Archive for In This Moment

Album Review – In This Moment “Blood” 2012

Posted in Album Reviews, FourFiveSix with tags , , , , , on October 18, 2012 by Lightning Slim

  OK, admit it. If you’re anything like me, you admire In This Moment and want them to succeed. But ever since Beautiful Tragedy came out you’ve been waiting for the sell-out.  The Dream arrived with its surprising pop influences, but worked on its own terms. Then, A Star-Crossed Wasteland merged the previous two styles with skill and taste, so everything was still going swimmingly.

The run ends here. Blood is the Hot Topic nu-metal album we were all terrified ITM would eventually make. It marks the turning point when the lush photo shoots and the idea of the band became more important than the music.

I know Maria Brink is definitely a feminist of some kind, as I’ve seen her mop the floor with sexist hecklers in live performances. So, as a modern woman, Brink has the right to portray, play up and undercut her sexuality  as she sees fit. That’s the most generous argument I could find to explain the following lyrical atavisms:

“I’m a dirty dirty girl I want it filthy”

“Make me feel like a god, adrenaline and sex, Adrenalize me”

“I wanna feel you all from deep within, swayin back and forth all night, let me see you move your bodies”

Not all the lyrics are this bad. But these are all from different songs, meaning there’s a lot of B. Spears-ism to go around.

Sound-wise, producer Kevin Churko uses a couple of different angles of attack here, neither of them involving him keeping his hands off the songs, and neither of them solid ideas. Some of the tracks use an 80’s Ozzy, power ballad heft that brings to mind Black Label Society trying to play a Coheed and Cambria album. Others bear the mark of a shiny, scattered, trendy electronic interference so choppy that I was scanning the liner notes to make sure Skrillex wasn’t hiding in there somewhere. All of it adds up to the most overproduced record I’ve heard in some time. It’s a damn shame, because Brink is giving her most nuanced performance to date, showing vocal chops that can adapt to any situation but aren’t attached to anything lasting. Blood just doesn’t have the songs; there’s no “Great Divide”, no “The Promise” and most definitely no “Beautiful Tragedy” here.

Pretty but empty, and heart-breaking in the wrong way. 5 out of 10

Deals and Steals: Ladies Up Front, Gearheads Live

Posted in Deals & Steals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2011 by Lightning Slim

  Live industrial sounds and female-fronted bands for the first shipment this year, along with some great TV. All Prices $US. Only $5 shipping but I was dinged with a $17 customs bill thanks to a random inspection. Boo!

Dimension Zero – Silent Night Fever $3.19. Awesome Marduk/In Flames supergroup thrashback.

In This Moment – A Star-Crossed Wasteland $5.59. A perfect mix of their earlier aggression and new lush production.

Wicked Wisdom – S/T $2.54. Jada Pinkett Smith has a metal band. They warned me, but I needed to know. Meh, it’s not terrible.

KMFDM – WWIII Live 2003 $3.20. Basically because I wanted to hear Lucia Cifarelli sing “Juke Joint Jezebelle”. I could have lived my life without it.

The Corner $11.99. This is the TV miniseries that The Wire was based on, and The Wire is the best thing to happen to television since they decided to put a screen on one side. Can’t wait to dig into it.

Rome: The Complete Series $60.99. I needed something to fill that Deadwood void. Came in a nifty book-binding type of case, like a history text full of gore and manipulation.

And the funnest deal of the bunch:

  Ministry – In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up $3.58. Indispensable live document of their glory days!

Weekend Wrap-Up: Heavy MTL 2010

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2010 by Lightning Slim

I’ve had a week to decompress and collect my thoughts about the second edition of Heavy MTL. I think it was a tremendous success by anyone’s standards, featuring some great performances by a truckload of bands and the legendary hospitality of Canada’s hippest city. I initially tried to put everything into a coherent, travelogue-style narrative, but then I decided that would bore the pants off y’all. Here’s the meat of things: 

It's the one that you wanted.

Big Hit: Rob Zombie wiped the floor with the place. In these sorts of festivals, bands usually have enough time and presence of mind to  wander out, play a few songs and disappear again. Not so Mr. Zombie, who brought all the robots, pyro, costumes and video that make him the proper heir apparent to Alice Cooper (Cooper himself didn’t fare so well, conjuring up images of an elderly, croaking transvestite). All this stage mummery didn’t diminish the playing chops of Zombie’s band, who didn’t hide behind their makeup and treated us to a huge committed rock show filled with that thing metal sometimes forgets about: fun. It was interesting to juxtapose the maniacal stage personae with the perfect gentlemen signing autographs earlier in the day. 

Big Miss: Fear Factory, after delivering what might be the record of the year, fumbled their soundcheck badly and then went through the motions in a badly truncated set.  I went in looking for the icing on the tasty cake of FF’s return, only to find it was straight out of the tin. 

Skeletonwitch's Chance Garnette spends some time with Slim's crew

Great as Expected: Skeletonwitch, Testament, Halford, 3 Inches of Blood, Lamb of God and Slayer made the most of their stage time. All these bands have reputations for delivering consistent live performances, and they kept the faith in MTL. 

Pleasant Surprises: Airbourne, as the sole whiskey-rock band between two armies of Metal and Emocore, did much to lighten the mood and gave people their second wind for fun on Day 2. Hail the Villain conquered the crowd with self-deprecating humour and heavier versions of their radio sound, and In This Moment grabbed no small number of new fans with an arresting performance on the third stage. Speaking of third stages — 

Organization Bad: Three stages in competition. I’m old-fashioned, I guess, but I think that every fan should have the chance to see every band. Chimaira in one ear and 3 Inches of Blood in the other isn’t enjoyable for even the most indiscriminate fan. 

"Patches" was sad that he had to pick and choose 😦

Organization Good: Almost everything else! Polite security staff, almost-reasonable  concession prices, on-time performances, great selection of bands. Some might quibble that Day 2 was Emo Day, but I say if you’re gonna have this thing and you want it to thrive you should cram in as many bands as possible. I know that may contradict my thoughts on multiple stages, but it brings me to my next point: 

The Vibe: More important than any one performance or memory, Heavy MTL represents a gathering of the metal community. It puts like-minded folks together to bang their heads, have a beer and talk about the music they love in a safe, positive and party-like atmosphere. Canadians love (and play) metal as well as anyone else, and we need this festival to continue. It’s like our Wacken or Milwaukee, done in our smaller, more polite way. 

Indeed.

So when Heavy MTL 2011 comes around, I won’t be going for any particular band, although I have a ton of suggestions if anyone’s listening. I’ll be going for the good times, good company and that rare chance to be amongst one’s own. 

That’s all for now – I was always taught not to over-analyse anything good. \m/ \m/! 

Don't recall it being "metal -on- your ass", but a'ight.

Deals and Steals: Prepare for MTL!

Posted in Deals & Steals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2010 by Lightning Slim

  As we prepare for Heavy MTL 2010, my friends and I have created a mixtape challenge to keep us occupied and entertained on the drive up to la belle province. Each of us must make a CD for all the others, using songs from the artists appearing at Heavy MTL. We also gave each other scatalogical challenging titles and obscure byzantine rules to follow (mine is that Dio is always allowed, Glassbane wants everything to “sound as Quebecois as possible”, whatever the hell that means).

Since I’m no download ninja and I have a serious used record addiction, I seized the opportunity to grab a bunch of obscure online finds to broaden my options and help me win this mix war. Here’s what just arrived:

Three Inches of Blood  – Advance and Vanquish $5.59. Three-Inch were a hoot at the last MTL, and are now back to destroy more orcs and metalheads alike. 

Shadows Fall – Seeking the Way: Greatest Hits $2.27. To my shame, I had no Shadows Fall in the house to work with. This gets me up to speed quickly – and look at that price!

In This Moment – Beautiful Tragedy and Dream $6.99 apiece. A nice change of pace from a band I didn’t know much about. Rides the Evanescence/Emilie Autumn/Lacuna Coil train; and after a few listens I’ll tell you which car they’re in.

This Moment – Finding a Voice in the Dark $1.07. Clicked on it by accident looking for the band above. The sound sample (gotta love Second Spin for that preview feature) revealed heaviness. I decided that for a buck, this decent hardcore record could hop the border for the chance to be resold, perhaps for three bucks.

And also some MTL-unrelated stuff:

Unleashed $3.77. Jet Li acts like a dog. And a little boy lost. And a badass. Ultimate date movie.

Scanner vs. Signs Ov Chaos $1.27. One of the smoothest operators in electronic music records with one of the strangest. If you know which is which and would like to share, please comment.

  Roadrunner United: The Concert $12.99. I’ve always been a huge fan of RR’s All-Star project. I think the meeting of the minds that took place was a great idea, so it’s only natural that I’d want the matching commemorative concert. Heavy MTL has the same kind of vibe to it – a metal summit to create new friends and new ideas about heavy music.

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