With Marilyn Manson’s series of frankly terrifying Instagram videos all too fresh in our minds, ‘Graveyard Shift’ ushers in the return of another long-time staple of industrial and gothic metal. With Motionless In White achieving a career goal in signing to Roadrunner Records, this marks the notoriously ostentatious band’s debut album on the label, and their first since 2014’s ‘Reincarnate’.
The other recent major change for the Scranton group is the departure of keyboard player Josh Balz, announced in January. His absence goes unnoticed, however, with familiar synthesisers and effects padding out the robustly produced metalcore – often with unnecessarily irritating consequences, as is the case on ‘Rats’.
Manson remains the key touchstone for Motionless In White and Chris Cerulli, whose baritone drawl delivers lyrics that are often embarrassingly cringe-worthy. The only surprising aspect of Korn’s Jonathan Davis appearing on ‘Necessary Evil’ is the fact that he was willing to be associated with a song featuring the line ‘I’mma have my cake and fucking eat you too.’
The refreshing groove and rock’n’roll-sounding riff of ‘LOUD (Fuck It)’ is an isolated moment, the overwhelmingly formulaic metal landfill epitomised in ‘The Ladder’’s pitiable slut-shaming. The smooth, mid-paced ‘Untouchable’ and the almost anthemic ‘Eternally Yours’ have a little more life to them, but for every well-constructed chorus there is an instantly forgettable one, and a lazy, bog-standard guitar line to match.
If ‘Graveyard Shift’ is anything, it is consistent. Essentially a reincarnation of ‘Reincarnate’, there is even a sequel to one of that album’s tracks, ‘Dead As Fuck’ (‘Not My Type: Dead As Fuck 2’). Some fans will find delight in the lack of progression – after all, there are only so many things an industrial-cum-gothic-cum-horror metalcore band can be. Others will lament a creatively lacklustre offering – one that suggests the Roadrunner move is something of a step backwards.
‘Graveyard Shift’ by Motionless In White is released on 5th May on Roadrunner Records.
Words by Peter Stewart (@PeteStew_)