Motionless In White: Infamous

Rising gothic stars rewrite the rules of metalcore

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Breaking the mould is an ambitious but risky business, not least because it takes a while for change to settle and feedback to filter through. But if moulds had never been broken, there would be no such thing as metal, let alone doom, thrash or Metallica and Lou Reed’s Lulu. OK, perhaps ignore the last one, but the thing about moulds is that once they’re broken, it’s hard to retreat if it goes horribly wrong.

And that’s where young guns Motionless In White come in. Their second album, Infamous, boldly leaves the metalcore safety net of their debut, Creatures, and ventures out into unfamiliar territories. They’ve worked hard to stand out from the crowd and now they’ve nailed their sound to match, but are the metal masses ready for this?

Fans of the band know the drill: MIW have eclectic musical taste but Infamous turns their gothic equalisers right up without compromising their metal balance. The band’s dark passions have been carefully harnessed and developed by Tim Skold ,who briefly rescued Manson from a Trent Reznor-less quagmire with The Golden Age Of Grotesque and now the musician-turned-producer lends his distinctive stamp to MIW. You can hear it on the haunting piano of The Black Damask (The Fog) before it erupts into cacophonous screams and a melodic sing-along chorus, and again on Devil’s Night, where synthcore and metal combine so perfectly it’s like stepping into a time machine to that moment when you first heard Fear Factory’s Demanufacture or Slipknot’s drum’n’bass-energised Eyeless.

Elsewhere the creepy industrial metal anthem A-M-E-R-I-C-A and The Divine Infection are so heavily Skold-ed they could have been written for Manson himself. Tim’s presence has undeniably brought the industrialised element of MIW’s sound right to the forefront to ensure their gothic horror image finally matches their sound.

But Infamous isn’t just a dark industrial metal album because metalcore crossover guru Jason Suecof (Trivium/The Black Dahlia Murder) also shares production duties. He brings in plenty of satisfying riffs that make the most of frontman Chris Motionless’s screams and melodic choruses. His skills on traditional metalcore numbers like Burned At Both Ends tighten the chaotic sound that MIW adopted on their debut and give it a new intensity.

Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid from Soilwork pops up on the thundering Puppets 2 (The Rain) and Bleeding Through’s Brandan Schieppati on If It’s Dead, We’ll Kill It, lending an extra dimension and credibility to these already explosive songs. Choosing two producers who are stylistically so different gives Infamous a fascinating twist; between them they’ve managed to successfully merge gothic industrial metal and metalcore to create something new, exciting and very coherent.

Marilyn Manson, Fear Factory and Slipknot all broke moulds early on in their careers and now it’s Motionless In White’s turn to rewrite the rulebook of modern metal. Make no mistake: this is the soundtrack to the darkest, most intense gothic horror movie ever made.

Natasha Scharf
Deputy Editor, Prog

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.