Review Summary: Scoring the End of the World a 3.8/5
Scranton, Pennsylvania gothic-metalcore outfit Motionless in White return for their sixth full length studio record and deliver more of their signature fun, heavy-hitting, tongue-in-cheek jams. Their previous effort proved a bit divisive and inconsistent, leaning heavily into more commercial and radio-friendly territory. With this release, MIW have found a steady and peaceful balance between the Breaking Benjamin style radio-styled alternative metal and the super aggressive, pounding and relentless metalcore that propelled their career 10 plus years ago.
The album opener “Meltdown” immediately sets the tone with chunky, syncopated chugs and kick drums with production heavily drenched in synthesizers and voice decoders. This harkens back to the opener for their third studio album Reincarnate and its’ opening track “Death March” with pulse pounding rhythms and aggression. The album immediately shifts into the more radio-friendly, easy-listening and digestible alternative metal portion of the track list with bona fide banger “Sign of Life”, easily one of the most catchy and simple tracks on here. Followed by the eerie and industrial/synthwave tinged “Werewolf” which proves to be one of the most experimental tracks and one of my personal favorites in the grand scheme of the record. With pulsating rhythms, 80’s synthpop stylized drum effects and even a vocal callout to one of the most beloved 80’s songs by one-hit wonder Rockwell, “Somebody’s Watching Me” featuring the one and only Michael Jackson.
From here we get one of the more predictable power-ballad-esque tracks, “Porcelain.” Of the couple slower tracks on the record, this one is easily the best with a powerful chorus, genuine lyrical content and committed instrumentals. Vocalist Chris Motionless delivers some of his most matured and best produced vocal performances during this track. The glow up from his clean vocal style on their first record Creatures to now is astounding and easily one of the standouts on this record. Vocal progression and lyrical maturity prove to be this record’s most potent feature and admirable trait.
Naturally, following one of the slower tracks we get probably one of the heaviest tracks of MIW’s career with “Slaughterhouse” featuring the talented and distinguished vocalist of Knocked Loose, Bryan Garris. This song is relentless, brutal and yet still features a catchy chorus that doesn’t feel forced or out of the place. The slow-down, hardcore-stylized breakdown that takes up the last minute of the track features dissonant panic chords and some of the frenetic and tortured screams that I’ve heard from either Bryan or Chris. A standout track for sure.
Here we get to the common middle-section slump in metalcore records. The Breaking Benjamin copycat song “Masterpiece”, also the second single released for the record, tries to recapture the beauty and passion of their hit single of Disguise, “Another Life” but falters and finds itself lacking the potency. This is one of the few examples of something feeling forced on the record. There’s a short and uninspired breakdown tossed in the center of the song and feels passionless and unnecessary, and the hook of the chorus is bland and unappealing. This song is followed by “Cause of Death” which I also feel is a bit lackluster featuring more of “Sign of Life” style of alternative metal. The chugs and rhythms feel a bit complacent and simplistic compared to the strong points on this record.
The next four track’s feature this records bread and butter. Lots of big soaring choruses, impressive vocal passages and insanely infectious riffs and breakdowns. “Burned at Both Ends II” is not the sequel we asked for, but the sequel we deserve. Easily my favorite track on this record, it features a chorus that varies in its vocal delivery and brings about some of the highest notes that I think Chris has ever hit vocally. “B.F.B.T.G. (Corpse Nation)” features one of the best breakdown callouts on the album.
“Research this mother***er!”
It’s corny, a bit cringey, but honestly this band has never shied away from being a bit different and leaning into their silliness. The lead single “Cyberhex” is reminiscent of the opening track with heavily syncopated chugs and drum kicks, lots of flair for the dramatic and electronic-synth heavy moments.
The final tracks feel a bit weaker in comparison to the previous chunk of the record. “Red, White and Boom” featuring Caleb Shomo and the title track featuring famed composer Mick Gordon, feel a bit lazy musically but still carry that fun, silly vibe that transcends the rest of the album.
Overall, Scoring the End of the World features some very strong performances, lots of fun energetic tracks, and stronger song-writer compared to their previous full length effort. While there are a few duds in the tracklist: “Masterpiece”, “Cause of Death”, and the title track, I feel like this remains one of their most consistent efforts to date and offers a healthy serving of all the styles this band has developed over their 10 plus year career. I recommend this to fans and new-comers alike who are looking for fun, synth-heavy metalcore.
“Burned at Both Ends II”
“B.F.B.T.G. (Corpse Nation)”