A Star-Crossed Wasteland
In This Moment is one of early 21st century America's best metal bands. They didn't start out that way, though. On the band's debut CD, Beautiful Tragedy, they were a regulation semi-overwrought metalcore outfit with a female singer. But on 2008's The Dream, they allowed pop-oriented producer Kevin Churko (who'd worked with Ozzy Osbourne, Celine Dion, and Shania Twain) to bring out their melodic side, and let vocalist Maria Brink demonstrate that she could really sing, not just scream more or less in tune. The fusion of metalcore and retro-minded arena pop-metal worked very well, and on A Star-Crossed Wasteland, they up their game again, recording some of their hardest, heaviest songs ("Gun Show," "Just Drive," "Blazin'") alongside some truly beautiful ballads like the closing, piano-led "World in Flames." On "The Promise," a male vocalist, Adrian Patrick of the band Otherwise, duets with Brink, each one switching back and forth between clean and harsh vocals. The result sounds a lot like Lacuna Coil, but with more emotional power than the occasionally distant Europeans. Established fans of In This Moment will love A Star-Crossed Wasteland, but as their best album, it's also a perfect introduction for a newcomer.