December 13, 2022 In This Moment – Blood 1983 (EP Review)
In This Moment have made their mark on the music industry by capitalizing on the dichotomous vocal abilities of Maria Brink. From her rich and ethereal melodic cleans to the deep-seated, guttural ferocity of her screams, Brink’s range is one of the hallmarks of In This Moment’s trademark sound. Additionally, the band’s usual composition of grinding guitar riffs, sharp snares, and pounding bass and percussion helped cultivate their brand of Alternative Metal that usually demonstrates elements of influence from Industrial Metal and Grunge. It is all these things that have come to make In This Moment the powerhouse they’ve become in the Rock and Metal scene.
Comprised of Maria Brink (lead vocals), Chris Howorth (guitar, backing vocals), Travis Johnson (bass, backing vocals), Randy Weitzel (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), and Kent Diimmel (drums), In This Moment is celebrating the 10th anniversary of their 2012 album Blood with a new four-track EP, Blood 1983 released October 21, 2022 on BMG Music. For this new venture, the band revamped their three biggest hits from Blood and gave it the ’80s treatment. In this case, that meant lots of synth, a few special effects, and joining forces with Movie Composer Tyler Bates, known for his work on such films as 2004’s Dawn of the Dead and 2007’s Halloween.
Starting with “1983,” it is an instrumental intro that opens up the EP like the title-track to an old-school Horror movie; both eerie and intriguing. This sets the tone for the obvious theme In This Moment is aiming for and wastes no time establishing your expectations. “Adrenalize 1983” kicks off the core of what listeners can expect from the rest of the EP with heavy synths and bass that change the vibe of the song from the original but not the DNA. The general melody and soul of the song remained intact, but the impact is different. This makes it the most recognizable song on the track but the addition of some of the synth elements gives it an atmosphere too closely akin to something from the Stranger Things soundtrack. Additionally, the production on Brink’s vocals makes them come across grainy, which is effective for the vintage quality they aimed for but makes parts of the song come across muddled.
Moving on, at the onset “Burn 1983” gives vintage Horror movie soundtrack vibes. Once again the effects layered over the vocals creates a clarity issue lyrically, but the ambiance of the track is its main saving grace. Like its predecessor, “Burn 1983” also seems to borrow from the aforementioned style of synths at times, but there is something sweeping and touch mystical about the song as a whole. The chorus is grandiose, engulfing, and a bit entrancing.
The alterations made to “Blood 1983” make it a prime candidate for an ’80s Slasher flick. With its zippy effects layered into an ominous and echoic instrumental arrangement paired with Brink’s dynamic vocals, the titular track has a surreal feel to it that makes the listener feel off-balance. This is an interesting side effect of the pacing of this song and the alterations ITM made to stylize it to the desired era. This track could just as easily be found on a Halloween (1978) or Friday the 13th (1980) soundtrack, Brink’s piercing vocals in the background of a bloody massacre as mischievous teenagers fight for their lives against a supernatural evil. It is the most visual composition on the EP and will likely be the favorite for more In This Moment fans.
Rounding out Blood 1983 is “Whore 1983” that harkens back to its source material with a similar haunting, almost preternatural vocal performance. The staticky effect adding to the vocals adds to that “ghost in the machine” quality that chills and enthralls. Of the four tracks on the EP, this one has the most interesting composition and use of effects. The heavy lifting seems mostly reserved for vocal layering and effects where the body of track runs cleaner that its contemporaries that suffer from an over-complication or cluttering of sounds and synths either partially or completely. It makes “Whore 1983” the most refreshing track on the EP while still finding ways to meld it into the fold.
Overall, it is apparent that this was the band seeking to expand their musical toolbox by developing an experimental period piece with effects they have dabbled in previously. Unlike 2014’s Black Widow, which was once considered a controversial album due to its introduction of more pop and heavy synth elements, it is difficult to tell whether or not Blood 1983 will age into the same “cult classic” league amongst the fandom. Only time will tell whether or not this gamble paid off for the band, but chances are they made this for themselves as much as they did for the fans, and because of that if they are happy with it then it was a success.
As for the fandom, many fans of In This Moment’s classic sound may be hard pressed to find the same enjoyment from these revamped tracks as they did the originals. The heavy production doesn’t just alter the impact and vibe of these songs, but in several cases, it distracts from the core talents of the band by weighing it down with effects and layers while seeking to create an incredibly niche product. The concept of creating an ’80s themed sampler of some of their biggest hits, borrowing from the past to celebrate the present/future is great until it becomes the sole identity of the work. So, for daring to explore the past and accidentally creating a modernized ’80s Slasher soundtrack, Cryptic Rock gives the Blood 1983 EP 3 out of 5 stars.