Sound — 7
Conceived during the same time as droves of other metalcore bands in America, it's likely to assume Motionless in White grabbed attention not for being a sonic breath of fresh air, but for having a frontman with a distinct style (but hey, that's also important in rock - just ask Alice Cooper). While performing on an indie stage at Warped Tour back in 2008, they would get on the radar of established record labels, and they signed with Fearless Records to release their debut album, "Creatures," in 2010. While it was obvious that the band's frontman, Chris Motionless (note: a misnomer - he is not a quadriplegic), had cultivated an aesthetic in a similar fashion to Marilyn Manson, Motionless in White's first delve into electronica-tinged metal resulted more in a forsaken categorizing of electronicore rather than industrial metal, but by the band's follow-up album, "Infamous," they started making efforts to pay homage to Manson's sound as much as his style.
Now, with the release of their third album, "Reincarnate," Motionless in White are showing more growth. First and foremost with the band further strengthening the industrial flavor of their sound, the opening "Death March" threads the needle well between the band's roots as millennial metalcore and the industrial metal sound they're striving towards, and the following track, "Reincarnate," is equipped with a filthy, arpeggiated acid synth that strongly evokes the vintage feel of industrial. However, the stronger grasp Motionless in White have on this "industrialcore" style isn't the be-all-end-all for "Reincarnate," and the album shows the band taking some ballsy chances: they pay tribute to Manson and Rob Zombie with stark industrial metal cuts "Everybody Sells Cocaine" and "Dead as F--k," and dabble in industrial dance with the slow-burning "Wasp" and the made-for-Goth-clubbing "Final Dictvm," which reach further back in industrial history, evoking the likes of Ministry or Covenant; they utilize some melodic death metal riffing in "Carry the Torch," and try their hand at some legitimate death metal with "Puppets 3 (the Grand Finale)," with the aid of Cradle of Filth's growler Dani Filth; and they also provide the curveball nu-metal track "Generation Lost," which, due to its staunch "black sheep" status and its dedicated kitsch factor, ends up being an asset on the album rather than a liability. The most insipid element of the album ends up being the integral usage of pop-metalcore choruses in numerous songs, but even the general meekness of those moments help contrast the noteworthy changes Motionless in White show this time around, making them stand out even more.
Lyrics — 8
With "Reincarnate" going into numerous gears and assuming different genre forms throughout, Chris Motionless' lyrics adapt accordingly. Primarily, he shows off the lessons he's learned from further studying the shock rock playbook, wielding some perverted humor like having a child choir singing "D-R-U-G-S-today" in "Everybody Sells Cocaine," depicting a necrophiliac fantasy in "Dead as F--k," to simple burn lines, like "b-tch, you give a f--king aspirin a headache" in "Reincarnate."
With the lower-geared tracks, Motionless keeps the darkness as proper levels but ups the seriousness- narrating the toxic relationship in the duet of "Contemptress," leading to the narrator's suicide ("I hear you whisper, but the pills were quicker"), and showing off his articulation chops in the fatal attraction of "Wasp" ("Her lipstick stains like acid rain/dissolving away my sense of restraint") - and in the death metal take, "Puppets 3 (the Grand Finale)," Motionless and Filth sufficiently tap into the lyrical well of grotesque macabre ("a graven, barren, broken tomb/resides where once delicate orchids bloom/no revocation for the damned/cursed temptation ground to sand").
Motionless still flaunts an uplifting metalcore side in songs like "Unstoppable" and "Break the Cycle," and while those stand in an odd contrast to the spiteful flavor of tracks like "Death March," "Final Dictvm" and "Carry the Torch," Motionless' juggling of different lyrical styles complements the album's multi-dimensional nature.
Overall Impression — 7
With one foot in the music that Motionless in White began as, and the other foot bravely moving forward into new things, "Reincarnate" is exactly what any band's third album should strive for. It brings a lot to the table, and while not everything will be a foreshadow of what's to come next (chances are everyone wouldn't want the band to become full-on nu-metal), the multi-course meal of music here makes "Reincarnate" the most full-bodied Motionless in White album thus far. Some may still be compelled to lambast Motionless in White for their industrial direction not being anything brand new, but if Motionless in White are the next to carry the torch of industrial metal, "Reincarnate" is proof that they could handle that responsibility.