Motionless In White is a metal band from Scranton, Pennsylvania that found inspiration for its name from an Eighteen Visions’ song “Motionless and White”. Now, you will notice that I did not indicate a specific genre for this band, I just called them metal. Motionless In White’s music is so completely intertwined with so many different genres there is no way to just stamp a label on what they are and what they sound like. Although some of their earlier work could be classified as metalcore, MIW has grown and changed through each album and I no longer feel that label accurately fits them. With this latest release you will find elements of industrial metal/rock, goth metal, melodic death metal, metalcore, post hardcore, nu-metal, techno metal, thrash, and so on. They are heavy, they are metal, they are simply Motionless In White.
Motionless In White was formed in 2005 by Chris “Motionless” Cerulli (vocals), Angelo Parente (drums), Frank Polumbo (bass) and Mike Costanza (guitar). Since that time there have been several line-up and position changes. In 2007 MIW added keyboardist Joshua Balz and added an additional guitarist TJ Bell. Costanza and Polumbo departed and guitarist Ryan Sitkowski joined the band along with bassist Ricky “Horror” Olson. TJ Bell was fired from the band in 2011 for what was reported as alleged substance and alcohol abuse problems coupled with the fact that Bell had left MIW high and dry in the middle of a tour to help out another band, Escape the Fate, after their bassist Max Green had exited ETF. After the ousting of TJ Bell, Ricky Horror switched from bass to guitar and Devin “Ghost” Sola was added to the line-up and Ghost now possesses the bass position.
On March 11, 2013, Motionless In White released a statement that co-founding member and drummer Angelo Parente was leaving the band for personal reasons. From all accounts Angelo is still in good standing with the band and there were no hard feelings about his decision. Although no word of a permanent replacement has been made, Motionless In White has made it perfectly clear to the fans that his departure will not affect any scheduled dates and the upcoming tour will continue as planned.
So let’s get down to business, Infamous is the follow-up to their 2010 release Creatures, and is the band’s second full length CD with Fearless Records. MIW had previously released several EPs including 2005’s self-titled Motionless in White, 2007’s The Whorror and 2009’s When Love Met Destruction. Striving to have a range of different musical viewpoints and influences, Infamous had duel producers; Jason Suecof (Trivium, August Burns Red, Chelsea Grin) and Swedish musician/producer Tim Sköld (Marilyn Manson, Shotgun Messiah).
Motionless In White does not seem to operate in fear of controversy or water its music down to avoid backlash. The band does not shy away from very frank musical and visual representations of their viewpoints on religion, God, politics, hate, and fear based actions towards those considered different. Their music videos are in-your-face, and too many, could be considered blasphemous in content. They deal in those dark realities of life that hide behind hypocrisy, the “do as I say and not as I do” mentality. MIW strives to unmask truth that is buried in the guise of righteousness. Motionless In White has never held back before and they certainly did not hold back anything on this CD.
The first song “Black Damask (The Fog)” is hard and a completely badass way to pull you into this CD. The song starts off with a haunting piano solo then in an instant there’s a complete tempo change to an ear blasting, fast-paced, dark musical symphony of pounding drums and growling forceful vocals. The end of the song was a nice surprise, the tempo again changed, the song slowed and suddenly it almost sounded like Peter Steele was being channeled from beyond the grave, a very Type-O Negative vibe and a great moment in the song.
There is no rest here for the wicked because it is time for the booming bass thumping intro that is “Devil’s Night,” which was also the first single off of Infamous. This song could be the anthem for those that are different, unique, ignored, hopeless, or put down.
“So go ahead and look like I’m inferior. Condescension, suffering, callousness and loathing are the badges I have earned for my cause and I am finding hope within hatred a reason to persist, to push past everything. We are here and we have come to scare you to death, because that’s what you deserve you fucking fake ass hypocrites.”
With the intensity that is Chris Motionless’ vocals you hear the seriousness of those words and recognize that you are not alone and you shouldn’t be made to feel damaged. “Devil’s Night” is a complete package of powerful intelligent lyrics, harsh vocals blending with clean vocals, a melodic chorus, techno touches and even some turntablism.
The third track on the CD is “A-M-E-R-I-C-A” and it features a guest appearance by Michael Vampire of the band Vampires Everywhere! This song has a very clear-cut opinion regarding what this country stands for today, the “home of the free, the sick and deprived.” Musically you can hear a Marilyn Manson influence at several points and there is even a touch reminiscence of Disturbed within the first few seconds of the song. “A-M-E-R-I-C-A” is not a fast paced song and stays pretty much in a mid tempo mode throughout. One of the best components of this song is a very emotive guitar solo that has the aura of a snake charmer that is taking you under its spell.
“Burned at Both Ends” may immediately give you the impression that it will be resting on its metalcore laurels. Well it isn’t, so don’t get comfortable because like many of the songs on this CD, the sound is more like an adventure than a planned vacation. Contrary to the track’s quick tempo the song lyrically comes from a place of feeling dejected. The vocals run the gambit of being hard and gruff to extremely melodic. In my opinion, one of the best parts of the song lies from 1:50 to 2:33; the screams here are very enticingly beautiful.
We then dive right into “The Divine Infection” and it truly is completely infectious with a great rhythm, hook, really skillful screams and some pretty thought-provoking lyrics. This song shines a spotlight on religion that has morphed into a machine full of abhorrence, greed and judgments. Religion led by those who hide behind the righteousness of God while their behavior is anything but Godlike. “The Divine Infection” pulls no punches … “It’s my life, my body and my love to give. Dear ignorance, I’ll see you in hell….”
The sixth track on the CD, “Puppets 2 (The Rain)” features a guest appearance by Bjorn Strid of the band Soilwork. This song reads like poetry, but poetry that hits you like a bomb blast. The music is hard, the lyrics are eloquent and combined it creates an esthetically pleasing musical experience.
“Sinematic” slows the tempo down immensely and this track feels completely like a twisted love song. The sense of trying to avoid the truth of a toxic relationship; trying to disassociate from emotions that they cannot come to terms with by giving into a person and situation that only leads to pain. There are parts of the song I really enjoy including the musical arrangement, which is beautiful in a heartbreaking kind of way. Then there are things, like the way the first couple of verses are laid out, that just don’t completely hit the mark with me. Without a doubt the chorus and bridge are extremely strong elements of the song and although there are portions that didn’t completely work for me, the song does pick up speed as it progresses. It starts out lukewarm, but it gets you where you need to be in the end. Regardless, it is definitely a song that steps outside of the box of what Motionless in White usually performs.
“If It’s Dead, We’ll Kill It” was the band’s second single off of Infamous and it features a guest appearance by Brandan Schieppati of Bleeding Through. The keyboards on this track create an intense atmosphere and the rhythm just pushes that feeling even further. This song was designed for a circle pit; it has the perfect pace of rise and fall that any good pit needs and just enough of dare I say, a catchy chorus, to provide sustenance to those who prefer to stay outside of the circle. I would really like to experience this song performed live.
“Synthetic Love” is like a melting pot of genres. We have the substantial guitar riffs and melodies that are considered very alternative metal, but the verse sections are anchored in an industrial sound. Then we have the bridge transition that moves you into the rap infused style of nu-metal, like I said, melting pot. This song has a very radio friendly sound and stays within a nice melodic groove.
“Hatefuck” is such a dirty little song and believe me it is titled completely appropriately. If you didn’t get what I was trying to say, this track is about having a meaningless “little hate fuck.” We all know there are songs that are a good backdrop for those hot sexy times and this is definitely one, it smolders, without a doubt. “I wanna show you what a bitch I can be.” Ok, moving on.
“Underdog” is one of my favorite tracks. I believe placing this song towards the end of the CD was a brilliant idea. After the range of emotions that are displayed throughout the album, this song leaves you in a good place. Each song on this CD feels like a step by step full cathartic encounter and “Underdog” brings you to where you feel like you can say fuck you and live on your own terms. “Underdog” reinforces confidence and acceptance of yourself; it is a reminder to never let anyone make you feel wrong for being who you are or try to mold you into something different. This song would make a great single, it has cool guitar sounds, some smooth double bass and the chorus and melodies are just fucking phenomenal sounding. Yes, I love this song.
The last song “Infamous” is a track that has some very KORNscentric touches, so if you are a KORN fan you will dig this song and like many of the songs on this album the chorus is really solid. Frankly, this track speaks for itself and lyrically sums up the feel of the entire CD.
“I said this before and now I’ll say it again. Open your mind before your mouth and get the fuck out of my way. I don’t care what you have to say, it makes no difference. It’s all because of you, we’re fucking infamous.”
The only question I had after listening to this CD was why I waited so long to do so. Infamous is dark, haunting, angry, aggressive, honest and self-assured in its beliefs. Every lyric is stated with conviction and every song has meaning and is presented with complete authority.
Sound wise you without a doubt can hear the musical influences of Marilyn Manson, Korn, Nine Inch Nails, Type-O Negative, hell even a touch of All That Remains, Linkin Park and Sevendust here and there. Speaking of Marilyn Manson, Manson was and is a trailblazer who never apologizes for what he believes or who he is. Manson is dark, scary to some and most definitely a huge musical presence for the past two decades. For many Manson represented and acknowledged the unpleasant realities of our existence for those that don’t fit inside what is considered to be typical, conventional and generally accepted. I think Chris Motionless has similar qualities to Manson in the ability to represent the forgotten, the ignored, those outside of the usual standard. Manson took shock rock to a new level and while doing so inspired a generation. I believe Manson should welcome Chris Motionless as a representative to the next generation of Antichrist Superstar. You don’t have to be a Born Villain to be Infamous, you just have to be who you are and never apologize about it.
Infamous is honestly a great CD and if this is your kind of scene, I recommend it. I also recommend it if isn’t your scene, because there are so many elements to each song, if something is not your kind of genre, give it a minute because Infamous defies genres. I give this album 8.7 out of 10 and I can’t wait to see what MIW has in store next.
You can catch Motionless In White on The Don’t Pray for Me Tour with Asking Alexandria, Chimaira, Whitechapel and I Killed the Prom Queen. The tour starts April 19th and runs through May 25th.
The Don’t Pray For Us Tour
4/19 – Wichita, KS @ The Cotilion
4/21 – Lubbock, TX @ FMX Purple Spot Show
4/23 – New Orleans, LA @ House of Blues
4/25 – Tallahassee, FL @ The Moon
4/26 – Chattanooga, TN @ Track 29
4/27 – Jacksonville, FL @ Welcome to Rockville
4/28 – Tampa, FL @ The Ritz (NO MIW)
4/30 – Birmingham, AL @ Bessemer Civic Center
5/01 – Norfolk, VA @ The Norva
5/03 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Ice Garden Arena
5/04 – Charlotte, NC @ Carolina Rebellion
5/05 – Richmond, VA @ The National
5/07 – Long Island, NY @ The Paramount
5/08 – Stroudsburg, PA @ Sherman Theatre
5/10 – Des Moines, IA @ KAZR Lazer Fest
5/11 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave
5/12 – Minneapolis, MN @ Epic
5/14 – Omaha, NE @ Sokol Auditorium
5/15 – Kansas City, MO @ Granada Theater
5/17 – Grand Rapids, MI @ The Intersection
5/18 – Columbus, OH @ Rock On The Range
5/25 – Pryor, OK @ Rocklahoma