Especially for my younger fellow metalheads out there, In This Moment should be a household name - often thanks to singer Maria Brink's special voice and, well, her looks. Musically, the band took another path with their album "Blood" released 2012, which many fans have been critical about. I thought they did quite well with Blood, but In This Moment didn't create something very special in my eyes.
This year, they're back with "Black Widow", an even darker album than the previous, also a more extreme one. The overall feeling of "Black Widow" is intense and very emotional. It even gives the feeling of a concept album around Maria Brink's innermost thoughts and she represents this aspect very well.
I always had a love-hate relationship with Maria Brink's voice, never being sure if she actually is nearly crying in anger while singing or her voice is just completely damaged and she can't hold the notes properly in the next moment. Brink's voice is unique in such a great measure that although she is very surely everything but a crappy singer, you really have to like her voice.
Referring to the vocals, I'm very certain that if someone can't stand them, he unfortunately won't find anything else to like about In This Moment. The music in general is very focused on vocals and everything else seems to be framing them. That doesn't have to be a negative thing, it depends on how you want to see it. I think the band excels at very emotional songs, like the ballads "Out Of Hell" or "The Fighter", or more straight forward songs like "Sick Like Me". This aspect shows that In This Moment are more than just another ordinary modern metal band. "Black Widow" as full-length does need at least three passes to act properly.
I sometimes do have the feeling that the only reason why In This Moment made it big is Maria Brink's attitude and her appearance as an artist and icon. For the band in general, it bothers me a lot how everything doesn't seem to be about enjoying music but about writing hits. "Black Widow" isn't particularly bad, but not a flagship album from the musical side: In This Moment work very differently than any other metal band - I don't think that they start songwriting with guitar riffs - and I'll always stay in a love-hate relationship with them.