June 9, 2022 Motionless In White – Scoring the End of the World (Album Review)
Nearly three years to the day of their last release, Motionless In White is set to return with their sixth full-length, Scoring the End of the World. Roadrunner Records deliver their latest on Friday, June 10, 2022.
Coming off their most personally cathartic release to date, 2019’s Disguise, Motionless In White could have taken many paths. The commercial success of singles like the gorgeously heartfelt ballad “Another Life” might have easily influenced softer edges meant to favor radio-ready material over the heavier aspects of the Scranton, Pennsylvania group. Yet, their catalog is impressively diverse, in sound as much as in content, one that has always embraced everything from spooky Horror vibes (2010’s Creatures) and electronic sex (2012’s Infamous) to reinvention (2014’s Reincarnate) and spitting in the face of naysayers (2017’s Graveyard Shift).
So, what direction did they choose? Well, the world, it seems, had plans for Vocalist Chris “Motionless” Cerulli and his brothers. When the pandemic led to worldwide lockdowns and debilitating uncertainty, the artist, that being head lyricist Cerulli, turned yet again towards the emotional release of creating music. Some ‘quarantine experiments’ were born of that time, and the freedom that was found within these moments would ultimately issue a new certainty, a fresh era in the Motionless In White saga: Scoring the End of the World.
At 13 tracks, the album sees the band—Cerulli, Guitarists Ryan Sitkowski and Ricky Olson, Bassist Justin Morrow, and Drummer Vinny Mauro—picking up where its predecessor left off. In a sense. One can expect more of the candid field trips to Cerulli’s psyche, but these mind freaks will be found alongside world weary material born of the times in which it was conceived. It is not, however, a full-on political assault. Instead, it is an assessment of a far greater picture: global warming, corrupt leadership, inequality, and violence; all signs of our own inhumanity. In this, the collection is a split screen view of the struggles that the world is facing echoed inside the raging mind of one abundantly honest songwriter.
So it should be obvious that Scoring the End of the World—which was produced by Justin DeBlieck (former Ice Nine Kills) and Drew Fulk (Lil Wayne, A Day to Remember)—covers a lot of hot button issues. And not an ounce of time is wasted. The album’s ballsy opener, “Meltdown,” is its first take on the concept, exploring global warming and our self-created doomsday (“You can’t spell out ‘virus’ without ‘us’”). Cut from a similar cloth, sonically speaking, to the album’s first single/video “Cyberhex,” its cinematic synthscape backs the five as they unleash hell. Greta Thunberg would be proud!
Then there’s the eating of the rich that is “Slaughterhouse,” an incendiary butchering that features Bryan Garris of Knocked Loose, and the anthemic sing-along “We Become the Night,” with its delicate echoes of “A-M-E-R-I-C-A.” Not American, former Cradle of Filth Keyboardist Lindsay Schoolcraft, a multi-talented musical force in her own right, appears on the aforementioned “Cyberhex,” a call-to-arms that proudly waves a flag of love in the face of hatred.
The more personal songs, however, are just as powerful. Take, for example, the yin and yang that are “Sign of Life” and “Cause of Death.” One of the pair explores the idea of clawing your way out of the grave of your own mind, while the other sees Cerulli facing off against himself in an internal battle for domination. And though it might have been predicted that the two tracks would be nearly identical, instead, they are perfectly able to stand on their own merits.
“Porcelain” and “Werewolf” are, at first glance, entirely separate entities. But each acknowledges a darkness that lurks inside: the former does so with a wrecking ball (ala Miley Cyrus) while the latter, well, you’re not ready for its lupine strut. And yes, there is indeed a werewolf howl that opens the track. (Bonus trivia: the very same soundbite can be found on Ice Nine Kills’ “Love Bites.”) A delicious blend of Reincarnate’s stellar “Wasp” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” presented through the lens of the Synthwave version of “Voices,” it is, hands down, the magnetic core of Scoring the End of the World.
Add to all of this collaborations with Caleb Shomo of Beartooth (“Red, White & Boom”) and Australian composer Mick Gordon (“Scoring the End of the World”), along with some wonderfully whimsical Danny Elfman influences, vocal contributions from Olson and Morrow, Easter eggs (happy hunting!), and so much more. There’s even a sequel to a classic deep cut, one that results in a Prog Metalcore elevation of their Infamous sound.
With all of this noted, it’s easy to hear that Motionless In White has truly pushed itself with Scoring the End of the World. The emboldening of their cinematic components serves the group well, adding a plethora of new textures to their already eclectic sound. And it’s really no shock that they continue to integrate new facets into their music, all as Cerulli once again opens his heart with an authenticity that screams louder than any goblin growl.
Suddenly at a complete loss for words, Cryptic Rock gives Scoring the End of the World 5 out of 5 stars.