In This Moment – Blood – CD Review

In This Moment – Blood

(Century Media Records)

Release Date:  August 14, 2012

In This Moment is no newbie to the metal scene.  This quintet from Los Angeles, California has been around since 2005.  For the originals, singer Maria Brink, and lead guitarist Chris Howorth, this band has been a work in progress for seven years now.  With a large line-up change in the past year or so, In This Moment releases its fourth album, Blood, with some new blood of its own.  With Blake Bunzel and Jeff Fabb moving on to Idol pastures, guitarist Randy Weitzel and drummer Tom Hane join the fray. Longtime friend and bassist Travis Johnson returns along with the founding duo. The band once again tapped producer Kevin Churko (Ozzy Osbourne, Slash, Five Finger Death Punch) to helm the project.

Blood kicks off with “Rise With Me,” an intro, mostly instrumental track with a very fantasy feel to it.  Low, soft drums, a keyboard and synthesizer sound, and a twinkling noise seem to float around in your eardrums.  It’s as if Maria and the boys are trying to lure you into the album and it works.

“Blood” takes In This Moment to new directions with elements of electronica and even some industrial influences.   This song starts with Maria’s low, almost grunting “I hate you for the sacrifices you made for me.  I hate you for every time you ever bled for me.  I hate you for the way you smile when you look at me.  I hate you for never taking control of me.”  Howorth offers powerful riffs periodically strewn throughout the verses with Weitzel playing the heavy rhythm.  Hane keeps the beat by pounding on the skins along with Johnson who may be in the background, but who is also just as key a player as anyone.  When the chorus kicks in, you can’t help but bang your head to this track as the power of the band doesn’t let up until the ending of the chorus for the next verse with almost a whiplash effect.  The bridge of this song starts off with Hane’s toms and continues with a great solo by Howorth, who makes the guitar bleed melodious yet powerful notes.  Brink finishes off with a whispered “I hate you for every time you ever bled for me.”

“Blood” Music Video:

Crashing cymbals and roaring guitars lead into “Adrenalize.”  The pounding of the instruments and Maria’s “Adrenalize me” jump start your heart like a rocking metal defibrillator.  The dropped tuning of the instruments reverberate through your speakers and create an excitement in you that is unique only to rock music.  Once Brink comes in, the instruments take brief pauses, almost like your heart stopping from an In This Moment overload.  The sexually explicit lyrics begin with this song and “I can’t deny, I’d die without this, make me feel like a God, music, love, and sex,” in the chorus.  Although this particular part is toned down a bit, this isn’t a CD for the young or prude.  This song doesn’t offer much variation in the rhythm from the band, which is a bit disappointing as the track begins with great potential to be a heavy-hitter all around.

Another highly sexual song comes in the form of “Whore.”  This track is pretty self-explanatory… it’s about the life of a whore; easy enough (no pun intended).  Brink growls about the harsh realities that a call-girl has to face and how ironic it is that the person she seems to be singing this song to ends up needing her for more than just the sex.  The boys add a bit to this song by screaming “Whore!” in intervals during the chorus and Howorth adds some backing vocals in the verses as well, to emphasize that there is a male “client” she is singing to.  For a band that has been infamous for portraying a sort of “Tampon Rock” image, this song certainly doesn’t help dissolve it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t catchy and a good tune.

“You’re Gonna Listen” to track number five and not find anything special about it, unfortunately.  Quick, upbeat guitar riffs and rapid cymbals accompany Brinks repeated screams of “Shut up, shut up, shut up!” that all sort of blend together and seem a bit too repetitive.  This is another track where the rhythm doesn’t really differ much.  Howorth’s solo shows a gleam of hope and change in this song (wouldn’t Obama be proud?), but that’s where it ends, though the solo is pretty impressive.  It’s a shame the rest of the song can’t follow suit.  This has the potential to be a simple, short track where less could mean more, but it falls too short.

It’s time for a brief intermission with the thirty second “It Is Written.”  The opening line is “Music fucks me” delivered in a whisper by Brink with howling wind in the background to create a creepy, haunting mood for this brief track that actually has no instruments.  The only noises you hear are Maria’s whispers and the chilling wind that blows from one ear to the other.  These thirty seconds comes to a close with “I am a slave for music, fuck me now.”  So much for avoiding that Tampon Rock image…

“Scarlet” is one of the softer songs on the album, but those familiar with Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter will be able to detect the theme in this song stemming from the romantic fiction novel.  It’s clear when listening to Brink’s words that it’s about an affair that both parties know will never work out, yet they continue on with it and keep it a secret.  The slow, acoustic sounding guitar in the beginning is very different from anything else we’ve heard on the album so far, showing a different side to this metal band.  Even when the drums come in, the song is still soft and keeps with the forbidden love theme.  About halfway through the song, with “they can never know just what we’ve done” being screamed by Maria, the band cranks it up to eleven.  Howorth roars in with a solo along with Brink and, as the two battle for the lead in this part of the song, it is just like the two people involved in the affair trying to vie for the other’s full love and attention.  As the song fades out, it leaves the listener wondering whatever happened to the lovers.

“Beast Within” is one of the strongest on the album, bringing the listener into the music.  Keyboard begins this song and when Brink sets the tone for this track, it’s easy to see this is about an In This Moment concert.  The short, quick guitar riffs, cymbals, and snare all come together to build the rhythm and the beat for the crowd to move and sway to.  This song is all about developing energy in the audience as the performing band and making the listeners follow your every command while onstage.  As Brink “step[s] up to [her] throne,” the body of the crowd is swaying, sweating, and losing their minds to In This Moment, just as it should be.  She urges the crowd on, asking “don’t you wanna turn your beauty into the beast?”  The guitar solo near the end of the song serves to further excite the crowd and captures the true power of the rock show.

The “Comanche” Indians were known for the wars they waged against the Texans for some 30+ years.  In This Moment pays tribute to them in song twelve that’s all about the “war cry.”  This track starts with Hane playing in a marching pattern while Johnson dances along the bass strings with alternating muting and open notes.  Brink starts off with a low growling that leads into screaming when the song runs head first into the frontlines of battle.  Howorth and Weitzel join in on the fight and the whole band is in full swing.  Brink beckons “Come on, get up, let me hear your war cry!” and Howorth adds a “Let me hear your war cry!” echo and it’s time to melt some faces.  When the lyrics are juxtaposed against the Native American’s fight against the Texans, it’s an even more powerful song, especially with the lines “We wanted peace, but you brought this war.  We took enough, but we can’t take anymore.”  The Native American chants in the bridge add a greater sense of fight to the song as well.

For the final track, it’s time to make a wish.  “11:11” has a dream feel with an angel-like quality to start off.  This song is the longest, slowest, and softest song on the record; not a very good way to end an album.  The song is basically chopped in half, with the first part repeated twice to complete the track.  Brink is singing to a love lost after what seems to be the realization she will die alone, but “at least [she] can say [she] loved.”  There is no help from the boys in this track, as it is just Brink and her voice with some layered vocals and strings, so it is a good track to showcase her voice, but again, not a very strong way to end an album for a metal band.

All in all, In This Moment’s fourth studio album, Blood, is a good listen.  Though it took me a few times to warm up to some of the songs, this album may be one of their better ones.  Even though they are still tending toward the Tampon Rock theme and can’t seem to find their own specific sound as is the case with their previous albums, this band from the City of Angels manages to pull through one more time with this one.

Rating: 8.2/10

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