REVIEW: MOTIONLESS IN WHITE – “Graveyard Shift”
Progression: It’s something that’s faced at every turn in life. For some reason, fans of music fear the progression of a band, especially when it comes to experimenting with a new sound. For Scranton PA’s Motionless In White, progression is the name of their game. Truthfully, this should be the case with any band but you can’t knock a band for sticking to what works for them. Starting with the release of 2014’s ‘Reincarnate’, vocalist Chris “Motionless” Cerulli began experimenting with more clean singing. This, in turn, cause a polarization in their fan base, as is the case with just about any change in a band’s sound. For 2017’s ‘Graveyard Shift’ and their first for their new label, Roadrunner Records, the band decided to ease up a bit on the experimentation, rather diving deeper into more influences that had not been previously explored in their music.
Motionless is heavily influenced by artists like Marilyn Manson, KoRn, Slipknot and the like who are unconventional in both their sound and their methods. Their aesthetic, therein, has created more of a horror-themed sound and they deliver that on every level. For their newest single, “LOUD (Fuck It),” Cerulli channels his inner Marilyn Manson with an underlying alternative metal sound. On an entirely different (and surprising) front, the track “Queen for Queen,” which has quickly become one of my personal favorites, creates a harder rock sound reminiscent of, and likely influenced by, Breaking Benjamin. I found myself double glancing at my playlist to make sure that I hadn’t switched to another band as the vocal resemblance to Breaking Benjamin’s Benjamin Burnley is uncanny.
Irony is the name of the game for the track “Soft” which, on a musical level, is anything but. In fact, other than the ‘Creatures’-esque banger “The Ladder”… this is probably the heaviest track on the album. The track takes a heavy metalcore approach, with a hint of nu-metal influence to keep things on the interesting side. This track is going to create chaos in mosh pits, should they ever decide to bring it out live. As you may have guessed from the description of this song, the lyrical theme touches on the ridiculous need for a “safe place” and how easily everyone is triggered these days. Stop being so soft and just enjoy life! If you’re looking for something more in the vein of ‘Reincarnate’, you’re in luck as the man, the myth, the legend Jonathan Davis lends his unique vocal talent to “Necessary Evil.” This track has a heavy emphasis on the electronic aspects of the music but is heavily based around a nu-metal sound, fitting perfectly into Davis’ wheelhouse and causes him to knock his part (2nd verse and chorus) completely out of the park.
This band loves to continue a story, at any chance they get. First, we got three installments of the exhilarating, captivating story that followed “Puppets” and, this time, they decided to revisit their affinity for the subject of necrophilia with “Not My Type: Dead As Fuck 2” which is continuation of the original, heard on ‘Reincarnate’. This track has a very theatrical feel to it, reminiscent of Tim Burton films, as it contains strings and has a lot of strange things happening with the vocals that make it feel very Nightmare Before Christmas/Corpse Bride-esque.
The album closes with “Eternally Yours” which seems partly influenced by In Flames. High-pitched screams give way to clean sung choruses and the track has an epic, radio-ready feel to it on the musical side. In fact, if there was a version without the screams… I highly believe this track could be at the top of any active rock chart. There’s a cinematic overtone to this track that makes it the perfect closer for this record.
As a whole, ‘Graveyard Shift’ finds Motionless In White right where they want to be. Just shy of an hour, there are so many twists, turns and surprises that you can’t help but stay interested. Gritty, macabre and explosive all in one fell swoop, Graveyard Shift is perhaps the band’s best body of work, so far. They’re currently on the road with In This Moment, Avatar and Gemini Syndrome where they’re direct support for the “Half God/Half Devil” tour so get your tickets (VIP includes a digital download of the album) and pick up your copy of ‘Graveyard Shift’, out May 5th via Roadrunner Records.