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Motivik “Renouncement” Album Review by Curtis J. Dupree

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Melodic thrash/metal band Motivik made a bit of a splash back when they released Death of the Gunman in 2020. Their blend of melodic hooks and thrash metal gives them a unique sound and keeps their songs compelling. Now they are back and have unleashed Renouncement upon us. So how does it hold up to Death of the Gunman? The answer is that it holds up quite well, and in many ways even surpasses its predecessor.

Production is strong, with every instrument receiving appropriate sonic space. The songwriting is dynamic and compelling, as Motivik blends melodic hooks with raging thrash in a smoother manner than on Death of the Gunman, where the juxtaposition could occasionally feel slightly awkward—although that was still a very good album.

The lyrics here are more upfront than most of those on the previous album. Credit must go to the musicians themselves, as Ryan Roebuck (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards) and Alex Emidio (drums) play with profound power and precision. Courtney Simmons’ vocals are consistently excellent. One must also note the great lineup of guest musicians and vocalists: Jason WeaverChris AckermannJason WisdomGreg MinierAndré Chiang, and Derek Corzine.

Things get started with a moody, appealing instrumental called “Palace of Ashes.” This piece works well as the introduction to the album.

A brutal riff overtop blasts kicks off “Dethroned” before a killer thrash riff comes in. The brief quiet interlude reminds me of Tourniquet—always a good comparison in my book. The vocals are powerfully shouted, but intelligible. The more melodic chorus is hooky and memorable. The solo shreds, as well.
A positively killer cover of “Renouncement” by the great and underrated Betrayal follows. This is a great song and a great cover. It’s also great hearing Betrayal’s own Chris Ackermann contributing vocals here. This collaboration reminds me of when Motivik joined with Robert Wolfe to cover Sacrament’s “Souls in Torment” on Death of the Gunman.

One of the most immediately likable tracks follows with “Break the Walls.” If the last two tracks showed Motivik at their most aggressive, this track shows them at their most melodic, despite the presence of Becoming the Archetype’s Jason Wisdom on additional vocals. The chorus is exceptionally catchy, but there are also some quality riffs here.

Septicemia” begins with a haunting acoustic guitar passage before building into a dark and heavy piece. The riffs here are exceptional and the verses are delivered in a compelling manner. The chorus should have any thrash fan shouting along and the solo at the end is a face-melter.
A slow beginning kicks off “This Man I Am.” Once the song kicks into full gear we are treated to vicious riffing and powerful vocals. The slower vocal parts of this song remind me a lot of Death of the Gunman. Some of the riffs in the bridge are quite heavy, being slow and crushing.

A classic thrash riff drives “Harbinger of Demise.” The shouted vocals hit hard and I appreciate the melodic leads throughout. The chorus soars melodically without losing the oomph of the riffs. Another ripping solo highlights this track.

Final Hour” begins with a lovely, haunting guitar intro. The vocals here are strong and feature an appealing melody. The guitar work is exceptional throughout, with Greg Minier contributing an excellent solo.

The intensity picks back up with “Lord of Death.” The riffs here slam into the listener. The vocals are quite aggressive, with Jason Weaver contributing. The chorus is strong and sports a galloping riff. The hip-hop cadence on part of the verses is probably not my favorite part of the album, but it’s not terribly distracting.

The Storm Within” is vicious and thrashy. The hooks on this song are not as strong as on some others—with the exception of an excellent bridge—but the track works quite well as a thrashy number, and the riffs are appealing.

Thrash is the name of the game on “The Head Collector.” Easily one of the album’s highlights, this song exemplifies Motivik’s compelling blend of thrash and melody.

The strong riffing continues with “Dead by Daylight.” Another catchy chorus highlights this track. André Chiang’sstrong vocals and Derek Corzine’s ripping guitar work are featured here, as well.
Once Again” ebbs and flows nicely. We have a lovely piano intro with strong vocals before the riffing kicks in. The chorus is strong, with an appropriately epic feel. We also hear another tremendous solo. In short, this song is the perfect finale to the album.

I am very impressed with Renouncement. It takes everything I enjoyed about Death of the Gunman and improves upon it, while also increasing the intensity a few notches. Any metal fan should give this album a spin as it cements Motivik as one of the most compelling thrash bands going today.

Curtis‘ rating: 9 / 10

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“Renouncement” Track Listing:1. Place Of Ashes
2. Dethroned
3. Renouncement
4. Break The Walls
5. Septicemia
6. This Man I Am
7. Harbinger Of Demise
8. Final Hour
9. Lord Of Death
10. The Storm Within
11. The Head Collector
12. Dead By Daylight
13. Once Again 

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