Slinging mud and fury at the “bottom-line feeders”, Chris Motionless sings and screams his way through a memorandum of the state of the world and how fucked the world is…or is it?
Four years from their last album Graveyard Shift, Motionless in White explode back onto the scene with their sixth studio album Scoring the End of the World. While this group is no stranger to writing about societal and political issues, this body of work may be their strongest and most political collection yet.
Starting with strong with “Meltdown,” heavy drums and a strong electronic rhythm welcome us to the state of the world: a decaying mass that has occurred to our own negligence just as much as the power-hungry politicians and businessmen in control. The anthemic “We Become the Night” picks this up later in the album, furthering the expression of distaste of corporate greed above all else. It’s a call to arms to not retreat to the shadows but become them completely in order to reestablish a community that values more than status or cash. “Red White and Boom” wraps up the theme nicely with a direct “fuck you” and a fun callback to “AMERICA,” from their earlier album Infamous. Essentially, it all coagulates into a desire for a scorched earth society and a chance for a new and better one. The music pulses and rocks in a way that evokes energy, which is surely to translate well to their live shows.
What is most impressive is how Motionless in White not only manages but relishes in creating fun songs that can only be described as “Certified Spooky Bops”. One such track is “Werewolf,” which explores guilty pleasures and how they manifest themselves into a different identity. Woven throughout the track is a sexy beat, literal wolf howls and a Rockwell/Michael Jackson sample to top it all off. It’s easily one the most fun and danceable song on the record.
Another installment of their “Broadcasting from Beyond the Grave” series, “Corpse Nation,” seeks the unification of those abused and forgotten by the leaders of the world. Painting society as a pageant that has egregiously flopped and ought to be shut down, the current fallout is purely the fault of those who put it on in the first place. Continuing this trend is the lead single “Cyberhex,” a critique of the technology dependent world and how tech has fundamentally disconnected humanity from each other. Whether is a plea or a demand for reconnection in this scattered world, the message is crystal clear that it’s the only way to survive.
Chris piggybacks off of “Werewolf” to establish that the alter ego isn’t always as sexy as he seems with the song “Porcelain”. Unfortunately, this is where the record stumbles, boasting self-aggrandizing tone and on the nose lyrics (“I howled a wrecking ball through porcelain”) as he expresses regret and self-loathing over careless actions that have yet again destroyed a valuable relationship. Admittedly, the song does improve upon further listening with Chris’ earnest delivery and an impressive, dramatic musical composition. The lyrics, while a little obnoxious at first listen, effectively illustrate the mental and emotional states of the two parties involved in this particular failed relationship (the wrecking ball being an aggressive, careless force against the delicate and fragile porcelain). A few listens is almost guaranteed to win over any seasoned cynic.
If “Porcelain” doesn’t get you, the song that would win “Most Likely to Make You Cry” in its yearbook would be “Masterpiece.” Motionless in White has never been shy about admitting mistakes in relationships, but “Masterpiece” puts all those mistakes in a figurative gallery on display for all to see. While purposefully not specific on what those mistakes are, one could almost see him walking through the halls of his own memories and cringing at every wrong and all the harm he must have done. The regret in this song is genuine lyrically as well as in the delivery as he wonders how to make amends after all the hurt he’s caused the people closest to him in addition to the lack of faith he has in himself to foster healthy relationships. He has open wounds that he doesn’t know how to dress and may never heal from, and he has no one to blame but himself. In a word: ouch.
The album doesn’t shy away from further criticism or questioning of identity, going further with songs like “Cause of Death” and “Sign of Life.” Depression is personified as some ethereal being that somehow keeps finding him after he’s sworn he’s beaten it, and he’s begun again to lose himself. Ignoring it hasn’t made it go away, so the only way out is through it. “Cause of Death” actions as its spiritual sequel, dividing himself into two personalities that are true to him, but one is more toxic than the other. Essentially, the toxicity must perish in order for the hope to thrive. This message translates beautifully whether referencing a collective whole or a conflicted individual. Topping it off is another sequel song, “Burned at Both Ends II,” which continues a narrative that is also from their 2012 Infamous album. The subject of the song is struggling to find identity after leaving a toxic relationship, but refuses to take anything less than full control of his life just because the alternative might be easier. He’s found something to live for that is more meaningful.
The heaviest and most violent song on the record, unsurprisingly, is “Slaughterhouse,” which was teased and hyped on Instagram for days before being dropped as the third single. It did not disappoint, starting with vicious screams from Bryan Garris of Knocked Loose and violently describing politicians as butchers who have cut up and sold the American Dream. Bryan Garris and Chris Motionless then turn the tables, insisting that it’s those in charge who are the “pigs” who deserve to be on the chopping block. Not subtle and not for the faint of heart, this brutal track is definitely one to grab your attention and make you remember it from the first scream to the last squelch.
Closing the record is the title track “Scoring the End of the World.” If all the previous songs compose the memorandum, this is their resounding battle cry. In this culture war, Motionless in White has planted their flag and decided that they are going to fight in the best way they know how. In a genius mix of musical terminology and modern warfare, they express not the desire but the determined plan of action to use their music to inspire everyone to take back their voice and use it to influence a better tomorrow.
Weaving their way through their own musical history and looking towards the future, this record is their strongest body of work yet. If the world ended tomorrow, this would be the soundtrack and there isn’t another collection out there that would contest that. Motionless in White does it again with a collection of songs that are as strong in musical composition as they are in lyrical prowess, delivering with gusto and sincerity not matched by many other artists. They’ve proven repeatedly with each new album that they only improve over time and, truly, could be their magnum opus.
Fueled by hope and a genuine love of music, the record closes with an exploding beacon of hope. The situation is dire, but all may not be as lost as one may think.
Motionless in White is currently embarking on Part II of the Trinity of Terror Tour with Ice Nine Kills and Black Veil Brides. Dates for this and Part III of the tour can be found here.