REVIEW: Motionless In White – ‘Reincarnate’

Artist: Motionless In White
Album: Reincarnate
Label: Fearless
Genre: Hard Rock

Motionless In White have long proven their ability to produce hard-hitting music with messages that range from believing in yourself to fighting against the corrupt bullshit you see in the world around you. Along the way, the group has undergone a spectacular evolution that has taken them from screamo beginnings to a sound that now appeals to rock fans from all walks of life. These changes have caused fans to come and go over the years, but with their third studio album it seems Motionless In White may have finally found a sound that will appeal to everyone.

I think there is an argument to be made for every one of Motionless In White’s album titles to be viewed as a tongue in cheek comment on the band’s own position in life, but that is certainly the case with Reincarnate. Blending the heavier influences of the band’s early work with the radio ready sound of Infamous, this new album combines everything fans love about Motionless In White into one pulse-pounding mix of no holds barred hard rock. It’s got the most pit inciting chugs the Warped Tour crowds yearns for, but also a healthy mix of riff driven material that will play to fans of arena rock bands like Godsmack or Five Finger Death Punch. Those names may make some longtime followers cringe, but if MIW want to continue developing they need to hone in on a sound that can sell on a massive scale and those aforementioned bands know how to do it better than anyone in the game today. Tracks like “Reincarnate,” “Contemptress,” and “Generation Lost” could be huge if marketed well.

Fans of Motionless In White’s debut album will also find plenty to love on Reincarnate. It’s a far heavier record than Infamous, and even the catchiest tracks tend to have moments of absolutely rock brutality sprinkled in for added excitement. “Dead Passenger,” for example, feels like a straightforward rock song before it eventually begins to build into a chaotic whirlwind of vocals and crashing instrumentation. It’s a moment, like many on the album, that hits you without any warning whatsoever. Those are the moments that make this album truly special, and more than half a dozen spins into the record I still find myself being surprised.

If Infamous made you think Motionless In White spent a little too much time listening to Marilyn Manson, Reincarnate will prove that belief true. From the beginning of “Deathmarch” it’s clear the band is continuing to take cues from the king of shock rock, and as the record progresses their are hints of his riot inciting sound permeating throughout the band’s material. “Everybody Sells Cocaine” is the most blatant of the bunch, boasting a chorus that immediately brings to mind “The Fight Song” (and I mean that in the best possible way). Likewise, “Dead As Fuck” brings to mind Hellbilly Deluxe era Rob Zombie. It’s not enough to cause anyone to cry foul, but the influence is undeniable.

The one song everyone will be talking about off Reincarnate is almost certainly the demi-ballad known as “Wasp.” Clocking in at just over seven minutes in length, this one of a kind offering finds Motionless In White slowing things down for a moving and complex emotional journey through the softer side of the band’s musical abilities. It’s the kind of song you don’t know how to judge at first, but as it plays you begin to ease into its groove, syncing its pulsating rhythm with your own heartbeat. By the time it ends you’re floating amidst a pitch black sea of digital effects and piano accompaniment that could very well move some to tears. It’s powerful stuff, and it tells the listener that Motionless In White still have a lot more work to do before their time in the music spotlight is through.

For all the good Reincarnate has to offer, it’s still not a perfect release. The diversity of the album keeps things fresh throughout, but poor sequencing choices make for an uneven listening experience. It’s not up, down, and up again, but up for a while, then down suddenly, or vice versa. As a result, Reincarnate tends to work better when played in the order preferred by the listener than the way the tracks are presented on the album. There is a great collection of music to be found here, the order it’s presented in might not be the best way to consume it. Additionally, the latter half of the album struggles to find ways to keep the more rock-oriented side of the group’s sound from becoming redundant. It’s never outright bad, but there are moments near the end of Reincarnate that sound a little too much like the beginning of the record. In some cases that could be considered something created to serve as bookends for the record, but that does not appear to be the case with this release. It’s not an album intended to play like a fluid story from beginning to end, so there is no real reason to revisit ideas from one part of the record later on.

I still believe Motionless In White are capable of releasing a flawless rock album that will shock critics and fans alike, but until they reach a point in their career where that kind of material is being created Reincarnate is the next best thing. It’s a driving and infectious release that finds Motionless In White growing more than ever before while relying heavily on the influences that helped get them started. Fans of both previous records will find something to love about this album, and they may even learn to appreciate the back catalog in new ways as well. It’s clear everything Motionless In White have been through in life up to this point went into this release, and I for one am excited to see what they do next.

SCORE: 7.5/10
Review written by James Shotwell

James Shotwell
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