ALBUM REVIEW: Ritual – In This Moment

Known for their theatrics, unnerving sounds, and all round eccentric nature, IN THIS MOMENT are back with their sixth album Ritual. Deeply rooted in spirituality, it’s a familiar setting to find them in, surrounded by religious icons, dripping blood, and seductive descriptions of unnerving scenarios.

Salvation opens the album with ritualistic chanting, sirens and everything else you’d expect to hear from IN THIS MOMENT. It ends with crackled speaking from vocalist Maria Brink. The track is only 2 minutes 21 seconds and serves purely as an introduction to the album, and band for new listeners. Of course, the album name Ritual sparks some connotations in any listeners mind, something demonic and uncouth, Salvation’s sound goes ahead and backs up those initial reactions, confirming that is exactly what this album has in store.

In Oh Lord, Maria jumps straight in singing, her vocals reminiscent of THE PRETTY RECKLESS vocalist Taylor Momsen. The song builds and falls gracefully, between pleading vocals that become more desperate until admitting ‘I’ve been laying with the devil’. An accompanying music video depicts a religious ceremony, fire, and lots of crosses to underpin the pleas. And, of course, dripping blood because this is IN THIS MOMENT after all.

Black Wedding, featuring JUDAS PREIST’s Rob Halford, is a dialogue between a priest played by Halford, and a nun played by Maria. The chorus echoes BILLY IDOL’s White Wedding with the line ‘Nice night for a black wedding’, whilst the verses despair at a one sided relationship ‘I would have sacrificed it all for you, I would have bled  for you’. The opposing vocals really play off one another very well, creating a pleasing dynamic. Staccato piano notes thrown in highlight the strain and discontent of those involved, almost slipping into the cracks where you might not notice. In The Air Tonight is a Phil Collins cover re imagined in IN THIS MOMENT’s own style, but a gentler version. The album in general is softer than their previous work, but this song more so.

Witching Hour kicks off with a spoken section including ‘burn witch burn’ immediately setting the mood before Maria’s vocals kick in, gently drawing you and describing ‘not your perfect fairy tale’, making reference to the witch trials, burning, and showcasing defiance in the face of torture. Seductive vocals, a determined drum beat and supportive riffs come together to create this unnerving, dark, and incredible track that demonstrates IN THIS MOMENT’s aesthetic.

No Me Importa (I Don’t Care) really shows Maria’s honest views, she lays down exactly what she thinks and feels. Typically, she is the lyricist for the band and so the lyrics stem from her own experiences and opinions, and this track really feels like a declaration of independence for her and her own personal growth. For many people, the lyrics will ring close to home, give them strength and empower them. Musically, the vocals are prominently featured, backed up by the guitars and drums.

Lay Your Gun Down is the final track on the album and it features heartbreakingly pained vocals from Maria, accompanied by slow, gentle guitars. There are no brutal riffs or extreme solos here, this is raw and honest, a plea for a less violent world. Mostly, the vocals are somewhere between a whisper and speech, with a permanent potential for tears. It may, however, be disappointing for those fans who relish brutality and carnage in their music.

The album showcases Maria’s vocal abilities, whilst acknowledging some of their own musical heroes through a Phil Collins cover and guest Rob Halford. For fans who relish the darker, or more spiritual side of life, with a bit off witch burning thrown in, this album will satisfy every nerve in their body. Containing seductive, unnerving sounds and matching subject matter, IN THIS MOMENT are living up to their reputation and in keeping with previous albums, whilst also growing slightly away from the intense head-banging brutality in favour of an intense, macabre experience. Do not fear, there is still a party to be had.

Rating: 8/10

Ritual is set for release July 21 via Atlantic Records.

For more information on IN THIS MOMENT, like their official page on Facebook.