Thursday 9 April 2020

In This Moment - Mother (2020)

Country: USA
Style: Industrial Metal
Rating: 7/10
Release Date: 27 Mar 2020
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Yeah, I have trouble with nu metal, but In This Moment have impressed me on a number of occasions, including on stage, and this album is as imaginative as nu metal tends to never be. It's a heck of a lot of different things at once, which combine to make it an impossible album to ignore. It features all the many things I hate about nu metal, but it does so within a heavily varied framework that constantly engages and has a real identity to it. If it's nu metal, it's not just nu metal and that makes a big difference.

That said, it's full of moments that make me say, "Hmm." For a start, it all begins with an interlude. Now, how can you begin anything with an interlude? Isn't the point of an interlude to be between other things? Here, the first song is between two interludes, which just seems bizarre. What's more, that first song is a cover version, of something as deeply uncool as Fly Like an Eagle, the old Steve Miller Band song, done as industrial rock. I shouldn't like this, but I do. It's very catchy.

It's the first of three covers on offer here, the other two being Queen's We Will Rock You, the original of which is so iconic that any attempt to cover it should be seen with suspicion, and Into Dust, originally by the decidedly not metal Mazzy Star, but which is a real highlight here. Those are all really odd choices, though I should add that there is forty further minutes of original material here, so this band isn't skimping on content.

These choices ask many questions, not least "Why?" We Will Rock You features Lzzy Hale and Taylor Momsen as guests and it's actually not bad at all, but it's as pointless as Britney Spears redoing I Love Rock 'n' Roll. It's been done. Move on. The question that wouldn't leave me alone, though, has to do with what genre In This Moment are nowadays. A lot of this is loud pop music but there's a frequent industrial focus too and there's far more of both of those than there is of heavy metal, even in the modern American sense.

The In-Between certainly plays up the industrial angle, as a heavy effect-laden single. It also features a lot of shouty vocals, so melodic metalcore with industrial pop sensibilities? It's actually quite catchy, for something so inherently artificial because of all the layers and effects. Legacy is a really catchy song too, an industrial pop song with dancing keyboards that sound like they were lifted from Dark Side of the Moon. There's much dynamic work in the later songs, like God is She, Holy Man and Into Dust.

This is the seventh album for In This Moment and they feel very comfortable here in a skin they've created for themselves. It's oddly balanced and I'm not sure how this works, because there are two contradictory approaches in play at once. Brink has a real power to her voice and her contribution is a raucous emotional outburst, which ought to be spontaneous and unadorned but is precisely controlled and heavily adjusted in the studio. Her voice is as rough as polished gets.

The band follow suit, with vicious industrial riffs that are intensely edgy and dangerous but are really produced with intense care. It feels like they want to be the dirty and rough machines that create in our factories but, at the same time, the carefully packaged product that's the end result of that industrial process. And, as much as it shouldn't work, it mostly does, even for someone like me who is far from the logical audience.

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