Motivik – “Renouncement”


Melodic groove thrashers Motivik from Atlanta, Georgia are at it again with their sophomore album, “Renouncement.” Similar to their last foray, they have brought along quite a few friends for the ride, demonstrating this community of quality Christian musicians lending a voice or an axe to each other’s projects. The result is a high quality thrash album in the vein of the old-school masters with some quality melodic hooks.

Motivik apparently was previously Unorthodox in the 90s and formed by Ryan Roebuck (Ritual Servant), Courtney Simmons and Jason Weaver. They played old school thrash and cut a demo that didn’t go anywhere until just now alongside the release of “Renouncement.” The band went into hibernation until it got resurrected as Motivik with Ryan and Courtney as the two official members with Jason Weaver providing support in background vocals. With the help of some friends, they released the western-themed “Death of the Gunman” album in 2020 which showed great promise for Motivik’s future. Hinting at this release for almost a year, that next step is here with “Renouncement.”

I liked it after one spin. “Renouncement” showcases how to take old-school thrash metal roots and add in melody to hook the listener. The riffs are high quality, reminding me of Megadeth and Tourniquet and setting the right attitude for the songs. Although Ryan is also the lead guitarist for Ritual Servant, he doesn’t make the music all about the guitar, giving some quite choice windows for bass work or keyboards to shine. Courtney’s vocals do a great job of keeping interest high by employing both traditional thrash as well as some infectious choruses that will stick in the listener’s head for days. The lyrics are unashamed in the band’s hope in Jesus.

The album starts with a short melancholic opener before launching into “Dethroned” with its pummeling drums and technical riffs. The chorus gives the first taste of melody in the chorus, but they don’t linger. The title track is oddly enough a cover of the 90s thrash band Betrayal. Motivik’s version gives a modern polish to the song with varied vocals, retaining much of the original attitude and grit in the guitar work.

“Break the Walls” is the first banger on the album with a very catchy chorus and showcasing some great bass work. I particularly like Jason Wisdom’s (Becoming the Archetype) barking in the bridge with the off-kilter rhythms underneath. The one drawback is the introduction of a cool melodic guitar riff only to fade out, making it feel unfinished.

“Septicemia” is another old-school thrasher taken from their early days as Unorthodox that has a hint of older Megadeth. The term Septicemia means blood poisoning and refers to the figurative poisoning of blood through the ways of the world. “This Man I Am” follows form of “Break the Walls” with melodic chorus and a rap/hardcore bridge, but also ends with a fade out that left the song unresolved.

“Final Hour” is the only song on the album resembling a ballad. There is a distinct country western feel with a slight twang in the vocals and clean acoustic guitar. There are heavy guitars that come in, which on its own might make it southern metal, but here it stands as a ballad. Like many of the songs on here, it is a story. The song tells the story of Jesus’ final moments and His sacrifice for us all. There is some nice Spanish guitar work and keyboard work adding to the atmosphere, making the track a nice break in the midst of the thrashy goodness.

The next couple of songs play off their strengths in the first two-thirds of the album with some great riffs and melodic choruses, but don’t rise above the fray. “Head Collector” is another banger of a song that sadly leaves me wanting just a bit more with the ending, however the closer, “Once Again,” does not make that mistake. It starts with piano and melodic vocals that land into a mid-tempo thrash riff. The chorus makes great use of background vocals to add harmony and is a perfect length. The instrumental break morphs beautifully into the last chorus that fades into a piano outro with vocals. The ending is a dramatic finish for Motivik’s second release.

There is not much for me to complain about. Besides the frayed edges of endings to songs, which I have found to be a personal pet peeve, I thought they could have repeated the choruses in some of the songs because the melody sounds so good. I know it is dicey balancing repetition with saturation, but I felt it could have nudged a bit more on repetition. All in all, this is really minor compared to the robust buffet of thrash metal riffage throughout. I see this one spinning more in my future and definitely a contender in my top 10 this year. You owe it to yourself to check this release out!

Rating: 9.0/10

Written by Sean Bailey

1 – Palace of Ashes
2 – Dethroned
3 – Renouncement
4 – Break the Walls (feat. Jason Wisdom)
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

Motivik is:
Courtney Simmons – lead vocals and BGVs
Ryan Roebuck – vocals, BGVs, lead and rhythm guitars, bass, piano and organ
Alex Emidio – session drummer

Jason Weaver – lead vocals on “Lord of Death” and BGVs
Chris Ackerman – additional vocals on “Renouncement”
Jason Wisdom – additional vocals on “Break the Walls”
Andre Chiang – additional vocals on “Dead By Daylight”
Greg Minier – lead guitar on “Final Hour”
Derek Corzine – lead guitar on “Dead By Daylight”

Release Date: July 1, 2024

Record Label: Roxx Records

Death of a Gunman (2020) [review]
Renouncement (2024)

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Video for ‘Head Collector’

Lyric Video for ‘Break The Walls’

Lyric Video for ‘This Man I Am’

Lyric Video for ‘Harbringer of Demise’

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