It has been over fourteen years since MOTOGRATER has released a full length album. A torrent of several roster changes have plagued the band for years, not the least of which was the exit of Ivan Moody, who went on to sing for Five Finger Death Punch. In-fighting caused most of the band to leave in 2012, and forming the short- lived band RIVEN, fronted by Michael “Angel” Woodruff.
It seems, though, that the band has finally gotten their act together, with their current lineup, which, oddly enough, includes a bass player named Mylon. The reason this is odd is because in the former lineup, the low end was laid down solely by the “motograter,” an instrument of the band’s creation. Now they have not only the grater, but Mylon on bass backing it up. You wouldn’t think that this kind of overlap would work and, truth be told, when I saw them live two years ago (you can see photos here), I honestly thought there was going to be just this weird double layered chorus of low end simple from both players being within microbeats of each other but not in perfect time.
I was pleasantly surprised in both their live performance and the new album, Desolation! What you’re going to have to get around, right off the bat, is that this is NOT the Motograter you may remember. Fourteen years and a completely new identity have seen to that. This is not the old Motograter, but it IS a good Motograter.
The album was produced by Ill Niño’s Ahrue Luster and mixed by Josh Wickman, and the payoff is noticeable. The overall sound is very clean, though, I have to admit, I miss the torrid low end of the first album. That said, it sounds really good!
They’ve gone for more of a deathcore sound on Desolation. Legion just has a much different voice than Angel or Ivan Moody, but that’s a very good thing. The instant result is that it sets this album apart from the others and immediately sets the stage for an entirely different machine. Legion’s vocals has these insane low end growls, and his singing voice has a weird dryness about it that seems almost mechanical. I really dig it. If I had to compare it to anyone, I think I’d go with Rob Flynn from Machinehead – but with a lot more creepiness.
The album’s third track, “Victim”, is a clear example of the bands new direction. It retains the bands signature tribal feel while bringing Legion’s vocals to bear in identifying them as a band that can hold its own with today’s metal bands. Another track, “Bleeding Through”, stuck out to me, because it starts off sounding like – no shit – “Message In A Bottle” by The Police. I really dig that.
What struck me about Desolation is the inclusion of guitar solos and leads. It was sort of a mind fuck to get my head around, because Motograter is well known for their nu metal grooves. And while Desolation certainly has that, guitar soloing is just weird to get used to. The good news is that they don’t suck at it! None of the solos seem forced or shoehorned into the songs. Like I said, this is all part and parcel of setting this new Motograter apart from the old.
I really have to hand it to these guys, they’ve managed to make a new album after fourteen years that sounds as if they’re not trying to make a comeback, but have been around and have just honed their style to adapt to the times. It’ll be interesting to see if they can hang with the new roster. They start touring on the album this fall, and I’ll definitely be in attendance!
Desolation is better than a lot of metal out there, and I think it’s safe to say that it’s because they worked so long to really get it together. Given what bands from the early 2000’s are doing these days, this is a refreshing change. Disturbed could take some notes on it, that’s for sure.
Desolation drops August 11th, 2017. Pick it up. For now, you can watch the lyric vid for the song Parasite here.
FFO: Devil Driver, Kissing Candace, Chimaira
Genre: Deathcore / Nu Metal
James Legion – Vocals
Matthew “Nuke” Nunes – Guitar
Jesse Stamper – Guitar
Mylon Guy – Bass
Noah “Shark” Robertson – Drums
Dustin “Skunk” Anderson – Motograter
5. Bleeding Through
8. Portrait of Decay
10. Rise (There Will Be Blood)
Bloodrock Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0 axes
Written by Hobbes Caltous for Bloodrock Media on July 22, 2017
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