Article by Andrés Alvarado
Scranton, Pennsylvania goth-metal outfit, Motionless In White, are a polarizing bunch. Whether their collective style pisses off the conservative masses or places metalhead purists into gear-grinding mode, the Chris Cerulli-led quintet are, by all measures, a success within the parameters of the genre niche in which they reside. Known for their horror-induced industrial musical sensibilities, elaborate freaks-come-out-at-night type performances, and the shades of pale makeup mixed to scattered blood-resembling reds and emo blacks, Motionless In White present us with their fifth LP, Disguise.
Disguise finds the Electric City troupe at a crossroads of harmonious confusion. For all of Motionless In White’s obvious talents, this album projects volatility and a slight lack of definition. Yes, there are the heavy elements of blasting beats, towering riffs, and some on-point vocal prowess; yet, in the grand scheme of record-spinning, Disguise lacks that signature Motionless In White bravado and harmony ownership. Moreover, Disguise, for all intents and purposes, appears to be a mere tribute record to those ’90s and ’00s influences like Linkin Park, Marilyn Manson, Korn and Rob Zombie. Nonetheless, Disguise does possess a couple of shining moments and above average tracks to keep diehards happy — and skeptics within arm’s reach.
First, the good. Banger “Thoughts and Prayers” is head-n-shoulders the most unrelenting heaviest and grimiest asset within Disguise. A track rooted to an unapologetic swipe at religion, “Thoughts and Prayers” is a thumper of ear-blasting and head-banging proportions. Brimmed of Cerulli’s barreling howls and rugged vocalization, “Thoughts and Prayers” is the apotheosis and only legitimate high point within Disguise. Additionally, album namesake “Disguise,” “Legacy” and “Brand New Numb” subsist as the other salvageable slaps on the album. This trifecta holds a certain made-for-arena-rock flair to their composition — sensible, as Motionless In White’s popularity stock keeps raising.
Now, the bad. Disguise contains no authentic direction for the gang. At best, the alt-metal quintet presents several watered down numbers akin to their genre predecessors. “Headache” may very well be a doppelganger to any Korn cut from their later and less impressive albums like The Path of Totality or Take A Look In The Mirror. Additionally, </c0de> is a blatant ripoff of Linkin Park’s quintessential sound and style. Sure, Linkin Park may not be owners of the harmonious formula, but Motionless In White can pay homage while adding a touch more to distinguish themselves. They say mimicking is a form of flattery; in this case, it is not.
Overall, Disguise is simply two fries short of a happy meal. The album is unoriginal, uninteresting, and quite a step back for Motionless In White. Cerulli and company are too talented to settle down within this hole they have dug up and fallen into. In the end, Disguise is either the work of uninspired musicians, or musicians too inspired that may have forgotten to partition the fine lines between the originals and copycats.
Album Score: 3/10 — Key Tracks: Thoughts and Prayers, Disguise, and Legacy