REVIEW: MOTOGRATER Do Not Disappoint With ‘Desolation’

As a writer, it’s a bit of an exciting game of “What will they do next?” when it comes to bands releasing new material.  Some bands change their sound, some bands change their look, and then there are bands that invent instruments.  Okay, maybe that last one is a little less frequent than the others, but it does happen and in 1995, Motograter became one of those bands.

The motograter was constructed in 1995 by founding member Bruce “Grater” Butler, and was composed of industrial wire, guitar parts, and metal sprockets that produced a low bass-like sound.  When asked about the instrument, current front man Michael “Angel” Woodruff stated:

“[Butler] invented it in ’95,” states Woodruff. “Basically, the best way to explain it is as machine-shopped-style made instrument with sprockets used as high pitched cymbals, a machete and industrial-strength cables. It’s basically two octaves lower than a bass. It’s low. It’s gritty. It’s dirty. You definitely can tell a difference between the bass and the moto. We have both now.”

The band quickly became familiar in the eyes of metal fans everywhere with the release of their first EP ‘Hugh Chardon’ in 1998, and their follow-up EP ‘Indy’ in 2000, which eventually led to them signing with No Name/Elektra Records in 2002.  Original vocalist Zak “The Waz” Ward departed the band only to rejoin in early 2003 handling electronics/sampling and back-up vocals for his replacement, Ivan “Ghost” Moody (Five Finger Death Punch, Ghost Machine).  In partnership with No Name/Elektra, Motograter released their first full-length album, ‘Motograter’, in 2003.  After years of touring, line-up changes, and differences within the band, Motograter announced an indefinite hiatus in 2005. Since then, Motograter have seen several lineup changes, but have returned to the studio and are ready to unveil their sophomore major label release, ‘Desolation’, which drops August 11, 2017 courtesy of EMP Label Group.

Aside from releasing three EP’s (1998’s ‘Hugh Chardon’, 2000’s ‘Indy’, and 2009’s ‘Pre-Release’) ‘Desolation’ will be the band’s first full-length album since their 2003 self-titled release.  The album is packed with guttural growls that drive gut-pounding breakdowns paired with mesmerizing vocals over rhythmic anthems.  ‘Desolation’ offers hard-hitting, fist-through-the-wall jams that still manage to maintain enough melody to have you singing along by the end of the track.

‘Desolation’ kicks off with “Parasite”, a fast-paced arrangement driven by a steady double bass and accented with technical, yet tasteful, drum fills.  The motograter is prominent in this song and blends well with raw distorted guitars.  Take all that, and throw in some hateful lyrics like “You are a plague all consuming/Darkness hiding deep within your heart/Your tainted touch is pestilence/This is the addiction that tears you apart”, and you have a great album introduction.

The second track, “Dorian”, is my personal favorite on the album.  It storms out of the gate with intense, but melodic lead guitar that softens the overall feel, but still keeps the song well within the standards of a hard rock masterpiece.  The repetition of the song’s hook, “I will fade away, become nothing/A ghost of who I used to be” is a perfect example of singing along by the end of the song, as mentioned earlier.  Much like “Dorian”, the third track on the album, “Victim”, begins with pounding drums and a powerful rhythm section that support singer James Legion’s soothing tone.  This song comes well equipped with a whirlwind guitar solo, preceded by a gut-busting breakdown, because let’s be honest – who doesn’t love a good breakdown?

Jumping to the eighth track on the album, “Portrait of Decay” really pays homage to the band’s nu-metal roots by uniting the diction, content, and vibe of the nu-metal era to completely revive Motograter‘s early beginnings.  The simplified (as compared to other songs on the album) main guitar riff and the double-bass pattern that supports it really brings the song to life.  Lyrics include: “Under the weight of the crashing waves/There is no hope, it’s all been washed away/So beaten down and so thrown away/I am broken, a portrait of decay.”  The last track on ‘Desolation’, “Shadows”, is a little less aggressive than other contributions on this album.  It delivers a somber tone that pairs well with the melodic overall feel of the song.  It serves as the album’s closer and does a great job of wrapping up ‘Desolation’ as a whole.

All in all, Motograter have done an outstanding job with ‘Desolation’, and although each track wasn’t mentioned individually, it’s not because they’re not worthy of mention.  You’ll see what I mean after hearing “Misanthropical”, “Daggers”, and “Paragon” – every track is just as good as the others. I highly suggest you pick up a copy and enjoy it for yourself, as I can almost guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Motograter are set to hit the road in September in support of ‘Desolation’ so be sure to catch them in a city near you!*

9/27 San Diego CA Brick By Brick

9/28 Tempe AZ Club Red

9/29 Farmington NM Top Deck

9/30 El Paso TX Rock House

10/1 Odessa TX Far West Event Center

10/2 Lubbock TX Backstage

10/3 Dallas TX The Rail Club

10/4 Austin TX Grizzly Hall

10/5 Corpus Christi TX House of Rock

10/6 Lake Charles LA The Centerstage

10/7 Houston TX BFE

10/8 New Orleans LA Southport Music Hall

10/9 Marietta GA Swayze’s

10/10 Panama City FL The Dungeon Tavern

10/11 Tampa FL The Orpheum

10/12 Margate FL O’Malley’s

10/13 Winter Park FL The Haven

10/14 Jacksonville FL Nighthawks

10/15 Fayetteville NC The Drunk Horse

10/16 Spartanburg SC Ground Zero

10/17 Murfeesboro NC Zakk’s Coffeehouse

10/18 Sevierville TN Club 1341

10/19 Richmond VA Canal Club

10/20 Halthorpe MD Fish Head Cantina

10/21 Clifton NJ Dingbatz

10/23 Amityville NY Amityville Music Hall

10/24 Providence RI Firehouse 13

10/25 Reading PA Reverb

10/26 Buffalo NY Mohawk Place

10/27 Heath OH Muddy Creek Saloon

10/28 Camp Hill PA The Underground

10/29 Lansing MI The Loft

10/30 Louisville KY Trixie’s Entertainment Complex

10/31 Toledo OH Frankie’s

11/1 Westland MI The Token Lounge

11/2 Battle Creek MI The Music Factory

11/3 Racine WI Route 20

11/4 Braidwood IL Top Fuel Saloon

11/5 St Louis MO Firebird

11/6 Valparaiso IN Big Shots

11/9 Ringle WI Q&Z Expo Center

11/10 Omaha NE The Drinkery

11/11 Merriam KS Aftershock

11/12 Denver CO Herman’s Hideaway

11/15 Las Vegas NV Beauty Bar

11/16 West Hollywood CA The Viper Room

11/17 Pomona CA Characters

11/18 Santa Ana CA Malone’s


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