In This Moment: A Star-Crossed Wasteland
Original Author: The Uncreator
Artist: In This Moment
Album: A Star-Crossed Wasteland (2010)
Genre: Heavy Metal/ Hard Rock
Neither following in the footsteps of "Beautiful Tragedy" or "The Dream" - In This Moment's third album "A Star-Crossed Wasteland" is 100% progression. Mixing the aggression of "Beautiful Tragedy" and the subtle melodic nature of "The Dream", It pays homage to there roots while still putting a firm message that they are not repeating themselves, And are dedicated to creating something new.
Production and Tone: 7/10
The first thing I noticed about "A Star-Crossed Wasteland" was the major difference in production and tone from there previous release, "The Dream". Which was an album of subtleties - Seemingly basic concepts became more and more complex and vivid the more you paid attention. The production of ASCW is much, much more direct, and primal. Not to say that the production is bad. The tone is fantastic, crystal clear yet melodic and heavy, the solos feel as they each were given special attention, And the clean and acoustic sections ring out with great and powerful atmosphere. But, if you listened heavily to "The Dream" like I did, it will take a few songs to adjust to the much less precise production, Which is once again not to say its bad.
Technique, Composition: 8/10
The opening track, "The Gun Show" is without a doubt ITM's most brazen and heavy track. The sludgy deep riffage carries the song with incredible force. This attitude continues throughout the entire record - While there are plenty of those soft and melodic moments - there are more fast and heavy riffs painting this album. "Standing Alone", "Irony Army" and "The Road" are some of my personal favorites, Classic chuggy riffage that is just plain good. The guitars have definitely made a step up on this record as well. The solos on "The Gun Show", "Blazin", "Just Drive", "World In Flames" and "The Road" showcase this best. (Also, there is a guest guitar solo on "The Road" by Gus G.). From there first release to there 3rd album, you can clearly see them growing as a musicians, in the technical sense, and there music writing. "The Dream" and "Beautiful Tragedy" had only moments of it being a "guitar album", "A Star-Crossed Wasteland" steps this up in a natural progression, With more direct and heavy riffs, and more solos and lead guitar work.
Production and Composition: 7/10
I combine the two aspects that I used for the guitar section for a simple reason. About the only flaw, If you want to call it that, is that the bass is for the most part following the rhythm guitars. For this kind of music, it doesn't really bother me much. Its produced very well and packs a hell of a punch. But for me, I always love a distinct and memorable bass, Obscura, Iron Maiden, Augury, Dream Theater, or Between The Buried And Me. But it would be wrong to compare those bands to ITM, Bottom line - Its going to deliver and give you what you want, Certainly no disappointment and the album would be far less without it, I am just picky it seems. ;)
I love the way the drums sit on this album, I love the snare sound, I love the toms, I love the beats. Its also a lot more violent this time around. With the occasional blast beats and machine gun double bass now peaking in and out of various songs, They pack a punch that would leave the toughest man on earth with broken teeth.
Technique and Composition: 8/10
Much like the guitars, the drums have made a big improvement for "A Star-Crossed Wasteland". More headbanging beats and more epic fills. "Standing Alone" has some great tom beats and is like I just mentioned, violent at times. I think what makes me like the drums so much is how they pack a lot of energy, much more than there previous two albums. The build-ups in this record always lead to and explosion of some major force. Listening to them now through studio headphones, And even in the softer sections of the drums, they always demand your attention.
Production and Sound: 10/10
Not to take away from any of the other plenty of amazing aspects of ITM, But Maria Brink has a voice that is consistently prevailing and excelling in two aspects, Passion and Power. Very few singers strike me on the emotional and personal level that Maria can do. No word goes without putting absolutely everything she has into it, No story is left without a personal touch. Songs like "World In Flames" bring to life the story in a way authors bring legendary stories to life, With a clear and vivid picture left in the reader/listeners mind.
The angry and visceral screams, which purvey in a perfect balance with her crystalline singing, Provide a violent drama and sense of anxiety. "The Gun Show" is classic gunslinger story and her screams provide the right tone for the bad-assness that it deserves. The anger and frustration in "The Promise" is felt beautifully, and alternatively, the sorrow and regret is felt just as powerfully in her clean vocals. The title tracks soaring vocals will leave a deep impression, and leave you in awe. "World In Flames" is one of the songs that can bring a tear to the eye.
The album is a great balance between her two singing styles, uniting the concepts of "Beautiful Tragedy" and "The Dream" wonderfully. Majestic passages are counteracted by violent progressions, all for Maria's best performance of her career.
I find Maria's writing to always be very personal, Even if the song is seemingly not even directly related to herself (e.g. "The Gun Show" or "Blazin"), All the words are constructed just right. "World In Flames" paints a very dark and sad picture of someone waking to there house, and quite possibly there entire world, being on fire - And it plays out as if slow motion. "The Last Cowboy", "A Star-Crossed Wasteland", And "The Road" all paint an apocalyptic vision from a personal point of view. A lot of the lyrics tackle human interaction and relationships, and do so without "whining". And some tracks are just seem to be about freedom and escaping the moment, Which for me - Is just what I need right now!
I think they all speak to something in everyone, in more ways than one. Pay attention, Because a lot of the times, It seems she is talking to you.
Overall Impression: 9.75/10
Been listening to it a few days now, And it continues to grow heavily on me. It has something for everyone, its melodic, heavy, powerful, Its got the epic guitar solos, catchy hooks and majestic choruses, and the unique and creative lyrics that provide a dramatic backdrop for the equally violent and beautiful vocals. If your not a fan, this will make you one, If you are one, then this will strengthen your love for them. "A Star-Crossed Wasteland" is for me, the best release of 2010 so far.