Review Summary: Fuck this (Hey, if Chris can lay the f-bomb 81 times in an album, I can at least use it for my summary!).
When Motionless in White released their debut album Creatures back in 2010, it was actually quite well-received. A mix of metalcore, gothic rock/metal, and tinges of industrial music was pretty cool back then and led to a lot of positive experimentation. However, with THIS album, you just have to wonder: "what were they thinking?" Infamous has a lot of problems; however, lucky for you, I wrote down a list of its issues in my Handy Dandy Notebook! So what makes Infamous such a barrage of trash? Let's find out.
1. The music is too derivative. Instead of going for a more original sound as heard in Creatures, Infamous takes from any industrial metal cliches it can find and just slaps them together. Listen to "America" and how eerily similar to Marilyn Manson it sounds. The vocal style, the horror-inspired gothic synthesizers, and overall layout of the song's arrangement could certainly lead to the song being considered a rip-off of Manson's sound. And if weak industrial music isn't the problem, then there's always boring, generic metalcore to be turned off by. Even album highlight "Burned At Both Ends" sounds way too much like a faster version of any song As I Lay Dying have made. Sure, the swift speed metal-esque drumming at the beginning is well-executed and the thrashy riffing is certainly engaging enough. However, the chorus lacks depth and sounds like any alternative metal chorus you'd hear on the radio. The vocals take the forefront with a mix of clean and growled/screamed phrases as the speed of the music dies down a bit for a more melodic property. It's about as boring and overdone as it gets, and brings absolutely nothing new to the genre.
As if this wasn't enough, there are songs that mix both the derivative metalcore and terrible industrial music together! "The Divine Intervention" is the worst offender on this one, as it combines "sinister" (yeah, about as sinister as this band can get, perhaps) vocal distortion during the verses with bland mid-tempo metal music; neither style wins here, so pick your poison when firing up the song. Both are executed poorly in this case, as is the case with later stinker "Hatefuck." The beginning riff/electronica section combines a nu-metal-esque guitar riff with a thin-sounding drum sample and some little synthesized doodly doos here and there. Once the low distorted vocals come in, any hope for a decent song here is completely lost. The chorus tries to be anthemic and sounds like it's meant to rally the crowds they play to at their concerts; on a studio album, however, it comes off as forced and contrived. The synth-laden verses only add negative fuel to the proverbial fire.
2. The lyrics. This aspect literally brought the album from a 2.5 to a 1.5. First of all, as was said in the summary, there are 81 uses of the f-bomb on this record. 81! Eventually, the overly profane nature of the lyrics becomes mind-numbing and blurs whatever messages the band are trying to convey. The band try to be emotional and sentimental at certain moments of the record (specifically in many of the choruses) but if the group's using forced aggression and stupid macho-posturing, then the more heartfelt side of the band feels completely false and contradictory. It's a shame too, because this aspect really ruins the atmosphere of some otherwise decent songs. For instance, "Puppets 2" skillfully mixes thrash verses and elecronica-laden sections that offer a dark vibe. But you also hear the lyrics in this passage, as Chris screams out, "I'm still not fucking over it/you play like violins in a broken fucking symphony/and I know this hurts for you but I have no fucking sympathy." Lyrics like these are extremely childish and ruin a good number of these compositions. Not only this, but the messages aren't really conveyed very well. Going back to "America," the song tries to explain what's wrong with the titular country and proceeds to fall flat on its face. There's no well-written commentary, only scattered statements related to what's popular in America and not much else is expanded upon lyrically beyond that.
3. No replay value. There's not much that you'll want to return to on this thing; the songs lack the substance to warrant repeated listens. The instrumentation is nothing new for the metalcore genre and the band seem to mistake little keyboard ditties for a good means of "experimentation. The guitar riffs are your standard-issue As I Lay Dying octave-based riffs mixed with some really unappealing mid-tempo slabs of clanging guitar work and overly simple drumming. Oh, and the bass is practically non-existent. The songwriting is, as said before, insanely derivative and offers almost 0% real originality for its genre. All in all, there's not much to come back to here.
So that's Infamous for you. Creatures was a great debut, so you just have to wonder what happened here. Did the band get carried away with listless "experimentation?" Probably, but it can't just be that. Perhaps the band need to go back to the drawing board and look at the most important aspect of a record: the WRITING. The songwriting and lyrics on this record need a major overhaul, and hopefully the band will understand this when recording the third album. Otherwise, we may get a nice long string of abysmal records following this one. Just avoid this.