March 23, 2020 In This Moment – Mother (Album Review)
She is known to her fans as a beloved mother figure, and so it is no shock that Maria Brink and her In This Moment brothers have opted to entitle their latest offering Mother. Atlantic/Roadrunner present the eclectic collection on March 27th, 2020. Prepare to enter the in-between!
Rocking since their creation in 2005 by Vocalist Brink and Guitarist Chris Howorth, In This Moment take stimulating visuals and enmesh their performance with a hard-rocking, cross-genre sonic approach. Their artistic musings have brought millions of fans into their Blood Legion throughout the years, much in thanks to sold-out tours coast-to-coast and albums such as 2012’s gold-selling Blood, 2014’s Black Widow, and 2017’s Ritual. With each successive release, the band has elevated their craft, challenging themselves to think on a more massive scale, yet continuing to present a brilliant crossover between cinematic production and infectious bangers.
With Mother, In This Moment—Vocalist Brink, Guitarists Howorth and Randy Weitzel, Bassist Travis Johnson, and Drummer Kent Diimmel—continue their sonic evolution. Whereas Ritual sought to weave a bluesy spell of bewitching spirituality, the band’s seventh LP travels down this path even further to reach a haunting crossroads. Produced by long-time collaborator and friend Kevin Churko (Ozzy Osbourne, Five Finger Death Punch), the 14-song Mother takes the quintet’s sonic sorcery to the next level, dancing proudly in-between genres.
Mother opens to the autonomous sensory meridian response-inducing “The Beginning — Interlude,” which flows fluidly and without pause into “Fly Like An Eagle.” An intimate and sultry cover of Steve Miller Band’s 1976 classic, one with phenomenal percussion, In This Moment use Diimmel’s talents and Frontwoman Brink’s passionate pipes to drive the song’s message home. The end result is a track that fits beautifully alongside their cover of Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight,” and yet it harnesses more might and maturity to make an even bolder statement.
Next up, a second interlude that fans have unknowingly already experienced, “The Red Crusade,” leads the way into “The In-Between.” The album’s first single/video, the track name checks former offerings from the quintet as it blends the very best of their oeuvre, birthing the riotous lovechild of Blood and Ritual. Then, the languid pace set by “Legacy” allows the spotlight to turn toward Brink’s fiery vocals before it begins to entice listeners to shake their hips. Here, the ‘80s-inflected synth work is a highlight, anchoring a moment that ultimately provides a beautiful guitar solo from Howorth.
The beloved 1977 Queen anthem “We Will Rock You” has often served as a boys’ club fight song, but this time around it’s all about the empowered ladies. Joined by Lzzy Hale of Halestorm and Taylor Momsen of The Pretty Reckless, the cover allows Howorth to shine once again on guitar as the goddesses of Rock, whose harmonies blend flawlessly, prepare to blow the roof off any stadium. Next, the promise that sits at the heart of titular track “Mother” harnesses the theatrical side of the band, presenting a cinematic offering that choreographs its way across the listener’s ears.
Discordant synths open “As Above So Below,” an experimental slammer that dances deviously into infectious, radio-ready choruses. All this before the band return to those scrumptious ‘80s synths with “Born In Flames,” which starts with a subtle intensity before traveling through an atmospheric sonic landscape, one that blends what one would expect from these rockers with a dreamy ambiance that is more Indie Pop/Synthpop than Hard Rock.
To celebrate the feminine goddess, “God Is She” takes fat bass and thick guitar to craft a heady fog from which Brink’s vocals emerge to destroy you. Meanwhile, apropos of its title, “Holy Man” opens to a church organ before it begins its aerial sweep down the aisle towards an altar of funky groove and sin. Meanwhile, thumping synths provide the backbone for the rocking duet “Hunting Grounds,” featuring Joe Cotela of DED. Propelled by one another’s soaring deliveries, the pair take themselves to the next level vocally, particularly Cotella who is outstanding here.
As they continue to experiment with a multitude of influences, there’s a Celtic feel to the opening of the triumphant “Lay Me Down,” a track that eventually builds into a marching beat from Diimmel as his bandmates get their groove on. Ultimately, even if you’ve been paying attention to everything that came before, you cannot possibly be prepared for the album closer, “Into Dust.” Recycling themes from “God Is She” to introduce the ballad, they plunge head-long into a nearly seven minute long finale full of lofty emotion, moving piano work, cinematic strings, and a breathy Brink.
Mother picks up where Ritual left off, and, in some of its best moments, it combines the power of Blood and Black Widow with the synth-laden spiritual communion of Ritual. An album that truly keeps its listener guessing, throughout these 14 tracks In This Moment continue to experiment within their thick layers of sound. Brink’s vocals have grown even more powerful, while Howorth, Weitzel, Johnson, and Diimmel are all following her lead to perform at the pinnacle of their own abilities.
Here’s where fans will be polarized: Mother meanders further down the path that Ritual blazed. The yin to Ritual’s yang, if you will, there’s a darker, more primal spirituality to this newest collection, one that transcends all musical boundaries. A magnificent reminder that In This Moment are an artistic collective capable of literally anything they set their creative minds to, Mother flexes its musical wings and soars happily into the in-between. For this, Cryptic Rock gives Mother 5 of 5 stars.