Review Summary: Time is a flat circle.
On a purely superficial basis, if you squint, tilt your head and look at In This Moment’s last couple of albums, they appear to have some semblance of substance and meaning to them. Of course, looks can be deceptive, and judging a book by its cover is never a good idea, but honestly, the band have a distinctly pleasing aesthetic these days; a Pagan image partnered up with a fine gossamer, spiritualistic production that meets the images being conveyed with synergistic results. The problem with Ritual
, and inherently Mother
, is that they fail to deliver on their base ideas in just about every other regard. Granted, next to Ritual
looks like The Dark Side of the Moon
in terms of how it actually focuses on one sound, but there’s still that cumbersome feeling of vacantness which is present throughout. And seriously, with the LP’s disposition for disregarding the band’s bread and butter for minimalism – i.e. actual guitar riffs – so Maria can ostensibly spin a yarn or two, I actually thought Mother
was going to take me down some sort of narrative-driven roller-coaster ride. The brutal reality here is that there is no real
concept here – no methodical planning on how the album will sound or flow – it’s just a patchwork job of vapid and repetitive original cuts, and a few arbitrary covers overtly used to draw in a wider audience.
In essence, Mother
is painfully homogeneous with its songwriting, and without a proper goal. This record retains the same bland writing as its former – which stems from the fact it solely relies on Maria to pick up the slack, and of which she fails miserably at doing once again – and learns very little from previous mistakes. It’s definitely a follow-up to their previous attempt, but it’s irritating to know it hasn’t made any effort in progressing this electronic-heavy sound in a way that’s interesting. Maria robotically croons her way through entire songs, with very little deviation from the fact; melodies are extremely subtle and don’t go anywhere; and the music itself barters little with the vocals to make any of the songs here worthwhile. “We Will Rock” is a stupefying rendition that pays no homage to the original in any way, but I found more enjoyment in trying to work out why the hell it was even in the tracklist to begin with. The same goes for the other covers here (“Fly Like An Eagle” and album closer “Into Dust”) – what purpose do these tracks serve other than to derail the album’s cohesion?
Overall, it’s yet another disappointment from the band. It’s self-destruction at this point. I get what they’re trying to do with Mother
, and Ritual
for that matter, but the execution is intensely soporific and ham-fisted, to put it lightly. All the band have managed to do is repress their craft so Maria can take to centre stage – which is absolutely fine, as long as she has something of value to contribute. She’s a fantastic singer, with a great vocal range (one of the best in metal today), but none of that is showcased here. It’s a compromise made internally, and the results hinder everyone involved. Mother
has a good production, yes, and I’m sure they’ll put on a great live show with intriguing images, but to listen to it based on its own merits, or lack thereof, it’s an empty vessel with very little to say.
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