Sound — 5
Motionless In White may have started out as a deathcore band just like plenty of other metal upstarts from the previous decade, but given frontman Chris Motionless's penchant for a '90s-era shock rock aesthetic, it was uncanny that the band would also eventually take their music in a similar direction. Come their third album, 2014's "Reincarnate," the band pivoted from the metalcore aggression that powered their freshman and sophomore albums for an industrial metal flair a la Marilyn Manson or Rob Zombie, which helped set the band apart from the run-of-the-mill metalcore sound that most of their peers still adhered to.
Having done a decent job with that pivot, Motionless In White's fourth album, "Graveyard Shift," expands upon what they touched upon in their previous album, generally appealing to a mainstream metal sound rife with singalong choruses and gang chants. Though they still bank on the industrial metal style in some cases, where aggressive, throbbing synths do the heavy lifting in "Rats," "Queen For Queen," "Untouchable," and "Not My Type: Dead As Fuck 2," Motionless In White don't make it the sole focus of their songwriting this time around. Slipknot-esque riffs in "Necessary Evil" and "Soft" show some more nu metal flavor to the band, and venturing into even simpler territory, the opening barre chords in "Voices" sounds like a Green Day pastiche, and the singular main riff in the following "LOUD (Fuck It)" is a post-grunge token.
Among all this, Motionless In White still manage to dish out some aggressive metal energy that they were previously known for, though with it coming in the tail end of the album, it feels like an afterthought. Nevertheless, the post-hardcore high gear of "The Ladder" and the triplet-rhythmed melodic metalcore cut of "570" will scratch any listener's itch for a dose of heavy and harsh metal, but other attempts by the band aim to thread the needle of vigor and catchiness (heard in "Hourglass" and "Eternally Yours"), which essentially boils down to sounding like any pop-minded metalcore of today.
Lyrics — 5
Similarly to "Reincarnate," Chris Motionless's lyrics in "Graveyard Shift" also span from kitschy shock rock scenes (like the necrophilia cunnilingus chorus in "Not My Type: Dead As Fuck 2") to general uplifting messages (like the ode to resilience in "Untouchable"), but more than anything, Chris's lyrics suffer from an extraneous penchant for repurposing catchy lines originally written by others. Along with recycling his own "a pawn in king's disguise" line in the chorus of "Queen For Queen" (which first appeared in the song "Carry The Torch" from the band's previous album), Chris goes from refashioning Gotye's ubiquitous hook in "The Ladder" ("Now you're just somebody that I used to fuck") and putting a simple, macabre spin on Lesley Gore's iconic hook in "Necessary Evil" ("It's my party, and I'll die when I want to"), to cribbing from Cypress Hill in "Soft" ("I'm insane, I'm insane in the membrane / I wanna fuck your face with a switchblade").
Overall Impression — 5
When they first made a significant step to changing their sound in "Reincarnate," Motionless In White may not have been blazing a brand new trail, but their appeal to a metal style influenced by industrial and darkwave easily helped them sound more eclectic than many of their metalcore peers. With "Graveyard Shift," Motionless In White lose out on that distinction they had previously seized by merging into a mainstream metal sound that has been the norm longer than the band have been around. All in all, Motionless In White sound much less interesting in "Graveyard Shift."