], Ryan Sitkowski [guitar], Vinny Mauro [drums], and Justin Morrow [bass] – hold nothing back.
“We really aimed to write a serious record and wear our hearts on our sleeves,” exclaims frontman, Chris. “I don’t talk about things online or in public. Instead, I use our lyrics as a way to express what’s going on in my life and my feelings. Things have been great for us on the exterior, but there’s so much we had to work through together and personally behind-the-scenes. Everything comes out on Disguise. I tried to give fans a look behind the mask and let them know what I’m dealing with on the inside as well as what they know of me on the outside.”
A divisive band, Motionless in White command both unrestrained love and incredible levels of hate. Their fans are many and it’s those that are loudest resulting in the band reaching huge levels of success even if in some circles it seems undeserved.
They’re not a band we particularly care about here at Games, Brrraaains A Head-Banging Life. Their brand of metalcore tinged with industrial/electronica effects has always come across bland and uninspired. However, we try not to let previous experiences colour our opinion going forward and we always say that we want to be proved wrong. There is no better feeling then finding quality when we expected next to none.
So with a positive mindset we decided it was worth looking at the fifth album from the phenomenally successful Motionless in White.
Kicking off with the title track, the metalcore is strong here and it’s…not great. The problem lies in just how uninteresting it is. Bog-standard riffing, predictable breakdowns, a chorus that is so bland and an overuse of electronica effects. The bad start isn’t improved on with Headache, in fact it’s worse. An irritating track, the Manson-style vocals are off-putting and while the dirty groove and growling vocals when repeating the words ‘shut up’ are intriguing, it’s not enough to save this from being nothing more then a shoulder shrugging track.
At first it seemed like C0de was going to be more of the same as the effects at the start are jarring but this one sat much more comfortably. Thanks in part to vocalist Chris Motionless’ clean singing, something that he does really well. In fact provided he isn’t trying to channel Marilyn Manson, he’s got a solid set of pipes on him regardless of if he is snarling or singing.
Motionless in a White aren’t afraid to take shots and one comes in Thoughts & Prayers (social media users will probably shudder at the sight of those words). One of the heaviest tracks on the album and one of the more impressive thanks to a certain level of wildness. It’s pure raging metal expect for the cleanly sung chorus. The kind of track this metalcore fan can pin his flag too.
The yawn-inducing Legacy takes things back a step before Undead Ahead 2: The Tale of the Midnight Ride shows off some imagination and story-telling. The industrial effects are used well here giving this a much more ‘epic’ feel and the pace is off the chart, especially the drumming. Something that is consistently good throughout. Really could have done without the child singing “lalalalala” near the end on route to an absolutely smashing breakdown though.
Sticking with the hit and miss story of the album, there is a distinct lack of energy in Holding On to Smoke and the mellower performance fails to impress. Another Life is disappointing simply by being so damn bland. This is the kind of track that critics of metalcore point out and damn, do Motionless in White make it hard to defend.
The latter part of the album is rough. Rough for us and seemingly rough for Motionless in White too as they are really lacking in inspiration. Broadcasting from Beyond the Grave: Death Inc is so Marilyn Manson like I had to stop and check he wasn’t involved in some way. It’s not a bad song, in fact it’s energetic and fun. It’s just a little too familiar.
Brand New Numb, the penultimate track makes a play for being the worst track of the record and it’s so hard to not get frustrated with Motionless in White at this stage. What the hell are they doing? This is inane rubbish, heavy on dumb effects and about as exciting as watching paint dry. It’s frustrating as they’re clearly a talented bunch. You don’t get to 5 albums and the huge success they’ve had without some and in the first half there were tracks that were downright good. This though, this is indefensible.
Hoping for a positive finale, Catharsis is a relief as it’s a decent closer. Catchy, dripping in emotion and some pretty great vocals. It’s a feel good finish and goes some ways in banishing the bad will that had begun to pile up. It’s not enough to say this is a great album though because it’s not.
I am glad I listened to it though as I feel like I’ve got a deeper understanding of Motionless in White and while this is a lacklustre effort, it will definitely have mass appeal.
Motionless in White – Disguise Full Track Listing:
4. Thoughts & Prayers
6. Undead Ahead 2: The Tale of the Midnight Ride
7. Holding On to Smoke
8. Another Life
9. Broadcasting from Beyond the Grave: Death Inc
10. Brand New Numb
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Motionless in White - Disguise (Roadrunner Records)
The Final Score - 5/10