02. Oh Lord
03. Black Wedding (Feat. Rob Halford)
04. In The Air Tonight
05. Joan Of Arc
06. River Of Fire
07. Witching Hour
08. Twin Flames
09. Half God Half Devil
10. No Me Importa
12. Lay Your Gun Down
I've been into In This Moment since their 2008 album The Dream. I've seen them transform almost beyond recognition into some kind of Industrial Nu-Metal meets Lady Gaga mash-up, which started with the Blood album. In fairness, I totally supported their brave transition, as I don't know where they could have really gone after The Dream without repeating themselves. They took a massive risk and it paid off big time with the Blood album and it's follow up Black Widow. In This Moment are bigger than ever, and I've been genuinely excited about hearing Ritual.
After the intro Salvation, the album kicks off with the first single Oh Lord, which instantly brought to mind The Pretty Reckless (mostly their brilliant second album Going To Hell), as it shares that Southern Blues and Soul, nicely spliced with Rock music. It's heavy but still commercial enough to get airplay and appeal to the mainstream. It's a clever choice for a lead single, and nicely demonstrates the bands ability to cross genres.
Overall, Ritual is a more accessible affair than the two previous albums. It's not quite as heavy and lacks some of the ferocity that has significantly increased their appeal in the Metal scene in recent years. The obvious exception to this rule is Roots, which is one of the angriest, heaviest and most powerful tracks on the album, and my personal favourite. The most commercial track is the Pop tinged Black Wedding, which features guest vocals from the Metal God Himself, Rob Halford. I'm sure it's a track that'll polarise fans, but I really like it.
The cover of the Phil Collins classic In The Air Tonight is also a curveball, and a gamble that I believe worked out well for them. It's atmospheric, and lead singer Maria Brink plays on the darkness in the lyrics with her delivery, as the song slowly builds up towards its crescendo. It's way better than the uninspiring Nu-Metal cover version Nonpoint released a few years ago.
The album winds down with Lay Your Gun Down, which will probably have Trent Reznor on the phone, as it sounds like a mash-up of the Nine Inch Nails tracks Hurt and Something I Can Never Have. I'm sure younger fans won't notice or even care, as they will be swept away by the well executed drama and angst that the song offers up.
When all is said and done, Ritual is a very good album. It may not have been the album that many fans wanted, but it shows a new side of In This Moment and that they're still teaming with creativity. Brave albums like this often receive mixed opinions initially, but I'm sure it will be appreciated more as time goes on, kinda like a fine wine.