In This Moment – ‘Ritual’ (Roadrunner Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Jonni D   
Friday, 28 July 2017 04:00

In This Moment - RitualFollowing 2014’s commercially successful ‘Black Widow’, In This Moment return with their major label sophomore effort, ‘Ritual.’  The Los Angeles metalcore troupe had hinted that they would be experimenting with a more stripped back sound after the more heavily electronic approach of previous releases.  In lieu of their tried and tested formula, the band dabbles heavily with a more blues rock and early R&B influenced approach.  It’s an intriguing prospect, but sadly, it seems that such a drastic sonic shift finds In This Moment throwing the baby out with the bath water. 

 

‘Salvation’ is your typical, theatrically-bent intro track before ‘Oh Lord’ introduces us properly to the band’s new style, and it proves to be the best of the bunch.  A great showcase for Maria Brink’s distinctive vocal style, the sparse, bass-driven instrumentation stomps mightily beneath the soulfully delivered melody.  Were this track the only example of this bluesy influence, it would likely have more lasting impact than it ultimately does. 

 

Unfortunately, due to the repetitive nature of ‘Ritual’, most of these songs get lost in the shuffle.  ‘River Of Fire’, ‘Twin Flames’ and ‘Joan Of Arc’ (straight from the school of Debbie Harry) are all painfully one-note and lacking in any real progression from a songwriting perspective.  While Maria’s performance on these tracks can be startlingly fervent, her crooning songstress-style is often favoured over a discernible melody, to the detriment of the songs as a whole.

 

‘Ritual’ isn’t afraid to get kitschy either.  The collaboration with Rob Halford, ‘Black Wedding’, is a painfully on the nose take on Billy Idol’s famous hit.  While Halford and Maria’s voices do work considerably well in tandem with one another, the track has its tongue pressed too far into its cheek for its own good.  The heavy reliance on vocal effects and dissonance on the band’s cover of ‘In The Air Tonight’ is an interesting choice, but it isn’t enough to hold interest, with the inevitable crescendo played a little too by the numbers.

 

 

The stylistic shift adopted on ‘Ritual’ turns out to be more promising in theory than in execution.  Although Maria Brink remains one of the genres’s most unique vocalists, this offering from In This Moment pales in comparison to their earlier output, and is uncharacteristically vanilla by the band’s previous standards. 

 

‘Ritual’ is out now.

 

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