In This Moment – ‘Mother’

By Ellie Odurny

Californian Hard Rock favourites In This Moment are back with their seventh release, ‘Mother’, a nod to the matriarchal figure that front woman Maria Brink represents to many of the band’s fans. In This Moment’s style and sound has constantly developed and grown over the years, and ‘Mother’ follows on fluidly from 2017’s ‘Ritual’, with similar themes and a much more mellow, atmospheric sound than their earlier metalcore influenced releases.

‘Mother’ opens with the aptly titled instrumental interlude, ‘The Beginning’, with distant horns, whispers and an air of mystic ceremony. The ominous words “I am the God and the Devil around you” set the tone for an album peppered with spiritual overtones and themes of Heaven and Hell that have made regular appearances throughout In This Moment’s fifteen-year career.

The chanting of the intro carries over into an unexpected cover of Steve Miller Band’s ‘Fly Like An Eagle’, reimagined with a pumping industrial bass beat and Brink’s guttural, trademark sexy blues screech.  Another interlude follows, with a haunting choral arrangement that adds to the atmosphere of religious melancholy.

The first single release from the album, ‘The In Between’ builds a choppy vocal intro into a gnawing, grinding, downtuned bassline. The combination of Brink’s screams, that muddy bass and punchy power chords in the chorus beautifully contrast with the sugar sweet vocal layering over the top. It’s a slow build to a slickly produced standalone single, and will no doubt lend itself well to a high-octane stage show.

‘Legacy’ slows the pace, with subtle electronic beats underpinning Brink’s belting vocals. It’s not the most exciting track on the album, but it’s showcasing that kind of big rock ballad that In This Moment have made their own, complete with some major 90’s clifftop guitar solo vibes thrown in for good measure.

Next up is another cover, this time of Queen’s enormous rock anthem ‘We Will Rock You’. Enlisting the help of fellow vocalists Taylor Momsen (The Pretty Reckless) and Lzzy Hale (Halestorm), the cheesy rock club connotations inherent in the hugely popular number somehow detract from the air of gothic mystery which floats over the rest of the album. No doubt it’ll be a crowd favourite nonetheless, as it still packs that big rock delivery that suits an energetic live stage set up.

Title track ‘Mother’ seems to step over the line from smooth production to being over-produced which is a shame, because Brink’s rawer vocals could shine out well given half a chance. There are some beautiful moments in the breakdown which feel like they embody the intention of the whole album, but are sometimes lost to meet a more polished output.

The third single release ‘As Above So Below’ has all the elements of a pop rock hit. With a sing along chorus, head banging beats, classic riffs and touches of remixed electronica, it’s a well-rounded track that sees In This Moment doing what they do best.

Next up is a trilogy of songs that are full of potential, but just don’t quite hit the mark. ‘Born In Flames’ blends a heartbeat sound into an 80’s synth intro that isn’t a million miles away from title sequence of cult favourite series Stranger Things. Sadly, it morphs into a slow ballad that never really grows into anything exciting. ‘God Is She’ doesn’t offer much more than some big riffs under a lacklustre chorus, and ‘Holy Man’ continues the slower pace with a chunky intro that goes nowhere. There are polished beats and solid riffs in these tracks, but for those listening to the album from start to finish, they don’t do enough to grab the listener’s attention and everything becomes slightly tedious.

Thankfully, second single ‘Hunting Grounds’ pumps a well needed boost of energy back into the mix. Guest vocals from DED’s Joe Cotela add texture and depth, and the back and forth duet highlights a vulnerability that’s rarely seen beneath Brink’s powerful demeanour. Her formidable voice is showcased again in ‘Lay Me Down’, underpinned by characteristic rock riffs and a heavy dose of reverb and distortion.

‘Into Dust’ closes the album with ethereal vocals and a captivating, melodic piano line reminiscent of Massive Attack’s ‘Teardop’. The magical, spiritual atmosphere created in ‘The Beginning’ returns, and the album finishes as it started, with moody, mystical intrigue.

‘Mother’ has some great moments. The three singles tick all the hard rock boxes, and the production is slick and consistent throughout. In This Moment are continuing along their path, telling a story of spirituality, life and transcendence, and at points, this come across effectively and powerfully. Not every track on the album delivers, but there are some gems to add to the arsenal of stadium friendly power tunes that In This Moment do so well.

ELLIE ODURNY

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