I remember about this time last year, I had built up some kind of desire to make a post which would basically comprise of em talking about how I disliked Scranton sextet Motionless in White as they appeared to be on the cusp of becoming the next big thing in the world of metal. It was on my first listening, I couldn't get into it, their music seemed to lack structure, felt disjointed and the melodic moments just left me longing for the return of the much richer sounding Eighteen Visions. But that probably would have been a bad idea because 2010 debut Creatures turned out to be one of those albums that need to be listened to several times to get fully into. And when you did, there was no going back. So now we come to the group's second album Infamous their first release as a fully recognised bad who have some reputation of taking brutal metalcore beatdowns and bringing in giant influence from a gothic metal point of view to darken up the edges that other breakdown-heavy bands were relying on. And does the music live up to the group's reputation of being truly infamous? You fucking bet it does.
What basically seems to have happened is that with Creatures, the band took the world of metalcore by storm. The people who loved their meaty breakdowns writhed in moshpits to the immense density of Abigail and Immaculate Misconception and with that they became the band that could turn this state of metalcore into something much more interesting and theatrically brutal. But Motionless in White didn't have time for that scene and the idea of staying in the same group of bands as For All Those Sleeping, Make Me Famous, I am King and many many many, oh god so many more didn't seem right. And with this reputation from being a fearsome metalcore band the band have gone on drop the main principles of what they achieved on Creatures and done their very own thing for Infamous taking their influence from somewhere that could never touch the metalcore world. And I know five words that could effectively sum up where a large proportion of their influence seems to have been taken from: The Golden Age of Grotesque.
I know that the band have on countless occasions talked about their love for Marilyn Manson, but the overall performance on Infamous takes it to a whole new level. Some of the heaviest sing-along choruses can be heard on the massive A-M-E-R-I-C-A the band's bitter examination of Hollywood and how icons are made there and the structure is so Golden Age-esque you can hear shades of Manson in every section of the song. Likewise, the jaw dropping rush of The Divine Infection is highly reminiscent of mOBSCENE and Hatefuck is a perfect reflection of Slutgarden sounding as fresh as the original song does nine years on. Even the tense balladry of Sinematic sounds like it fits perfectly within Manson's less-than-accomplished 2007 effort Eat Me, Drink Me while still being carried off with the band's raw heaviness.
But there's all kinds of influences across this album from the darkened performers that gave the 1990's and early 2000's that stopped being the godly figures you thought they were as soon as you got halfway through sixteen. And when you hear these songs it suddenly makes those bands a whole lot cooler again. The rumbling rock and roll melodies accompanied by blasting electronics that form Devil's Night that show off a startling Rob Zombie influence to their songwriting, while the bleak piano opening that is immediately triggered into a jaw-dropping extreme metal riff-fest from Rick Olson and Ryan Stickowski that opens the album Black Damask (The Fog) was clearly constructed with a Cradle of Filth influence on mind, which continues onto If It's Dead, We'll Kill It in which frontman Chris Motionless manages to out-Dani Filth Dani Filth. At his melodic moments, Motionless obtains his Eighteen Visions reminiscence but has also taken what sounds like influence from early HIM releases, bringing in an extra sense of gothic bleakness. Even traces of Disturbed can be heard with the grooves that open synthetic love with an opening growl of "AH-HAH" from Motionless that would make David Draiman proud.
But this is no album that shows a band falling fully into a realm of recording commercially successful alt metal. Motionless in White are a tight band make no mistake. The grooves of Burned at Both Ends sounds closer to Machine Head in their songwriting while Puppets 2 (The Rain) proves there's absolutely no reason to lose faith in them as a metalcore band just yet. The breakdowns are slammed down to create a venomous brutality while Underdog delivers the grooves with gritted teeth and a spaying of "Fuck yous"'s that immediately conjures up Pantera imagery that proves that Motionless in White are so much more than a band in white make up and dyed hair. This really is an band not to get on the wrong side of. These people are genuine rockstars.
But most of all, what this album does is make me think of when I was fifteen years old and possessed a music collection that I'm now glad I've gone beyond. That music taste only really featured alternative metal and groove metal and metalcore bands. My taste has moved beyond that and become much more in depth but surely there was a time when I was happy to just listen to that. Infamous is an album that proudly wears it's influences from the likes of Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and Cradle of Filth on their sleeves and still use them to create a collection of songs that sees Motionless in White move on from the beatdown after beatdown formula of the other bands that Creatures put them on the same stage as and become more mature, more accomplished and more real musicians than their first album could ever have set them up to be. And in their intense performances with these influences, you're reminded of how good albums like The Golden Age of Grotesque really are and it definitely puts you in the mood to listen to those albums with a smile on your face and realise just how indestructible the mainstream sounding metal that got big at the start of this century really was. And this time last year, I was going to tell you not to believe the hype of this band. No, believe it. This is an album that makes The Golden Age of Grotesque the coolest album in the world again while being a masterpiece on it's own.
Motionless in White's Infamous is out now via Fearless. The band will tour the UK in January with Asking Alexandria, While She Sleeps and Betraying the Martyrs.