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Monday, 17 June 2019

Reviews: Motionless In White, Perry Farrell, Freternia, Footprints In Custard (Matt & Neil)

Motionless In White: Disguise (Roadrunner Records) [Neil]

Motionless In White are a band that certainly wear their influences on their sleeves (even down to their name which is just one word altered from the Eighteen Visions song it’s taken from). Said influences are often pretty obvious as is evidenced a couple times on their fifth full-length offering Disguise. Let’s get those couple of times out of the way first: Headache the second track here does sound somewhat like a Korn song whilst track 4 Thoughts & Prayers sounds rather Slipknot-y. This is not to say that either are bad songs or anything but there is certainly a, shall we say, familiar sound to them. Stylistic appropriations are not the only thing on offer here though as Motionless also give us plenty of examples of their own trademark industrial/(nu-)metalcore hybrid stomp, although this outing leans slightly more towards the latter as was the case on their thoroughly enjoyable 2014 release Reincarnate.

The song which sits between the two aforementioned tracks and features plenty of electronics and heavy riffs in the style that fans of the band such as myself have come to know and love and is as good an example as any of today’s typical Motionless sound. There is also the amusingly tongue in cheek Broadcasting From Beyond The Grave which features the appropriately cheesy chorus lines “We are the weirdos / in your stereo” and is one of this writers’ favourite tracks on this one (along with the superbly heavy - and catchy - title track and penultimate track Brand New Numb, another electro-industrial flavoured thumper). The thrashy Undead Ahead 2 is a follow up to a song on the bands metalcore debut Creatures but frankly sounds far better then anything on that initial offering, even going so far as to featuring lyrics that actually rhyme and share similar structures across the verses (my biggest annoyances with their debut to be honest). There is also a larger presence of lighter songs here than on any other of the bands previous works which help demonstrate how far the band have come collectively as musicians and writers since that debut all the way back in 2010 when anything less than balls-out single minded metalcore seemed to simply not do. One of the finest examples of these, Legacy, features a proper earworm chorus and even a couple of “whoa-ohs” which is a first for a Motionless song if I’m not mistaken. 

Holding On To Smoke however is another slowish one but isn’t particularly memorable to these ears whilst Another Life is very radio-friendly so don’t be surprised to see that released as a single/video at some point during this album’s cycle. It is however the closing song Catharsis to which almost all plaudits belong, possibly maybe even usurping Eternally Yours (from what I consider to be their finest work – and my favourite album of that year: 2017’s excellent Graveyard Shift) as the band’s best song. It has excellent groovy verses, a fantastic chorus and on top of that features vocalist Chris “Motionless” Cerulli’s clean singing voice exclusively giving it a huge level of accessibility for those who may be hearing Motionless for the first time. The band have already come a long long way from their debut and even though this album doesn’t hit the same heights as their previous one in my opinion, it does feature a number of good to excellent songs and on the back of a song such as the superb closer they could quite easily go further still. 7/10

Perry Farrell: Kind Heaven (BMG Rights Management (US) LLC) [Matt]

On the year of his 60th birthday Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell's new solo album (his first in nearly 20 years) is a cornucopia of different musical genres all wrapped up into one album that goes against any genre links (and mostly sounds nothing like Jane's Addiction folks sorry). Farrell sees this as a soundtrack to his Las Vegas show as he has handpicked the so called Kind Heaven Orchestra to support him such luminaries as with Foo Fighters Taylor Hawkins, The Cars’ Elliot Easton and Dhani Harrison, joining Farrell and his wife Etty who take the vocals. You get the Beatles-like psychedelia on (Red, White & Blue) Cheerfulness while the electro thump and Tom Morello-like riffs of Pirate Punk Politician rallies against the current POTUS. These are just two different styles as Snakes Have Many Hips has some jazz overtones and Machine Girl is the first to feature his wife prominently on a lustful electronic number, while More Than I Could Bear sounds a little Zep when they went Moroccan. This album is influenced by astral projection and having Donald Trump as the antichrist but what else would you expect from the frontman of one of the most idiosyncratic alt rock bands ever and the founder of the Lollapalooza festival. Treat this as a jukebox of songs sung by one singer and it's a lot easier to digest, moving blending genres throughout Kind Heaven is an album that constantly surprises but unless you've been on this ride with Farrell then you may get a little lost on this spiritual journey. 7/10

Freternia: The Gathering (Rock Of Angels Records) [Matt]

The third album from Swedish power metal band Freternia is their first since 2002 so you could definitely call it a comeback, apparently in 2003 the band dissolved, after numerous tours with Hammerfall and Nocturnal Rites, but never really broke up. After a drunken session the members came back together as a band again, probably due to the modern love of muscular Swedish power metal and their apparent popularity in South America discovered through social media. I mentioned muscular power metal because that of course is what Freternia do, this is fantasy influenced power metal with some nods to both real life and personal tragedy. From Eye The Shadow Of Your Sins which has the massive Hellchoir on the choruses and rampaging drums to the more melodic End Of The Line Freternia ease back into their musical groove effortlessly, changing very little since the early 2000's but it still sounds fresh perhaps due to their absence. This is a return to glory for Freternia as Reborn shows with it's 100mph gallop opening the record with a headbanger straight out of the gates. Musically this is very riff based with synths bouncing off the guitar fireworks and orchestral swathes coming through. The Gathering is a admirable power metal album, it's great to hear a band who had ceased to be 17 years coming back with such vitality, welcome back Freternia! 7/10

Footprints In Custard: A New Low (Self Released) [Matt]

It's parody metal, you know what's coming on A New Low, 13 songs of utterly stupid metal songs full of juvenile humour and song titles that would make Chubby Brown blush. Unlike Raised By Owls or even Evil Scarecrow, Footprints In Custard take a more straightforward thrash/punk metal sound rather than grindcore of black metal, though vocally it's just roars, lyrically there's no mention of witches or indeed robots (perhaps some crabs). There is however some battle metal ponies on Ride, My Little Pony, Ride! and more violence promised on Tequila Nips. In fact alcohol is a major factor in this bands lyrical content though the pain of the next day are witnessed on Motherfucking Hangover. Musically Footprints In Custard are actually very skilled musicians (shock horror), you could easily hear this style on any number of 'proper' bands so though they are a parody band they can play very well. (I know some of you are rolling your eyes, but I mean it). The tongue in cheek and sometimes even crass lyrics, My Granny's Gusher is probably the worst offender, are often Pythonesque meaning that they are far removed from the innate sexism of Steel Panther as this is so left field that it's offensive to everyone especially a certain orange president (Space ForceDon't Be A Cunt). Basically if you like Municipal Waste but with fewer zombies and a tongue planted so firmly in their cheek they'll get and ulcer, then I suggest you get A New Low and embrace the idiotic! 7/10

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