Released: 2008, Century Media Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
The power of viral marketing and networking sites like MySpace have proven to be a significant factor towards In This Moment’s meteoric rise. The California-based band burst on the scene in 2006 with a DIY-attitude that saw them link up with a cross-section of various touring lineups. A surge in MySpace traffic due to several demos that were posted caught the attention of Century Media Records who promptly signed the band and got them in the studio to lay down their debut, 2007’s BEAUTIFUL TRAGEDY. At the forefront is vocalist Maria Brink, a heavily-tattooed fireball in a babydoll dress, whose vocal dynamic on that record stretched from a paint-peeling scream to throat-shredding growls to decent clean melodies. The problem was the cookie-cutter metalcore drivel backing most of the songs. BEAUTIFUL TRAGEDY sounded like a trend-hopping product that was slapped together with a bunch of nameless, faceless guys backing the heavily-hyped talents of Brink.
Just eighteen months later comes THE DREAM and thankfully the band has abandoned most of the schlock that appealed to the Hot Topic set but turned off everyone else. Overall, this is a solid batch of incredibly catchy songs wrapped in a glossy sheen that is looking forward rather than hanging on to tired, overdone trends which is a smart move given the fact In This Moment was likened to little more than a collection of clichés any marketing department would dream of by many cynics. THE DREAM is a mature, modern rock record swimming in as many pop-friendly hooks as metallic twists. Brink’s gimmicky vocal delivery has been streamlined to focus more on her clean vocals than the gruff screams for far better effect. Kevin Churko’s production has wisely centered on Brink’s vocals, too, because, let’s face it, the band knows which side it’s bread is buttered on as, with no disrespect to Jeff Fabb, no one is buying THE DREAM for its outstanding drumming performance. Guitarist Chris Howorth has certainly stepped it up here, as well, delivering some solid solos and melodic leads that immediately penetrate one’s memory bank. Therein will be the draw towards THE DREAM because this sucker is catchy as hell. Every single song is ripe for radio airplay with monster hooks, sing-along choruses and a pop-music sense for infectious melodies. This album will be huge, and for good reason, mark my words.
Once the transcendental intro is out of the way, “Forever” slams out with a devious refrain before the chorus that will make the song a sure-fire hit. “All For You,” an ode to the band’s growing fanbase, is just as catchy and will be a great live track. The dark, bluesy lead that kicks off around the 2:40 mark adds a whole new dynamic to the song, as well. With its breathy, mid-tempo verses and hard-driving chorus, “Lost At Sea” will draw many comparisons to Evanescence but Brink could sing circles around Amy Lee. “Mechanical Love” and “You Always Believed” might be underdogs that modern rock radio programmers should pay attention to because both have serious hit potential. “Violet Skies” boasts some multi-tracked shouts that sound like a cross between a cheerleader team and The Donnas. “Her Kiss” seems a bit of a throwback to the days of nu-metal dominance with downtuned, chugging guitars and screamed/growled vocal trade-offs. “Sailing Away,” this album’s only real weak spot, seems terribly out of place on THE DREAM as the screechy vocals of Brink and pseudo-thrash riffs sound like a leftover from BEAUTIFUL TRAGEDY. “Into The Light,” on the other hand, is a touching piano-and-string ballad that deals with the death of a loved one and really proves Brink’s vocal talents. The Beatles-like title track is the sound of a band whose maturity and comfort in its own skin has permeated into its songwriting, as well. Brink’s powerful voice soars sky-high and the overall feel is completely trippy. With an almost progressive drum pattern and jangly guitar, “The Dream” closes the record on an incredibly bright note that leaves the listener scrambling to hit play all over again.
THE DREAM certainly caught me by surprise and has been on constantly since the promo arrived. This is just an enjoyable record from start to finish that will have a lot of staying power and mass appeal, as well. In This Moment will undoubtedly lose a few of its fans looking for something in the vein of BEAUTIFUL TRAGEDY but THE DREAM will open up a whole new realm of possibilities for this band that could see them moving way, way up Century Media’s pecking order. Look for 2009 to be a big year for In This Moment as they become a household name in modern rock circles thanks to THE DREAM.
KILLER KUTS: “Forever,” “All For You,” “Mechanical Love,” “Into The Light,” “You Always Believed,” “The Dream”