Motograter – “Desolation” CD Review
By Susan Dusse
“Desolation,” Motograter’s first album since 2003 will be out August 11, 2017, via EMP Label Group. With a pretty impressive roster making up the group effort, the expectations for this album are high. Motograter put together a dream team for the production: produced by - Ahrue Luster (Ill Nino/Ex-Machine Head), mixed by - Joshua Wickman (Within the Ruins), engineered by - the aforementioned and John Berrier, recorded by - Illustrious Productions, Dreadcore Productions, and Black Plate Productions, and artwork by - Sam Shearon (Kiss, Godhead, Ministry, Rob Zombie, Iron Maiden, Powerman 5000, Biohazard, American Head Charge, Rammstein, Fear Factory and Kill Devil Hill). The creative force is strong with this one.
Fourteen years and three singers since 2003’s self-titled album, “Desolation,” is a solid release. It’s not absolutely groundbreaking, but it certainly isn’t generic.
The album is united, strong, groove-driven, and modern. It is cohesive, with audible influence of the likes of Parasite, Inc., Destinity, Buried in Verona, Nothingface, and Slipknot. The men of Motograter are obviously fans of music, and when there is a varied influence, it really means they have turned components of what they like into their own sound. Something I think every band strives to do, but Motograter did it.
Track one - “Parasite,” This song totally rocks. It has pretty harmonies as it pummels you throughout. It teases you with a catchy chorus and sets good expectations for the rest of the album.
Track two - “Darian,” is very hard-hitting from the onset. It features classic right and left pans, superb drumming, and a great chorus. It’s a good modern, radio-friendly song that is heavy, melodic, and catchy.
Track three - “Victim,” sounds like a beefier Nothingface. Its composition is great, the groove is fantastic, but there was a missed opportunity to make the chorus giant and engulfing. This song borders on being epic. It is the first time we hear a nice proper guitar lead.
Track four - “Paragon,” is my third favorite track on the release. It has interesting modern vocal effects, an amazing groove, ridiculously good drumming, great bass lines by Mylon, and another catchy chorus. I’d say this is the most leading-edge song on the album. I kind of wish there were no clean vocals on this song, however.
Track five - “Bleeding Through,” I understand bands have a need for ballads, but I found “Bleeding Through” to be a bit boring in comparison to the rest of the tracks; simply by virtue of it being a ballad. James Legion’s voice is great, however.
Track six - “Misanthropical,” is an interesting, slipknotesque, song. The dirty vocals rule, but the clean vocals felt a bit forced. I wish this song was more aggressive in both the music and the vocals. KoRn is going to wish they wrote this song.
Track seven - “Daggers,” is mature, dark, and heavy. The chorus has the feel of elements of Dark Tranquility; a bit of that ambiance. This song is fully-developed, the harmonies are beautiful, and the song feels like it was written by non-humans…like they got inspiration from places not of this world, like more creative than humans are supposed to be.
Track eight - “Portrait of Decay,” This is my second favorite track on this release. Serrating riffs, beautiful harmonies, and more dirty than clean vocals; the perfect combination. Legion’s voice morphs multiple times in this song, and you understand why he was the choice to front Motogrator.
Track nine - “Locust,” The buildup at the start of this song is awesome. Another rich, sophisticated song that is by far my favorite track on the release; it is perfection.
Track ten - “Rise (There Will Be Blood),” Another great modern and sophisticated song, complete with all of the elements necessary to make it a hit. Listen to it with headphones to fully enjoy it. Another great example of James’ vocal talent and guitar work by Nuke and Stamper.
Track eleven - “Shadows,” I wish they hadn’t ended on this slower note. It’s pretty, but the pace of the album drops off significantly here, and I think it would have been better served like at track eight. After “Rise,” I wanted to keep going at the pace I was at with “Rise,” but likely intentional the pace ended with “Shadows,” as does the release.
Categorized as Nu-metal, Motograter has many elements of metalcore, but toned down a bit. Let’s call it Nu-metal metalcore light, or better yet, let’s just call it metal.
The release is very nicely recorded, well-constructed, magically played, but has a few missed opportunities for full epic-ness and brilliance. This is a release that I will buy and keep in my collection. I give strong applause for a really great job as a second full release, and an outstanding job after a 14-year wait. Obviously Motograter took some time to figure out who they were and where they want to go with their music. It’s heavy, it’s modern, it’s melodic, and it showcases the talented men in Motograter.
It does teeter a bit on the fence regarding if it is a heavy album or a modern album. For me, the vocals are what would tip that balance. I’d love it if Motograter’s next release was more growly vocals than clean, and push the pendulum to the heavy side…but alas, I’m a bigger fan of Death Metal than Nu Metal, so take that with a grain of salt. While parts are a bit repetitive, fans of Motograter will no doubt revel in this new release. Success will come for Motograter with “Desolation,” and new fans will definitely be acquired.
Pre-order at: www.empmerch.com
5. Bleeding Through
8. Portrait of Decay
10. Rise (There Will Be Blood)
James Legion – Vocals
Matthew "Nuke" Nunes – Guitar
Jesse Stamper – Guitar
Mylon Guy – Bass
Noah "Shark" Robertson – Drums
Dustin "Skunk" Anderson – Motograter