By Carl Begai

As a 43-years-and-counting old-schooler, In This Moment rank as one the few acts amongst a crop of modern day metal bands to come across my desk that offer up quality material rather than disposable and often laughable kiddie aggression. Blood is album #4 – their third with producer Kevin Churko (Ozzy Osbourne) in the booth – and like their previous record A Star-Crossed Wasteland it’s an exercise in re-invention, with just enough repetition thrown in to keep the hard-nosed “Change bad!” fans happy.

Blood strikes a balance between Maria Brink’s banshee screech and rich clean voice – the focus of every In This Moment record – with the heavy bumped up a notch from A Star-Crossed Wasteland (read: meaty guitars every which way you turn). The band explores a new arsenal of dynamics once again, making good on their reputation for shaking things from album to album so that no two are completely alike. Lead-off track ‘Blood’ shares airspace with Marilyn Manson’s ‘This Is The New Shit’, while ‘Adrenalize’, ‘Scarlet’ and ‘From The Ashes’ are as close to “expected” as the band is gonna give you. Where In This Moment truly shine are the melody-laced in-your face anthems ‘Whore’ – channelling Eminem’s monster hit ‘Lose Yourself’ – and the crowd-rallying ‘Beast Within’. Brink is at her infectious aggressive best on the brutal ‘Comanche’, a song that should really be up front rather than buried in the track sequence. The trance-poked ‘You’re Gonna Listen’ is bound to cause a few conniption fits along the way amongst the narrowminded folks in the listening pool, but any fears of the band sewering out are quickly gone once the chorus kicks in.

The only serious gripe on the table is the band’s oddball decision to use vocal/sample loops in several spots on the record, which actually dominate the title track. Whether it was Churko’s idea or on In This Moment’s wish list, fact is a band that’s made its name ripping up stages around the world isn’t doing itself any favours by using cyber-stutter studio effects better suited for industrial club night or a cheesy Escape The Fate album. The songs in question are far from unlistenable, but they do cause the ears to itch and beg for a taste of the original demo tracks (‘Blood’ in particular). Fact is that In This Moment still have plenty to offer at four albums in and don’t need pop music camouflage to draw attention to themselves.

That said, Blood has quickly become a personal fave in spite of any initial misgivings. In This Moment have succeeded once again on their ability to keep people guessing.

For information on In This Moment go to this location. Blood hits stores and will make the digital world a louder place on August 14th.