Album Review: In This Moment’s “Mother” A Beautiful and Haunting Masterpiece
“Mother is a 14 track hauntingly beautiful masterpiece, a tale told through spirituality, philosophy, and is yet another artistic evolution of the band”
**Photos by David Zeck unless marked otherwise
In This Moment are back with their latest musical offering Mother. The album is the follow up to 2017’s Ritual which propelled Maria Brink, Chris Howorth, Randy Weitzel, Kent Dimmel and Travis Johnson to new levels creatively and made them a can’t miss live performance through 2019.
Mother is the message of commonality no matter your belief, culture or religion, the essence in which humanity and earth function together. Life is a gift given by our Mother, both in humanity and in nature. All cultures, religions, and belief systems share one commonality. Life springs forth from a mother. She bears, nurtures, cultivates, raises, and prepares children for the world. Without her, existence ceases. Much like the earth, life grows, thrives, and survives inside of and because of her.
Mother is a 14 track hauntingly beautiful masterpiece, a tale told through spirituality, philosophy, and is yet another artistic evolution of the band. Ritual combined bluesy sonic rock undertone, Mother breathes the activating mantra of an unbreakable spell. “We are so excited to unveil Mother to the world,” says Brink. “We feel like everything we’ve done has led us to this point and we can’t wait for everyone to experience the next chapter.”
Once again, In This Moment joined forces with longtime trusted collaborator Kevin Churko [Ozzy Osbourne, Five Finger Death Punch] in the studio.
The album begins with an Interlude appropriately titled “The Beginning” which sets the tone of the entire record with Brink saying “ I am the god and the devil around you”.
From there the second track “Fly Like An Eagle” starts and features a groove sound and soaring vocals from vocalist Maria Brink. From the start of the record it is electrically charged and the production, as always with In This Moment, is top-notch. Their record quality is always something I look forward to as everything is so well balanced, from the instrumentals to Brink’s vocals perfectly layered in place with the music.
Next up is the album’s first single “The In-between”, a tribute to classic ITM both musically and lyrically. Instrumentally it holds the nostalgia of the band’s Black Widow era. Lyrically Brink pays homage to the band’s past hits “Whore,” “Blood,” “Sick Like Me,” and “Beautiful Tragedy”. Vocally Brink has moments of seduction and at other parts pure aggression showing she hasn’t lost her ability to unleash her one of a kind scream.
“Legacy” carries a power ballad vibe, unlike anything I could remember hearing from them. The track is slower and ominous in tone. Even when the drums kick in the song maintains the vibe it set forth from the start. The track is powerful, especially once coupled with the guitar solo. It’s one of quite a few songs on Mother that allows Maria Brink to deliver a true vocal performance.
On Ritual, In This Moment stepped outside the box and delivered a unique and fitting cover of Phil Collins “In The Air Tonight.” On Mother, they’ve carried that tradition forward with the help of some amazing women in rock, Taylor Momsen of The Pretty Reckless and Brink’s touring sister for the last few years Lzzy Hale of Halestorm.
The cover is a surprising and gutsy choice, I’m referring to the legendary Queen’s “We Will Rock You”. I must admit at first, I was afraid. Not many people can pull off Queen, specifically Freddie Mercury, and what makes this cover good is the fact In This Moment doesn’t try to. Like “In The Air Tonight,” Brink and company put their own stamp on this Rock ‘N Roll classic. The track begins with Maria and erupts into a thunderous vocal performance by Lzzy Hale and Taylor Momsen. Musically, the song is a fun-filled twist on the original with distorted guitar tones and accompanied by the three most powerful voices in rock music. You can’t ignore how blatantly good it is.
The album’s title track “Mother” is another unique song on the record showcasing the band pushing their creative envelope into unexpected directions. Vocally it’s very different; stylistically it’s another big, strong and passionate chorus driven track. It’s a reassurance to Mother of Brink’s devotion to her beliefs.
“As Above So Below” is the latest single released from the record and personally it’s one of my favorite tracks on the album. It’s catchy, bouncy in nature, and begins with a cinematic organ and haunting whispers before giving way to punchy drums and the roaring chorus “As above so below, what you reap is what you sow, what you give comes back threefold.” And before it’s all over the song features hellish screams, offering a little bit stylistically for any fan.
“Born in Flames” is soft, passionate and instrumentally captivating, carefully crafted with soaring vocals in just the right areas. Maria Brink’s voice once again shines as it does often on Mother.
On “God is She,” In This Moment’s signature sound is on display with doom sounding guitar riffs and thunderous drums. It features the loved industrial feel ITM has perfected over the years. “Holy Man” opens up with a church feel and suddenly dives deep into that bluesy flavor we found on Ritual, Brink’s vocals raspy and ready to preach. Mother also features a guest appearance from another friend, this time Joe Cotella of Ded on the synth-led led duet “Hunting Ground”. Both Cotella and Brink put on an incredible vocal display in a battle format, echoing back and forth at one another
“Lay Me Down” is seductive, heavy in its own way and another example of In This Moment’s willingness to experiment. You can hear various amounts of influence but they make it impossible to pinpoint one particular one.
The album’s closing track “Into Dust” is a complete, yet unexpected culmination of everything you heard before this track. It’s nothing I’ve ever heard from the group before. “Into Dust” features beautiful piano, emotive vocals and cinematic strings, Brink at times giving a breathy vocal performance not often seen. The nearly 7-minute long closing track is captivating, at times you become completely lost in the song’s pure emotion.
Mother elevates the creativity both artistically and musically. It’s a relative of Ritual but not a sequel. Mother for In This Moment is a rebirth, a coming of age and the culmination of all they’ve done up until this point. The album when digested beginning to end is a complete journey, one the more you take the more you understand exactly the story Maria Brink and company are telling. The album contains bits and pieces of the six predecessors that came before it but all in all, it is its own body of work. Through the album’s 14 tracks it becomes clear In This Moment continues to expand their diversity. Chris Howorth, Randy Weitzel, Travis Johnson, and Kent Dimmel have all worked in perfect harmony to create an instrumentation that allows Brink to be at her best and shine in ways I’ve never seen before.
Brink’s vocals are emotional, powerful, seductive, haunting, beautiful and wispy throughout the entire album. Her lyrics are deeper, more meaningful and maybe, just maybe, written for the perfect time given the current state of the world. In This Moment exceeds all boundaries both lyrically and musically, it is the perfect fit in the collection.
Mother, in my opinion, is the best record In This Moment have created, a pure masterpiece. I’m fully aware, given the group’s collective body of work, this is a bold statement however a statement I stand behind 100 percent. The band will soar to new heights with this seventh album and I look forward to watching this album cycle unfold. This isn’t just a win for ITM but also for Rock music in 2020.
Mother is a 10 out of 10 for me
Mother comes out this Friday, March 27th, 2020 via Atlantic/Roadrunner Records and is available HERE!
Album Art by Brooke Shaden