Review Summary: Quite possibly one of the best combinations of rock and metal in recent memory
Mention the phrase "woman" in the context of a metal band, and most people will probably laugh or snort in disdain at the mere mention of a female being in a metal band.
There are a handful of successful females in metal. Bands like Nightwish, Lacuna Coil, Otep, Walls of Jericho are all fronted by women. They all have considerable fanbases, and great albums.
In This Moment should be placed right alongside these well-known female fronted bands.
In This Moment, admittedly, does not do anything particularly new on their debut album Beautiful Tragedy
. But it how well they combine elements of metal and rock to create an album that is not only beautiful, but brutal at times.
What makes In This Moment so good is their ability to seamlessly move from pounding metal riffing into sing-along choruses. There may be plenty of people who decry the use of singing in today's metal, but frontwoman Maria Brink's singing voice is nearly angelic at times. She sings with passion, with fire, and desire. She may not have the vocal capabilities of Cristina Scabbia or even the range of Amy Lee, but she her vocal melodies flow extremely well over the pulsating rhythms beneath her.
The guitar work is a mix of Unearth-like brutality - dual guitars that chug away with blistering riffs, fast harmonized passages and the occasional solo - to what I can only describe as straight up rock playing. That is, their choruses are often, though not always, simple, fast-ish strumming patterns. This allows for Maria to sing high and mighty over it all, and it's good that they let as previously mentioned. Drumming on this album is pretty much standard metal fare with lots of double bass, snare hits and crashing cymbals while the bass does it's job of getting lost in the mix more often than not.
The low point of the album, besides the bass playing or lack thereof is potentially Maria's screaming. There are plenty of times where one might, or will, cringe when she screams. Sometimes it appears as if she is straining to scream, or is not quite hitting higher notes that she wants to hit. Her screaming voice is certainly something of an acquired taste. I'm sure it will not please many metal purists/fans/whatever, but I strongly feel that the rest of the album is great enough to overlook her occasional foray into sounding like a Harpy.
Standout tracks on this album would include Prayers
, an upbeat, fast paced number with great singing in the verse, Beautiful Tragedy
with a wonderful clean guitar intro, is certainly the most 'rock' oriented song on the album, Daddy's Falling Angel
which is an ass-kicking ride throughout, and Next Life
which is arguably the heaviest, or at least the second heaviest track on the album.
To sum up: They may not be breaking any new ground here, but the path they are following is certainly an enjoyable mix of singing and headbanging along.