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In This Moment

When it comes to rock and metal music, as a general rule, I enjoy male vocals over female. Nothing against women, but men just usually have a more raucous voice. Raspy singing and brutal screaming is something reserved for front men, not women. But, as we all do, I have been through many musical phases. One of those phases was an interest in female-fronted rock and metal bands. I got into such bands as Ashes of Erin, The Agonist, and of course Arch Enemy. But as my musical tastes continued to change, so did my love for these women. Eventually they all faded from view. All but one. The lovely Maria Brink of In This Moment had captured my heart and ears and refused to let go. In This Moment always had a special place on my play lists and was never far from my ears and definitely never forgotten.

These Los Angeles natives have definitely evolved over the course of their three album lifespan. Their debut album, Beautiful Tragedy, featured Maria Brink shrieking for the preponderance of the music, whereas their sophomore album, The Dream, featured Maria showing off her beautiful singing voice. Of course instrumentally they have progressed as any decent band will, becoming more skilled and varied in stylistic choices. A Star-Crossed Wasteland, their most recent offering, features a beautiful blend of clean and screamed vocals from Maria.

The album begins with “Gunshow” which should be familiar to anyone who has accessed the band’s Myspace page recently. The song features not a single sung verse or chorus. Jeff Fabb keeps up a constant but simple beat augmented by low chugs from Chris Howorth. At first I thought the song was boring and a bit cheesy. But after a few listens I began to appreciate the cheesy cowboy showdown lyrics and the simple but relentless pacing. Maria absolutely dominates the show with angry shrieks and intense spoken and yelled lyrics.

This album also features more backing vocals than previous albums. Maria shares the stage with Howorth for many of the songs, and sings a duet, “The Promise”, with Adrian Patrick of the band Otherwise. I felt that Maria’s voice melded incredibly well with Howorth’s but when she attempted to harmonize with Patrick, she was not as successful. They both sing beautifully on their own, but during the harmonies, I felt disappointed. The title track is, although a bit slow, beautiful and haunting. The album production was immaculate with everything being tight and layered exactly as it should be. This is no surprise considering that Kevin Churko, the man who produced The Dream, also worked with them on A Star-Crossed Wasteland. The album is a beautiful fusion of the brutality of Beautiful Tragedy and the catchy melodies of The Dream. Maria mixes her vocals beautifully, bringing in melody when melody is needed and screaming her lungs out when brutality is what is called for. This album is much heavier than previous outings and it is obvious that the players have all been increasing when it comes to skill. Howorth even shreds a few times, with the most interesting solo being at the end of “Blazin.”

Although the album is incredibly enjoyable, this quintet does fail in a few areas. Maria sings beautifully and all of the songs are incredibly catchy, but still are lacking something. Many of the songs contain melodies that long time fans will recognize from previous albums, but that will disappoint by fading into obscurity. And the drummer, Jeff Fabb, often feels like he is just following the rest of the band instead of keeping pace. Every song is a fun romp through the rock and roll forest, but a few songs feel almost like filler. And the final track “World In Flames”, although beautiful, feels like it was thrown in just so Maria could sing a ballad.

Even with these flaws, A Star-Crossed Wasteland is a worthy addition to In This Moment’s legacy. Fans of female vocals will eat this up, as will fans of main stream rock. I would urge even those who are hesitant to check out this album. In This Moment has drawn the line in the sand for every hard rock band out there. The band have put out a monumental work that is utterly and completely enjoyable that sets the standard— and boy is it high.

Rating: 4.0/5
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A Star-Crossed Wasteland
01. Gunshow
02. Just Drive
03. The Promise
04. Standing Alone
05. A Star-Crossed Wasteland
06. Blazin'
07. The Road
08. Iron Army
09. The Last Cowboy
10. World In Flames
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The band have put out a monumental work that is utterly and completely enjoyable that sets the standard— and boy is it high."

22 Comments

  1. Keith Anderson Keith Anderson Says:

    June 28th, 2010 at 10:26 am

    In This Moment is a great band. Their strongest asset is their ability to write solid songs. I think they have untapped potential that may appear in future releases.

    [Reply To Comment]

    Luke Amos

    Reply from Luke Amos:

    All of their releases have been solid so I am definitely looking forward to future albums.

    [Reply To Comment]

  2. charlie charlie Says:

    June 28th, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    You prefer Maria over Angela Gossow? Honestly, I’m with you in that I typically don’t like female fronted bands. But I always thought that Arch Enemy did it the best. Not really getting what the big deal about Maria’s vocals are to be honest. A little too high and shrieky on the screams and not feeling the clean vocals either.

    I really do think the musicianship is there with this band and while I wouldn’t say that I listen to them regularly, I do like a few of their songs. So I’ll definitely be checking this out to see if they’ve progressed.

    Oh and by the way, I honestly think Krysta Cameron from iwrestledabearonce is the best female metal vocalist around today. Clean singing is meh from her, and iwrestledabearonce is pretty gimmicky but that girl has the best screams I’ve heard in a long time. And she sounds just as good if not better live.

    [Reply To Comment]

    Luke Amos

    Reply from Luke Amos:

    I totally forgot to mention Cameron. She definitely has some serious talent. Not my style of music but serious talent nonetheless.

    [Reply To Comment]

    Lee

    Reply from Lee:

    I think Candace from Walls Of Jericho has one of the sickest female heavy vocals out there. Alexis from Straight Line Stitch is pretty nasty too. Just Sayin’

    [Reply To Comment]

    Kyle Noyer

    Reply from Azriel:

    Alyssa White from The Agonist is has some crazy vocals.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXzIeI0mkFI

    Jen

    Reply from Jen:

    Ooooh, how could I forget Alexis of Straight Line Stitch? Love, love, love her!

    Luke Amos

    Reply from Luke Amos:

    I thought about including Candace in my list but decided I didn’t want to just post a huge list of all the ladies lol

    But she has got some pipes.

  3. Jen Jen Says:

    June 28th, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    I thought "Gun Show" wasn’t bad at all. The album isn’t bad, but the more I listen to it, the more her voice starts grating on my nerves. Kinda like nails on a chalkboard. But I’d still prefer this album over the previous, and Maria over a lot of female vocalists.

    [Reply To Comment]

    Luke Amos

    Reply from Luke Amos:

    See I prefer "The Dream" to "A Star-Crossed Wasteland."

    [Reply To Comment]

    Jen Rochester

    Reply from Jen Rochester:

    *snores*

    [Reply To Comment]

    Luke Amos

    Reply from Luke Amos:

    But it’s so beautiful Jen.

    Jen

    Reply from Jen:

    Yeah, well some people say (s)Nora Jones is too, but that doesn’t mean she’s worth listening to. I don’t need much help falling asleep, thank you. haha

    Luke Amos

    Reply from Luke Amos:

    We are just gonna have to disagree. Because The Dream is awesome!

    [Reply To Comment]

  4. Kyle Noyer Azriel Says:

    June 28th, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    I’m really looking forward to this. I was a huge fan of "Beautiful Tragedy" when it came out because it just felt so well produced and it appealed to the part of me that liked Cradle of Filth (for some odd reason). It was a powerhouse album.

    I’m glad that you say that this album is really heavy because "Ashes" is my favorite song by In This Moment, probably my favorite song with female led vocals (apart from The Agonist’s work).

    [Reply To Comment]

    Luke Amos

    Reply from Luke Amos:

    Beautiful Tragedy is good but The Dream is still my favorite. So many awesome melodies on that album.

    [Reply To Comment]

  5. alas alas Says:

    June 28th, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    hey everyone

    i’ve just read your discussion about female fronted bands and i think one of the most crazy girls out there is Eva Spence from Rolo Tomassi from England

    Really crazy…you should check them out; the whole band looks like the official harry potter fan club but they’re playing a great mixture of mathcore and screamo

    definately worth to be checked out

    greetings from germany

    [Reply To Comment]

    Jen

    Reply from Jen:

    I was definitely shocked the first time I saw Eva Spence, and then heard the sound that came out of her mouth. Not what I expected at all!

    [Reply To Comment]

  6. alas alas Says:

    June 29th, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Now I’m curious: what did you expect? :)

    I must committ i really like Rolo Tomassi, especially her clean singing…

    They’re really different from all the other band, cannot even be compared…

    [Reply To Comment]

    Jen

    Reply from Jen:

    She’s just so tiny and, well, not aggressive looking. I expected something more like Hayley Williams from Paramore, honestly. Once again, I need to learn my lesson from judging a book by its cover. :)

    [Reply To Comment]

  7. Daryn St. Pierre Daryn St. Pierre Says:

    July 1st, 2010 at 12:00 am

    It’s nice to see an Ashes of Erin fan. I reviewed their latest album a while back and it’s really grown on me since then. I’m not normally one that gravitates to female vocalists in the metal and rock scene, but I love Jenna from Ashes of Erin and Alexis of Straight Line Stitch. I love how she can go from ripping screams to soaring melodies. Great review, man.

    [Reply To Comment]

    Jen

    Reply from Jen:

    Alexis is awesome! I love me some Straight Line Stitch. :D

    [Reply To Comment]

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