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