Review: In This Moment – ‘GODMODE’

‘GODMODE’ – the eighth album from L.A.-based Grammy Award-nominated In This Moment – was conceived during the worldwide lockdown of 2020 and the aftermath when the world went to shit (and never really recovered). And it shows. Not just because it is full of anger, but also because ‘GODMODE’ takes In This Moment down a few different paths. Unable to get out straight away and support album number seven, ‘Mother’, which was released the week after the world began to go into lockdown, In This Moment vocalist Maria Brink and guitarist Chris Howorth had the opportunity to take their time and to creatively explore new sounds.

Not only is ‘GODMODE’ the explosive end result of three years of pent-up frustration, but it’s also the sound of a band not afraid to experiment. ‘SANCTIFY ME’, for instance, is just one example of how Howorth has added a progressive-metal touch to his guitar work, and if you can isolate the emotive almost-schizophrenic vocals from the peerless Maria Brink, then in amongst some huge riffage, there are a few touches of modern progressive metal thanks to Howorth and the punishing drum work from Kent Diimmel. Lead single ‘THE PURGE’ is another example. During the lockdown, rather than taking part in TikTok challenges and filming himself ruining John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ for all future generations, Chris taught himself how to program and began to experiment with sounds, especially on ‘THE PURGE’. The obvious choice for the lead single, ‘THE PURGE’ works on so many fronts; the slender metronome-like intro erupts into heavy beats and spoken-word vocals from Brink that at times sounds like a Guy Fawkes mask-wearing anarchist reading out their demands into a camera, all of which makes sense given the possible dual-meaning of the title: purging oneself of all built-up emotions and finally letting go, and ‘THE PURGE’ as in the dystopian horror action movie series of the same name where anything goes.

Maria Brink: “I’m being sarcastic in that song; it was how I feel after I watched the news and every channel is at war with the other channel and everyone’s at war with each other and everything is chaos and it makes me want to go live in the woods. That wasn’t one of the happy songs!”.

There is also a dual side to Brink’s vocals with the sweeter-than-sweet vocals whilst proclaiming “Maybe, maybe we’re all fucked (fucked)/Maybe we’ll all burn (burn)/Maybe we’re all just purging…” working spectacularly in tandem with the jaw-dropping scream that Brinks seems to hold for an eternity. How does In This Moment follow up these few minutes of insanity? With a spellbinding cover of Bjork’s ‘Army Of Me’, that’s how. Led by the same short but brilliant John Carpenter-like synth intro as on the original, the song grows into a pulsating, rhythmic cover that scores highly on so many points, mainly the dreamy vocals from Brink and that industrial, synth sound that controls the tempo of the song. Likewise, in places, ‘SACRIFICE’ is early-Depeche Mode ramped up a gazillion times with the synth both melodic and sinister.

For all the anger and heaviness on the album (the title track totally crushes if you are listening to it through a decent pair of cans), it is the less-harsh moments on ‘GODMODE’ that stand out the most; in some alternate universe the hopeful ‘EVERYTHING STARTS AND ENDS WITH YOU’ – arguably the beating heart of the album – is a James Bond theme song in all but name, ‘DAMAGED (feat. Spencer Charnas)’ is earworm moment-after-earworm moment and the stellar co-vocals between Brink and Ice Nine Kills’ Charnas constantly impress (as do the big-assed riffage), in the case of ‘FATE BRINGER’, lose the harsher side to Maria’s vocals and stick with the dreamier side and the end result might just be the best song that Alison Goldfrapp never sang on.

As touched on earlier, ‘GODMODE’ is the stunning sound of a band trying new things to run alongside the core sound that has brought them legions of loyal fans, and with some of the lighter darkwave/synth wave touches, along with the exposure that landed with ‘I WOULD DIE FOR YOU’ featuring on the soundtrack to John Wick 4, In This Moment could find themselves an entirely new audience. Along with the new album from ††† (Crosses), In This Moment are keeping synth music relevant as we creep toward 2024. Maria Brink and Chino Moreno sharing the stage? Now that would be an unmissable co-headlining tour, make it happen.

Available now via BMG, more details here.


Review – Dave

Live image – Rob Wilkins Celtography

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