What’s clear upon a first listen of In This Moment‘s “Black Widow”, and for first listeners, is the extraordinary voice of Maria Brink. Whilst singing normally she displays an exceptional range but can flip the switch and turn into a wailing banshee upon demand; the rasp she adds on the more powerful notes, see ‘The Fighter‘, are fantastic.
There are plenty of memorable melodies in “Black Widow”; ‘Big Bad Wolf’, ‘Sex Metal Barbie‘, and ‘Dirty Pretty’, fit this bill. What is wrong however is the momentum, the slow intros stop the pace the album could have; taking away a couple seconds would make the whole album easier to digest and listen to in one sitting. Instead, it feels like a combination of tracks that could have been on any album, instead of an entire album reflecting the band currently.
As aforementioned it’s anthemic and with that comes a huge dosage of production. Slick with it in fact. Though it sounds great, it depends on who’s ear are listening; it can sound too unnatural having such slick production, but ultimately every track is 100% pristine and the eager fans will likely embrace the catchiness and high production values. The high production balances well with the more industrial sound.
Regardless of whether the album is good or not, what is sadly unavoidable is the focus on Brink. As with many modern rock bands with female vocalists; Halestorm, The Pretty Reckless, if you took away the female vocalist the music would nowhere near be as good. “Black Widow” is a success and will likely launch In This Moment into wider territories, perhaps even internationally, but, more a cause for concern for other bands, there needs to be a greater emphasis on substance in music. An attractive female lead is great to watch and it’s even better if they can actually sing, like Brink, but there needs to come a point where bands like this are not “female fronted rock band” but just a “rock band”.
It is, as previously mentioned, catchy. Really catchy. And, as far as popular metal albums go there’s enough melody to get more non-metal fans into heavier music, female fronted bands benefit even more so from this. The disjointed pace, however, is definitely a main criticism.