Following a ground-breaking discovery that sex sells, In This Moment decided to strip lead singer Maria Brink down to her panties, shove her into the spotlight and release an album called ‘Blood’. With songs like ‘Whore’ and ‘Adrenalize’, you wouldn’t be in the wrong for accusing ITM of selling out. Hell, it worked though, as ‘Blood’ reached higher in the charts than any of their previous releases.
Just looking at the sexualised mannequin of Brink on the cover of ‘Black Widow’, you know that this album is going to follow the footsteps of the last. Flipping over to the tracklist, titles likes ‘Sex Metal Barbie’ and ‘Sexual Hallucination’ confirm the nagging suspicion that ‘Black Widow’ is just gonna be more of the same, with extra sleaze.
Right off the bat, ‘Sex Metal Barbie’ is fucking dire, riddled with lacklustre riffs and more post-production than a Michael Bay movie. It doesn’t help matters the lyrics are the band’s weakest to date, and Brink even has a stab at rapping with “I know I don’t belong in this scene / Sex Metal Barbie, Homicidal Queen” before shouting the word “Sex” over and over again. The lyrics of a 3:00AM laxative jingle are more compelling than these.
Mercifully, ITM also created a handful of ballsy metal tunes like ‘Big Bad Wolf’ and ‘Bones’, and it’s truly refreshing to hear Brink use her rough vocals to really hammer home Chris Howorth‘s chunky guitarwork. Though it’s not quite a return to their roots, they’re still great songs that show what the band are capable of. ‘Natural Born Sinner’ also has the potential to be a great song, even if it sounds like they recorded it while Brink was holding in a burp.
But then, you hear shite like ‘Dirty Pretty’, ‘Black Widow’ and ‘Bloody Creature Poster Girl’, all crushing reminders of the irritating direction that ITM are sticking with. ‘Into The Darkness’ features a somewhat shaken Maria chatting with some demon thing and then crying until the song is over. For a punishing 70 seconds, you’re listening to her sob and wail into the microphone. This track single-handedly derails the album more than a comet hitting a freight train.
If that’s not bad enough, the album ends on the underwhelming fart of ‘Out Of Hell’. When the song starts it’s fantastic; dark, brooding, engaging lyrics draped over a tender piano melody. It’s what ITM do best. Then, after the 4 minute mark, the song wanders into preachy territory, ending the album leaving the listener feeling distinctly annoyed and unfulfilled.
While ‘Black Widow’ does have a handful of dynamic and memorable tracks, the vast majority is filler. Have a listen to ‘Big Bad Wolf’, ‘Bones’, and maybe ‘The Fighter’, but just ignore the rest. In This Moment have potential for great things, and actually have done great things with their first three albums. Let’s just hope they’re feeling nostalgic on the next album.
Written by Andy Roberts