Motionless in White aren’t exactly strangers to reincarnating their sound, all three of their full length albums so far have both taken along and dropped huge chunks of each release before it. With yet another lineup change the Scranton mob are ready to unleash record four, “Graveyard Shift” upon the world, and frontman Chris Cerulli hasn’t downplayed it. With him saying in the build up to the album’s release, the band now over a decade old are gunning for world domination.
Album opener Rats is a similar sound to fans, a blend of gloomy synths combined with stormy and dark metal. It’s clear this is what they’ve taken on from prior album Reincarnate yet it comes over far heavier than Reincarnate’s title track, but also loses the infectiousness that the track had in terms of how much of an earworm it was, whilst keeping heavy riffage in the mix.
Nearing a year since it was released as a single ahead of the album, 570, an homage to the band’s Pennsylvania roots is a great meeting point of Motionless’ sound. A fast and heavy verse, a catchy hook centric chorus and (now former) keyboard Josh Balz’ synth parts all having prominence. The track is one of the album’s stronger points, and it’s clear why the band chose to take this along with them on last Summer’s Warped Tour and to be released so far ahead of this album to tease fans.
Not My Type: Dead as Fuck 2 is a strange one, it’s far less horror punk and more Danny Elfman scoring a Tim Burton soundtrack than Reincarnate’s original Dead as Fuck. One of the track’s main downfalls is the track sounds far too similar to the original track in a lot of places. It’s heavily driven by keys and synth parts throughout with electronic drums also prominent in the verses. The chorus sounds like it’s from an R rated deleted track from The Nightmare Before Christmas, and this vibe peaks in a bridge with a repetitive “Na na na na na” chant making up the sole lyrical content of the bridge. However the track is very tongue in cheek and could be a fun live track, as was the original Dead as Fuck.
It’s clear synth’s have taken a huge step up in Motionless’ sound this record, and Necessary Evil featuring Korn’s Jonathan Davis is no different. After a synth heavy intro, the band’s guitars kick in stomping around in replacement of electronica, before the synth part comes in, to accompany the guitars. The track then dips to just Cerulli’s deep, spoken vocals accompanied by a very faint keys part, and kicks into a reference to/parody of Lesley Gore’s hit from the sixties, popularized for modern audiences by Drake and Melanie Martinez (did I really just write that?) with the “it’s my birthday” line, which I really can’t take seriously, and somehow they roped Jonathan Davis into singing it when the second chorus rolls around. However, I will say the verses for the track are very well done, especially Davis, with him fitting right in with Motionless’ newer musical style. While they may be Korn influenced, they haven’t just taken that sound as their own as many bands do, they’ve clearly taken it on and created their own sound.
The Ladder starts with a rather strange spoken word sound clip, before barraging into Graveyard Shift’s heaviest song. The band have done tracks like this befor; super fast and heavy, yet the prominence of atmospheric synth parts adds a bigger sound to it than previous album’s, heavier tracks. However another go at a pop reference marrs the track for me. Gotye this time with the line, “Now you’re just somebody that I used to fuck” sang in the vain of his 2011 hit. The rest of the track just like Necessary Evil is actually really strong. It’s another sign the band have taken everything they’ve done, and more and gone towards building themselves again as a band.
LOUD (Fuck It) is the furthest this record strays from anything fans would pin as the “Motionless” sound, and for me it just feels like they’ve tried to go too far to make something different and to appeal to a greater audience. Chris’ cleans on the chorus sound overly autotuned, and having seen him live plenty of times, he has a strong voice on the heavier side of things, however at times he’s been a poor clean vocalist live. This leads me to fear that with them using this as a single it means it’ll be added to the band’s live set, and I don’t know if Cerulli will cope with recreating this sound live show after show.
Graveyard Shift, blends together plenty of different Motionless in White influences and sounds. The album has plenty of different moments, they’ve already released three singles that all sound so separate from the other, so they weren’t hiding this element to the record. The band have clearly wanted to push themselves and the creative boundaries around them, and for the most part they’ve smashed through them to much avail. Sadly though, the album does have a few low points. The references to Drake and Gotye, replace the band’s countless nods to bands like The Smiths, Joy Division and The Cure from their prior releases, all of which were clearly bands that influenced Motionless’ lyrical content. The use of dated pop references really don’t work for the band and come across as trying to be comical in otherwise serious songs. All in all however, the band have created a well rounded and diverse record, while I do believe the album is a bit off in parts, there are plenty of elements to the record that outweigh the negatives from Graveyard Shift.