I’m a sucker for themes, I really am. I’ve always believed that when a band follows a concept, whether it is lyrically or sonically, it makes for a better and more complete listening experience, which is exactly why I was so disappointed at Motionless In White’s full-length debut, Creatures. I honestly wasn’t expecting much from this band. I mean come on, they’re named after an Eighteen Visions song, and have you seen their looks? They look like the type of people who just liked Halloween a little too much. But I let the music speak for itself, and while their previous EPs weren’t exactly awful they were definitely nothing special either. However, bands tend to clean up with their debuts, and I decided to give the album a chance.
To start things off, let me say that I have a love-hate relationship with this album. Something about this album makes me not despise it completely, even though it has everything I dislike in the music scene right now. The album kicks off with “Immaculate Misconception” (cool title brah!). This track has pretty much everything that will be repeated throughout the album: cringe-worthy lyrics (“I hope you drown in all the cum you fucking swallow”), unnecessary breakdowns, bland and forgettable clean vocals, and “br00t4l” screams (at least frontman Chris Cerulli’s vocals are a step up from their previous releases). But if I’m bashing it so much, what exactly is the part that I like so much? Well let me tell you, keyboardist John Balz kills it; I don’t regularly say this, but he makes the band. He knows exactly what a keyboardist is supposed to do in a band – he sets the mood and doesn’t go overboard with the electronics (think James Baney’s performance on The Devil Wears Prada’s Zombie EP set to terribly generic instrumentation). Then comes the second track, “We Only Come Out at Night”, a song about vampires (what a surprise!). The song isn’t much different from its predecessor, the lyrics fitting in well with the eeriness of the keyboard, but unfortunately the synth eventually starts to imitate that of bands like Abandon All Ships and Attack Attack!. This is a problem that will reappear throughout the album to put a damper on otherwise enjoyable tracks.
Things pick up a bit after that. Balz mostly manages keeps things how they should be and provides the sonic theme of the album, despite the fact that the album isn’t really much different from the rest. Most of the lyrics are awful (example from “London In Terror”: “Your eyes are labyrinths of love”), the breakdowns just get more ridiculous (shown on “Abigail”), and the vocals are just as forgettable on “Cobwebs”. Also if you want to have a quick laugh, listen to “London In Terror” to hear the band’s attempt at imitating Marilyn Manson, and the synth continues to lose itself at times as on “Count Choculitis”.
It’s really unfortunate that Creatures had to come out this way, as the band does have talent. “Puppets (The First Snow)” showcases a band that although fills their music with trends, knows how to play their instruments. While “City Lights” provides an interesting listen, it’s quite different from the rest of the record. And although most of the album may be borderline atrocious, it’s songs like closer “Scissorhands (The Last Snow)” that make me ponder whether I can ever truly hate this album. Once again keyboardist Balz comes along to save the album and gives a performance that provides the atmosphere of a horror-film.
Creatures could have been the surprise of the year; it could have been an outstanding record if it wasn’t for all the trends in the scene coming in and polluting perfectly acceptable tracks. The band is at the top of their game when they’re writing songs that sound like a horror movie soundtrack, and if they would have stuck to what they do best then this might have been quite enjoyable. With Halloween having passed by it seems kind of a waste to listen to this now. However, if you’re into the direction that metalcore has been taking lately then by all means this is your album, if not then this album deserves at least one good listen.