Following an extremely busy period of touring and promotion around their second album, 2012’s Infamous, you could forgive Scranton’s Motionless in White for taking it easy the last year or so. However, in all that time spent off the road, Chris Motionless and co. have been working pretty hard on a follow up to Infamous’ industrial metalcore, the result of which is Reincarnate. Spanning 14 songs and 3 guest appearances, Reincarnate sees Motionless in White ease off of the brutality from their earlier releases whilst further reinforcing the industrial metal sound they’ve been associated with so often. Read on to see what All Things Loud thought of Reincarnate.
Death March’s mechanical horn sounds and one-two thumps of drums and guitar lead into a grizzly mixture of squiggly synths and chugging guitar, before a gang chant of “Death March” precedes semi-rapped vocals from Chris Motionless. Eerie lyrics and doom-laden synths make way for a melodic chorus which sounds like the love child of Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit. Comeback single (and title track) Reincarnate follows with deep, booming synths and a pounding metalcore riff, as shouts of “Get up!” and ammunition-related lyrical metaphors make for the most accessible song on this album. An extremely radio-friendly chorus (something which Motionless in White haven’t often done) helps piece the song together well, with an extremely simple structure making this one of the less compelling songs on the album. Puppets 3 (The Grand Finale) quashes all elements of mainstream accessibility with extreme double bass drum patterns, haunting synths and grim vocals courtesy of Cradle of Filth’s Dani Filth. The short chorus is melodic and synth-laden, with Dani Filth’s vocals adding an extremely haunting feel to the track, especially when he unleashes a wolf-like howl during the second chorus. The industrial metal elements which were done so well by Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails are further reinforced on Unstoppable, as Chris Motionless channels a more punk rock vocal line in and amongst gut-churning growls. Everybody Sells Cocaine brings more electronic elements to the table in its mosh-heavy intro, which precedes drug referencing lyrics such as “and if I take the pain away, you’ll come back again someday” and “I’m here to sell my new white lies”. The chorus is upbeat and energetic, sounding more like Architects and Of Mice & Men than other fellow industrial metal contemporaries. In This Moment frontwoman Maria Brink makes a guest appearance on the high-octane riffs of Contemptress, with more mainstream elements entering the frame throughout the song.
Break The Cycle takes us to the halfway point of the album, as intertwining metalcore riffs accompany synth lines perfectly suited to a nightclub. One thing not suited to nightclubs, however, is Chris Motionless’ vocal line, consisting of fierce grunts and ferocious growls. The synth lines on this particular track are very reminiscent of Japanese metal behemoths Crossfaith, with the vocals not being too dissimilar to Kenta Koie either. Generation Lost opens with electronic drums and a cry of “throw your hands in the air if you’re the shit” before a full-on skank rock riff unleashes itself. As with the opening track, Chris Motionless takes another step into semi-rapped vocals, before ferociously screaming and shouting his way through the chorus in epic style. Dark Passenger has elements of early Linkin Park in its piano line, before all elements are eliminated by dark synth lines and more fierce vocals. One thing which can be noted about Reincarnate as an album is that, despite all the songs following a very similar, repetitive formula, Motionless in White are really good at what they do. Wasp’s hip-hop drum beat and groove-laden bassline is a world away from the brutality heard thus far, with Wasps’ full 7-minutes being ferocity-free as a mixture of scratchy beats, club synths and smooth vocals makes for one of the most insightful and interesting songs on the whole album. Wasp is as close as Motionless in White get to Nine Inch Nails-esque industrial rock, before the short-but-sharp Dead As Fuck opens with an eerie radio sample and non-stop energy. Coming in at just short of three minutes, Dead As Fuck encompasses a variety of squiggly synth lines, vocal samples and a steady beat which accompanies Motionless’ storytelling lyrics. If there were a nightclub which solely survived on industrial metal, Dead As Fuck would be a classic.
Final Dictvm sees a guest appearance from Swedish multi-instrumentalist Tim Skold, as intertwining synths and house music beats precede Skold’s grisly claim of “I smell like victory, I taste like blood”. That Skold has worked with Marilyn Manson is very clear on this track, particularly in the heavy effects-laden vocals and skanky dance-rock beat. Penultimate track Carry the Torch’s opening acoustic guitars are underpinned by an ascending feedback noise, which leads into an epic guitar solo and tribal drumming. It also sees a return to the early brutality of Puppets 3, before another melodic chorus enters the frame. The album closes on an acoustic version of the track Sinematic, which makes for a surprisingly calm end to what had been an extremely heavy record. Sinematic enables Chris Motionless to display his serene vocals in a way which he hasn’t done before, showing us exactly how well Motionless in White do what they do.
Despite a lot of the songs following a hardcore-by-numbers formula, there are still plenty of electronic elements and extreme tempo changes to keep Reincarnate a fresh and interesting album, particularly in a scene where every band tries to imitate one another, song by gruelling song. Reincarnate may not be the most accessible record ever, but it’s a step in the right direction for Scranton’s finest.