He, who learns to welcome misfortune, learns that adversity is the prosperity of the great. This saying definitely applies to Maria Brink and Chris Howorth of In This Moment. They have had many ups and downs since the band’s formation back in 2005. They’ve had almost as many bass players as Spinal Tap had drummers. Last year, their metal saga suffered yet another blow all thanks to American Idol of all things. Yet, through it all, Brink and Howorth kept marching along and not allowing any distractions to capture their Iron Army flag.
The band lost two key members in drummer Jeff Fabb and guitarist Blake Bunzel last year, forcing them to stop and refocus. That loss came just a couple of months before they were supposed to enter the studio to begin on a new album. It ignited something in the duo and awoke a creative beast hungry for redemption. The result is the band’s fourth studio in five years entitled Blood.
The album kicks off with a short song entitled “Rise with Me” which has been serving as the introduction to their live show. It sounds like an intro to a fantasy or futuristic movie and serves as a great kickoff to what is in store. That song leads into the title track and the album’s first single “Blood”. Upon first listen, it’s hard not to notice new elements incorporated into the sound of In This moment that we have grown accustomed to. The first name that comes to mind would be Nine Inch Nails and possibly even Fear Factory. It’s the sound we expect from the band, but with a dose of steroids.
“Adrenalize” has an underlying groove that grabs you at the beginning and grinds its way throughout the entire song. The guitars have a heavy sound to them that’s brings to mind early Pantera. “You’re Gonna’ Listen”, which has already received some play on satellite radio, is a kick ass number with a guitar solo guaranteed to melt your face. This song definitely has a little bit of a Deftones feel to it.
One of the standout tracks on the album has to be “Whore”. The band really explores outside of the box on this with results that are going surprise many. The first time that I heard the song, I couldn’t help but to think of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” when I heard the guitar intro. This is a hot number that combines some newly added electronic elements to their sound with a catchy guitar riff that hooks you in. Maria’s vocal delivery ranges from the sweet and innocent lines of “I can be your everything” to the anger that flows when she screams “you’ll love me for everything you hate me for”. “Whore” is a powerful song on both a musical level as well as a lyrical one.
“Burn” is another powerhouse number and is one of many different layers. As the song progresses, it just seems to keep growing and the more you cut into it, the deeper it gets. It starts out with a layer of piano with some electronic sprinkled on top that gives it a very alluring feeling. Then, as you sink your teeth into that layer, the drums and guitars come crashing in and take it in a totally different direction.
“Scarlet” is another venture off the traditional In This moment path with very favorable results. It’s a song of forbidden love between two people who have shared so much, yet as Maria sings, “you know how this will end.” It also has a nasty bass line that thumps along almost like the heartbeat of the two lovers in the song. Throw in a wicked little guitar solo and you have the makings of one killer song that could easily get major radio airplay.
“From the Ashes” is a track that sounds new and fresh, yet familiar at the same time. I think it incorporates elements of the first album that will make quite a few fans happy. “Beast Within” is another one of those songs on here that has a funky under groove to it that is infectious and burrows its way into your head. When Maria mentioned that the new album was sexy and alluring, she wasn’t wrong.
“Comanche” is a song that manages not only to kick some major ass, but it’s also a lot of fun. It kicks off with a nasty bassline and Maria experiments with a bit of a different vocal technique at times that’s pretty cool too. The drumline going through it has a tribal feel to it also. The album closes with a haunting, yet beautiful song called “11:11” and it’s an all vocal song by Maria. When it’s your time to go, can you say that you have lived and loved?
Overall, this album is pretty amazing and it will bring some new listeners into the fold and it may even turn some away who cannot get into the industrial/electronic elements that have been added. Bands have to grow and evolve in order to stay ahead in the industry today and especially if they want to have any legs and be around for a while. I love the new elements that they have added to their sound. At times, it’s not as heavy as their last album and that heaviness has been replaced by a dark and alluring sound that is somewhat sexy at times. I also have to give props to Chris Howorth. He’s never been a slouch when it comes to his playing, but the fire that he and Maria speak of runs all the way through this man’s fingertips. He is playing like a beast on this album. It’s not all in the shredding, which will definitely melt your face, but he’s also a master of some of the simpler chords which adds so much to a song.
It is a rebirth as Maria has stated before and it may take more than one listen to fully appreciate and grasp what the band is doing. The core of Chris Howorth and Maria Brink are not going to let anything get in their way of taking their dream to the next level. This is a new and improved version of their dream and they continue to lead their Iron Army along the journey.