Over the past seven years or so, Scranton metal outift Motionless In White have been both relentless and successful in making a genre their own. Gothic rock/metal has seemed to go hand in hand with the quartet ever since their first real burst into the limelight with Creatures back in 2010. Now signed to industry juggernaut Roadrunner Records – Chris “Motionless” Cerulli and co are back with a new record that could well be the catalyst to their biggest assault on the mainstream yet.
Part gothic metal extravaganza, part tech-infused spectacle – Graveyard Shift rarely stands still and does its absolute best to never pin itself to one style throughout. While this does, at times make it difficult to take the record completely seriously – the jolting changes in tempo create an atmosphere of scarce unpredictability, a concept that works in Graveyard Shift’s favor.
While aggression is part and parcel of what Motionless In White bring to the table, Cerulli’s performance at times brings such a level of putrid anger to the gritty guitar lines below him, that what would be mediocre/uncharismatic metal slides that struggle to get out of third gear such as ‘Soft’ and ‘Hourglass’ in turn are given a breath of personality and downright heavy angst, with pummeling breakdowns that are little less than a kick to the face.
Lyrically, Graveyard Shift at times is stagnant, with ‘Not My Type: Dead As Fuck 2’ and ‘The Ladder’ centralizing necrophilia and having sex to improve your stature in life. While Motionless In White undoubtedly have a youthful fan-base, lyrics such as “She likes me cause I like to give head like a zombie” are going to struggle to expand the quartet to broader audiences, and do little for their image as a band looking to make the biggest mark they can on the industry.
Both ‘570’ and ‘Eternally Yours’ see the four piece reach their potential, with the former lined with barbaric brutality – as well as giving lead guitarist Ryan Sitkowski room for expression. While the latter is full of emotion, hooks, and a chorus as big as an iceberg; this is Motionless In White at their creative best, and gives the metallers a path to move forward with if they’re looking to become more than just a dark, edgy, gothic metal band.
At its heaviest, Graveyard Shift is a metal record that can shatter your insides. Ultimately though, the record doesn’t stay at its best for long enough. While this album probably won’t be the defining 50 minutes of the bands career – in its peak moments it gives Motionless In White a blueprint, which if carried forward correctly could result in the Pennsylvanians leaving a stamp on the genre of metal that will be felt around the world.