Review Summary: Motionless In White doing their best impression of everyone else.
As of 2012, Motionless In White is the unlikely amalgamation of tough-guy, Warped Tour relevant metalcore and the strain of industrial metal popularized by Marylin Manson. As unexplored as this union may be right now, it is probably the most unoriginal angle the band could take; solely because of how they unabashedly rip off these styles instead of draw inspiration from them. This truth accompanied by some poor decisions unfortunately ruins their new album, Infamous. On the band’s 2012 effort their blatant copying is at a career high, and arguably strips the LP of its artistic integrity. However on the flip side, some of the songs MIW have offered on their newest album are pretty damn enjoyable, and none delve into “offensively bad” territory. Ultimately, it’s a matter of morality that will judge Infamous upon its release. Is MIW exploiting a successful style and fanbase or is this really what they’re all about?
Whatever moral crisis Infamous may perpetuate, there are positives to the record and they should be worth noting. The most obvious change between Infamous and previous album Creatures is lead singer Chris Motionless’ vocal improvement. While his screams were, at worst, on par with his contemporaries on their previous LP, this time around he has included many more sounds to his repertoire. Firstly, and most controversially, is his near perfect Manson impression. It’s almost frightening to know that it’s not
Manson singing on “A.M.E.R.I.C.A.” or “The Divine Infection.” Chris has also implemented an eerie yell as put on display by “Sinematic” and even a slight Anders Friden (of In Flames) style scream/yell in the chorus of “Burned at Both Ends.” Aside from the still awful clean vocals, MIW has one talented vocalist. The guest spots (vocalists from Bleeding Through and Soilwork) are also a big plus as they both add to their respective songs rather than detract.
With the vocal department being as varied and iterative as it is, some of the songs really benefit as a result. The best songs on the record are the ones that see the band trying new things. As mentioned above, the chorus of “Burned at Both Ends” stands out and is one of the catchiest songs to be found on the release. Additionally MIW’s constant struggle to sound as dark as possible reaches a high point on “Sinematic” with its lengthy build up, and lead singles “Devil’s Night” /“If it’s Dead, We’ll Kill It” are undeniably enjoyable albeit standard metalcore fare.
In terms of music and structure, Infamous is absolutely bi-polar. The album makes a trend of housing either straight-up metalcore songs or synth-driven, industrial Manson worship with little to no middle ground between the two styles. Tracks 2-10 follow this trend in alternating fashion, in fact. This, a presumed attempt at breaking the monotony, has by it’s own doing recreated that monotony. This breaks any sliver of continuity in the record and rejects the idea of immersion. The only good choice in terms of song placement is “Sinematic” as the centerpiece. Had they structured the album around that song, Infamous could have really gelled together.
The problems stemming from the initial lack of thoughtful structure just begin to pile on – and then there’s the looming matter of originality and integrity. Most of the songs are meaningless and uninteresting filler content with little to no substance. The lyrical content is by and large void of any real thought, often resorting to using “***” as a lackadaisical means to portray anger instead of crafting a well-thought lyric. “If It’s Dead, We’ll Kill It” is as validating as possible in this sense: “I Just wanna watch you ***ing die, mother***er.” It’s a very childish approach and one of the main reasons MIW has been pigeonholed into its current scene-kid populated audience.
The question listeners should ask themselves before buying or downloading this record is something along the lines of “How willing am I to accept an album that is not only average at best, but all but says they are flat-out copying other bands?” “Does it deserve respect and/or my time for that?” The answer to that will largely determine the amount of enjoyment one derives from Infamous. Unfortunately Motionless in White have shamelessly done away with any flake of originality in their sound, and it shouldn’t be a surprise for people to pick up on it right away. Out of that context, the album is simply a middle of the road offering, with improvement in some areas and regression in others. It is a largely passable record, and the controversial nature of the songs only detracts from its validity.