In This Moment – Ritual
Released: July 21st, 2017
In This Moment Line up:
Maria Brink – Vocals
Chris Howorth – Guitar , backing vocals
Travis Johnson – Bass, backing vocals
Randy Weitzel – Guitar, backing vocals
Kent Diimmel – drums
Some bands age like a fine wine, every subsequent album builds on the momentum of the last one and propels them higher and higher to the inevitable glass ceiling of heavy metal. Some bands however, peak rather early in their career and get progressively worse as they roll into the inevitable spectre of time.
So where does former metalcore superstars, now turned hard rock/industrial act In This Moment fall with their sixth release Ritual?
Beginning with the foreboding tones of ‘Salvation’ you would be forgiven for believing this album was going to go anywhere but into the kitchen sink of disappointments that is officially 2017. The momentary ominous tones give way to ‘Oh Lord’ an industrial-tinged take on The Pretty Reckless except with fingernails running down a chalkboard vocals as Maria Brink becomes harder to understand than Christian Bale’s take on Batman.
It doesn’t improve from there as ‘Black Wedding’ utilises the iconic chorus from Billy Idol‘s ‘White Wedding’ but with a twist as they switch things up by singing “It’s a nice night for a black wedding” (I know, very original). Alongside this, the song features an appearance from the metal god Rob Halford himself who is mostly wasted as his vocals are lost in a sea of electronics and disappointment.
But wait, there’s more!
Not to be outdone, the band have created a very questionable cover of Phil Collins’ ‘In The Air Tonight’ that plays like a straight carbon copy of the original but with cringeworthy auto-tuned vocals. Something tells me it’s maybe an attempt to chase the same cash cow as Disturbed‘s ‘The Sound of Silence’. But overall it’s an ill-conceived cover which fails on every single level.
That’s not to say the album is completely unworthy of a purchase. The album itself forgoes the use of sexual innuendos that made their previous album Black Widow such an unlistenable experience and you would be hard pressed to find any song on here that’s as vomit inducing as the woeful ‘Sex Metal Barbie’
Songs such as ‘Joan of Arc’ and ‘The Witching Hour’ are at least decent slabs of pop metal – the former a rollicking, fist pumping anthem with a chorus that will be stuck in your head long after the final notes are over and the latter being the kind of electronic song you wouldn’t turn off if you were three parts into a Jack Daniels and Coke.
But the positives of this album are far outweighed by the negatives – most obvious of these being the vocals from Maria Brink which are at times outright indecipherable and I would go as far to say are capable of producing headaches in certain situations. Alongside this the production is sloppy; featuring an unnecessarily slather of electronics over everything.
Overall, I would say if you’re already a fan. This album is probably for you.
But to those wondering if this is the time to join the In This Moment bandwagon, it’s best to just buy the great former album A Star-Crossed Wasteland and remember who this band used to be. Because the band they are now is well on their way to becoming nothing more than a pop music vehicle with a slightly heavier tinge.
In This Moment – Ritual track listing:
02. Oh Lord
03. Black Wedding (feat. Rob Halford)
04. In The Air Tonight
05. Joan of Arc
06. River of Fire
07. Witching Hour
08. Twin Flames
09. Half God Half Devil
10. No Me Importa
12. Lay Your Gun Down