Review Summary: new-metal
Not without an admirable amount of effort, I’ve tried to get into Motionless in White a few times over the years. Chris has a sturdy screaming voice that would occasionally hit the right buttons during their industrial-meets-metalcore adolescence; it was this potential that always kept me going back to them, in the hope that one day the penny might drop. After all, these guys draw from a myriad of bands I love. Their early shtick of spooky Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson aesthetics clashing with chunky metalcore riffs is a recipe that should technically appeal to me. Even now with Disguise
drawing predominantly from NU-metal, and the occasional lashing of alt-rock and metalcore, it’s a domain that I grew up in and still enjoy to this day. Yet, somehow, Motionless in White have always managed to elude me – unsuccessfully capitalising on that true potential. Their penchant for never sticking to the heavier side of songwriting and always opting to shoehorn a lazy mid-tempo chorus with miserably generic melodies is a theme that has tormented me and their work since inception. The problem now is that with every album they release, they move further and further away from that once promising sound. Disguise
sheds its industrial sensibilities for the ever-reviving NU-metal revolution, and the results are simple horrifying at times.
Motionless in White were never one to mask their influences when it came to writing music – imitation is a cornerstone that has always strong-armed the majority of their sound – and with Disguise
putting both feet into the NU-metal ethos, it comes out with a fresh set of dated emulations. The band’s sixth offering is easily the most obnoxious, antiquated and hackneyed offering to date. NU-metal has seen a slow-cooking resurgence this past few years, with many going over it with a romanticised glaze, making people forget the bad parts of the genre. In a way, we should be thankful Motionless in White have let this album see the light of day, as they’ve successfully delivered an album that reminds us of NU-metal’s worst traits – coupled with their usual ham-fisted clean-chorus integrations to add insult to injury. The glitched segments in “Disguise,” the turntable scratches on “Headache,” and the artificial angst that seeps from the Three Days Grace, alt-rock knock-off “Holding on To Smoke” are just a few of the album’s cramp-inducing moments that will make you feel like you’re back in the early ‘00s.
I mean honestly, bar maybe “Another Life” for actually delivering a half-decent chorus with memorability, Disguise
is just a hollow collection of horribly dated sounds with tasteless nods to an era many wish to see the back of. Bring Me the Horizon’s Sempiternal
is a good example of a record that respects the genre and makes its own interpretations of it; this just copies trodden glories and hopes nostalgia and cheap hooks will overshadow what is a shallow and cynical experience. The lyrics on here make even Fred Durst’s worst poetry look like long-misunderstood Shakespearean masterpieces; the riffs lack even a morsel of effort or memorability; and the pacing issue will have you wishing the album was done before the halfway mark. Do yourself a favour: if you’re a fan of NU-metal, or you’re curious about the sound, just listen to the bands who pillared NU-metal and send this abomination back from whence it came.
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