In This Moment has been one of my favorite bands for a short while now. I first heard the amazing single "Beautiful Tragedy" from their debut album (also called Beautiful Tragedy) and enjoyed that album, despite it's flaws. Their second album, The Dream, really showed me what this band is capable of. In This Moment is every extreme - from heavy to melodic, and from softness to screaming.
In This Moment's third album released yesterday, A Star-Crossed Wasteland, did not fail to show these extremes.
The first song and single from A Star-Crossed Wasteland is the heaviest song In This Moment has ever done - that is not only my opinion, lead vocalist Maria Brink has said the same thing. In fact, this song actually managed to give me a headache. It's called "Gunshow" and its heaviness isn't the only thing that makes it different. It's lyrics are also extremely different than the typical poetry of In This Moment - cowboys are the center of the whole thing, and no singing is heard. That's right. It's all screaming. Despite Maria is probably the best screamer I've ever heard, this song isn't the most tolerable if you're not in the mood to hear her make up for the loss of screaming in the previous album all in one song.
"Just Drive" is the next track. This song reminds me a lot of older In This Moment songs, and it's good to have a bit of their old sound back. Even though they've evolved, In This Moment can still pull off showing off the style used in Beautiful Tragedy.
Third comes "The Promise"; a combination of singing and screaming. The guitar riffs are especially cool in this song, and we all get a surprise. Fabulously sung male vocals from one of the guys! Both voices fit together perfectly.
Next, we have "Standing Alone". Something about this song is empowering, yet it is sort of saddening. Heavy, epic riffs echo behind Maria's strong vocals (and occasional screams).
The title track of the album, "A Star-Crossed Wasteland", is my favorite track of the ten, and the very middle of the album. Heck, it may even be their best song EVER, to my opinion. It opens with sweet, dark piano, and slowly picks up the pace. Maria's voice is especially haunting, sewing itself into the fabric of the music. And somehow, the chorus, though with more major chords, winds itself in just as well. If you were to combine In This Moment with Evanescence, it could sound something like this.
The sixth track is entitled "Blazin'". In all honesty, the bubble-gum title made me afraid of this song at first. But, In This Moment still remains hardcore, with plenty of screaming in store. This is what I would call a metalcore party song. "We're not gonna stop tonight, we're gonna burn this city down!"
"The Road" is definately not the heaviest track, but it is still In This Moment. Again, we have more backing male vocals that fit well with Maria's voice, which is quite sweet in this song. This song fades out during an impressive guitar solo that would probably blow us away during a live performance.
"Iron Army" is addictive. It's quite powerful, in term of lyrics, melody, Maria's vocals, and even the additional male vocals. It's machine-like rythm gives a Tool feel, but since it's melodic, it makes it In This Moment.
As I mentioned for "Gunshow", cowboys seem to be the center of attention. In "The Last Cowboy", you know right away. No surprise there. But, Maria does a lot of narrating in the verses, speaking of one particular cowboy. She does this very well; she should do something with narration in films. Of course, she does not narrate the entire thing. When she sings, it's the same Maria we know and love. She holds notes out and does very well, as usual.
The last song is opened with a pretty piano part. "World In Flames" is the mellow song from A Star-Crossed Wasteland, even though its title makes it seem like it would be a heavy apocalypse theme. Instead, it's about having someone there for you, even when the world is enflamed. I really should have known, because this In This Moment always ends their albums delicately with a slow one. At the end, you hear Maria below it out like never before. Between her voice and the guitars, I got a couple chills.
A Star-Crossed Wasteland is In This Moment like never before. Maria is like Superwoman, being able to both sing and scream so well. Each song is very different, whether it's about cowboys or something so, so much deeper. It is a mixture of sounds that all speak for themselves, yet they are still threads of In This Moment.
I think this may be the best of In This Moment's three albums.