Watching Motionless In White’s ascension up the metalcore ladder has certainly been a frustrating experience. Their debut full-length, 2010’s Creatures, was an alright introduction to their horror-metal stylings, but its follow-up, 2012’s Infamous, came across as far more average than what it should have been, though still produced a growing legion of fans. So, by the law of averages, Reincarnate, the Pennsylvanian mob’s third attempt at a full-length should be the one that pushes them over the edge right into modern metal’s big leagues, right? Well…not really…
As on their last album, it’s incredibly obvious that Motionless In White wear their influences very prominently on their sleeves, and in this case, those influences consist of a lot of Marilyn Manson. The electro-led Dead As Fuck could have been lifted directly off Antichrist Superstar or Holy Wood, but at least it sees them aping good Manson. Far too often, when the band bring their God Of Fuck tendencies to the fore, the results sound much more like his later, more mediocre material, the plodding Deathmarch being a prime example. Elsewhere, Wasp attempts to channel Nine Inch Nails, though is far too one tone to have any of Reznor’s legends’ impact, and doesn’t nearly do enough to warrant it’s seven minute runtime (though the haunting female vocals are a nice touch). Meanwhile, Final Dictvm is a blatant KMFDM ripoff, and the fact that it actually features the band’s Tim Skold doesn’t help, though his rather pointless guest spot doesn’t add much to the overall song.
When not aping the bands that got them here, another large chunk of Reincarnate sadly sees Motionless In White conforming to the usual scene trends, those which frontman Chris Motionless never ceases to tell everyone how much the band hate. Carry The Torch and Dark Passenger make use of the most generic of Warped Tour metalcore trends (scream-sing-synth formula, hackneyed breakdowns, the whole shebang), while Unstoppable starts out well with its heavy reliance on clean vocals and hard rock instrumentation, but devolves into some sort of Attila-like beast with its brainless chugga-chugga guitars and pointlessly antagonistic vocal calls. There’s also Contemptress, which sounds worryingly like Blood On The Dance Floor, in which Motionless’ vocals are mangled with auto-tune, while another cameo – this time from In This Moment’s Maria Brink doing her usual ‘wannabe porn star’ vocal thing – is once again completely redundant.
When Motionless In White get it right though, they do it in a spectacular fashion. The unstoppable grooves and gang screamed chorus of Everybody Sells Cocaine is infinitely preferable to any over-repetitive Warped-core dirge, while the title track’s dirty electro pulse and raspy vocals make way for full blow arena-metal with its towering chorus (plus “you give a fucking aspirin a headache” has got to be one of the best lines in a song this year). The brutal Puppets 3 (The Grand Finale) is another welcome change of pace; genuinely bordering on extreme metal, the guest vocal from Cradle Of Filth frontman Dani Filth actually provides some benefit, with Filth’s vampiric rasp contrasting perfectly with Motionless’ larynx-shredding roar. It’s songs like this that a great album is based on, and Motionless In White are seemingly yet to grasp that concept. When they do, then they’ll be able to become the next band to make a major breakout of their restrictive scene. Until then, this is another uneven addition to their consistently inconsistent career.
For fans of: Marilyn Manson, Bleeding Through, I See Stars
Words by Luke Nuttall