In This Moment - A Star-Crossed Wasteland Review
Posted by Lenny Vowels on 07.20.2010
The female-led metalcore band returns with a new album. How does it hold up with their previous albums? Find out inside.
I first became exposed to In This Moment a couple of years ago. At the time, bands like Killswitch Engage and All That Remains were very popular on my iPod, so more metal of any kind would've been a welcome addition. After discovering that they were signers of Century Media, the same record label that signed Lacuna Coil, I was sold before even hearing anything. Even with all of the self-promoted hype, I was impressed with what I heard on The Dream, especially songs like “Forever” and “Mechanical Love.” So it is with a heavy heart that I ventured into their new album, A Star-Crossed Wasteland.
1. The Gun Show
2. Just Drive
3. The Promise
4. Standing Alone
5. A Star-Crossed Wasteland
7. The Road
8. Iron Army
9. The Last Cowboy
10. World In Flames
The album starts off with the rabble-rousing “The Gun Show.” Any intro worth its salt is more or less guaranteed to lay the foundation for the rest of the album, and this one is definitely no exception. It's quite a bit heavier than songs I've expected to hear in the past from In This Moment, but in this case, I can't really say I'm a fan either. Lead singer Maria Brink opted to utilize her screaming voice quite a bit more on A Star-Crossed Wasteland, and “The Gun Show” is a perfect example of such. It works for the song, but it also gets very repetitive after the first verse.
The following track “Just Drive” has Maria interchanging between singing and screaming, although she's still performing more of the latter. The singing is gorgeous, but the screaming had me wanting to press the skip button. “The Promise” actually shows quite a bit of (what else) promise with a duet, in this case with Adrian Patrick of the band Otherwise. It's a nice piece, and amidst the screaming, the dueling vocals mixed with the harmonizing works very well, and certainly gave me the first impression of quality on the album.
The song “Standing Alone” is absolutely rifftastic. Maria still brings the howling, but in this case, it's used as a transition more than a centerpiece and I feel it works quite a bit better. This leads into my current favorite song on the record, the title track “A Star-Crossed Wasteland.” Brink brings the harmony with her singing voice amidst a piano intro, before the rest of the band comes in and does their usual job of kicking ass and dropping power chords.
The metal comes roaring back with the rock n'roll theme that was prominent at the beginning of the album, in the forms of the song “Blazin'.” There isn't enough of a difference from “The Gun Show” for me to not file it under the “more screaming.” “The Road,” however, is a pretty bitchin' song. It reminds me quite a bit of the first time I heard “Forever”: similar singing style, and an amazing guitar solo to boot. It's too bad the dip returns in the form of “Iron Army,” as I'm again reminded that this band tends to do better with sorrow and not anger.
I have to show some love for “The Last Cowboy.” Part of me wonders why it isn't the album closer, as it perfectly captures the feeling of a last hurrah. However, no other song on the album is more fitting as a closer than the appropriately-placed “World in Flames.” Piano ballads with an ascension to an amazing lighter song get me all sentimental. Think along the lines of “November Rain” or “Zzyzx Rd.” and you'll get my meaning.
For a song-by-song analysis, I'm not really sure it's going to do the album justice. Basically, it's a case of the good stuff hitting all the right spots, whereas the rest just doesn't seem to measure up. In my case, it's not just that it isn't as good; it's that I prefer to not hear the lackluster stuff again at all. The album basically has a vibe without having a flow. It sets out to have a certain sound, but while no album's perfect, I've never been a fan of having to skip around unless I'm just tired of a song, rather than flat-out disliking it.
Recommended songs: “A Star-Crossed Wasteland,” “The Road,” “The Last Cowboy,” “World In Flames.”
The 411: As a whole, with this album, it seemed like In This Moment finally took the necessary steps towards becoming a bigger band in America. The album sounds quite a bit more mainstream than their previous two releases. It's not so much bad as it is hit-and-miss. Thankfully, it's mostly a hit. While I certainly can't say I'm a fan of everything on this album, the positive sides bring the goods. Maybe this will be the album that finally gets In This Moment the amount of exposure they need in the U.S.