Before they head back out on the road, Motionless In White treated us to one last nightmare.
There are so many things that Motionless In White would never have anticipated 2020 representing for them.
They would never have thought they would be celebrating the tenth anniversary of their debut album ‘Creatures’ from the confines of a studio rather than with their fans, the people they love the most. They would never have thought that their musical output for the year would be made up of two cinematic reworks, one synthwave remix and a The Killers cover. And they would never have believed that as the clouds began to part and hope for touring started to be restored, they would see this period of uncertainty and confusion out with a bang quite like this.
But all of that did happen. And all of it has helped them to become the beast that stands before us today.
You can find Pennhurst Asylum in the heart of Spring City, a borough of Chester County, Pennsylvania and a two-hour drive from MIW’s hometown of Scranton. A building with a dark and distressing past, it is also said to be one of the most haunted spots in the whole state. From reports of figures peeking out from the darkness and voices echoing through the halls through to hands being felt on shoulders, it’s not for the faint-hearted. Yet it’s also the sort of environment the band have dreamt of playing, and it’s the perfect place for them to do what they do best before being let loose into the world again.
As they kick off with the punishing ‘Disguise’ before delving into the devilish ‘Reincarnate’, it’s clear that they aren’t here to mess about. Set against the backdrop of beautifully sculpted stone angels, shadow-filled windows and creaking lanterns, the band’s corrosive blend of throbbing metalcore cuts through the eerie silence like a knife through thick fog. The sense of the occasion is not lost on the band either, and at every moment, Chris Motionless lets the people watching know how much they appreciate the love and support they have received over this strange time that has allowed them to put on a show like this. This sentiment is then personified by a stirring performance of ‘</c0de>’, where we are reminded, much like later on when the monolithic ‘Voices’ is dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community, that no matter who you are or where you come from, this band will always be a home for you.
Because ‘Creatures’ had its time in the spotlight back in October, tonight is a chance for the rest of the band’s discography to shine, and the full spectrum of the Motionless In White anatomy is prodded and poked with glee. There’s the stalking ‘Contemptress’, with a special mention to In This Moment’s Maria Brink who can’t be here to deliver her contribution, and the furious ‘Soft’ that sounds utterly evil when delivered on this supernatural stage. When standing toe-to-toe with the likes of the sneering ‘Thoughts And Prayers’ and caustic ‘Headache’, you can see just how far the band have travelled in the last few years to refine the savagery of their sound. It also shows just how much harder and harsher than everybody else they have been along the way.
There’s also the chance for the aforementioned The Killers cover, the iconic ‘Somebody Told Me’, to get its full live debut. And much like how they do with their output, the band delivers it with the sort of vigour and viciousness that leaves the mouth watering for when you can experience it in the flesh. There are more surprises on the way, too, with the first playthrough of the crippling ‘Sinematic’ in five years alongside a ravaging appearance of ‘Infamous’ opener ‘Black Damask’. Rounding things off with the romantically depleted ‘Another Life’ and darkly sensual ‘Eternally Yours’, the spectacle is over just like that.
On the one hand, this was a breathless and bludgeoning display that celebrated Motionless In White’s past, present, and future. On the other, it was a career milestone from a band that has never allowed themselves to slow down or give up. To put on a show that was equal parts heavy, haunting and harrowing on a scale is not just an incredible feat of perseverance and passion but it also further cements the capabilities of MIW in their pursuit of world domination. Near enough 15 years into their journey and with endless possibilities standing before them, this deadstream was the perfect taster for whatever the next chapter of Motionless In White is set to be.
Will you join us?