Review Summary: Two of the best elements of Motograter team up to deliver an album that plays to their strengths, but doesn't necessarily hide their weaknesses.
When I first listened to Motograter
’s self-titled album, two elements that really stuck out for me were the vocals of Ivan “Ghost” Moody and the drumming of Chris “Crispy” Binns. Though the album contained your slightly-less-run-of-the-mill nu metal tunes, Ivan and Chris actually made the album a lot more listenable than it probably should have been. So naturally, I was pleased to find out that they also had a side project with John Stevens (The Clay People
) after the original Motograter line-up disbanded. The project was Ghost Machine, and the album was Hypersensitive
While the two ex-Motograter members have plenty of time to shine on the record, the combined efforts of Stevens, bassist Stitch, and keyboardist Brett Davis help the album along in convincing fashion. “Sheltered” offers a fast-paced metal attack with some haunting ambiance in the background, while “God Forbid” and “Vegas Moon” are mostly quiet numbers with simple yet effective clean guitar passages until their respective choruses kick in. Chris’ drumming proves to be exceptional, providing a drum solo in the closing moments of “Siesta Loca”. “Burning Bridges” is an all-acoustic number, complimented perfectly by Ivan’s vocals. The instrumentation doesn’t succeed all of the time, however; the opening track “The End” is muddled with cheesy samples, and “Dose” goes on for a lot longer than it needed to.
Luckily, the weaker songs are spared (somewhat; more on that in a little bit) by Ivan Moody. His vocal performance is a force to be reckoned with on Hypersensitive
. For most of the time, he’s crooning on songs like “Bondage” and the aforementioned “Burning Bridges”; other times, he’s flat out losing his mind on “Skank” and the closing moments of “Sheltered”. “Headstone” is one of his best deliveries to date, especially in the chorus. However, whereas his delivery is his greatest asset, what he’s delivering proves to be his biggest flaw as well. His lyrics have always come off as clichéd, and Hypersensitive
is no different. Take, for example, “Sheltered”: “*** YOU! For all of your bull*** / All of your drama / And your ***ing games / *** ME! / For ever believing that you could love anyone beyond yourself”
It’s your typical nu metal angst that somehow carried over from Motograter, but it sure beats “Kill yourself and that’s how you die!”
However, if you can look past the lyrical quality and the amount of music to take in (the album contains a whopping 22 tracks, with four of them being six seconds of silence alone), Hypersensitive
is an album that plays to the band member’s strengths and, for the most part, succeeds. While Ivan has moved on to being the tough guy town crier for Five Finger Death Punch
, his time in Ghost Machine proves that given the right bandmates, the best can be brought out in him.