Southern, California’s In This Moment has been a band in transition, slowing discovering and defining its identity over the course of its first four albums. Throughout the process, which began in 2005, there have been two constants forming the connective tissue of the heart which drives the band; vocalist Maria Brink and guitarist Chris Howarth. This summer, Howarth and Brink, along with fellow band mates Travis Johnson (bass), Tom Hanes (drums) and Randy Weitzel (guitar), will return with their fifth studio effort. The new album was recorded with producer Kevin Churko (Ozzy Osbourne, Five Finger Death Punch) this spring.
In This Moment’s debut album, Beautiful Tragedy, was released in 2007 and pushed them under the metalcore umbrella. Brink would trade off harsh, raspy growls with occasional between sweet, clean vocals—a trademark of the genre. The album was fairly dark in content. They followed this in 2008, with the more melodic and commercial, The Dream which featured radio hits like “Forever” and a revamped cover of Blondie’s “Call Me”. This album saw more clean vocals from Brink and began the band’s ongoing relationship with Churko, who often co-writes with the group.
In 2010, the In This Moment and Churko recorded A Star Crossed Wasteland, which aimed to find a balance between the darkness of the first album, and the lightness of the second. They succeeded, creating the best album of the band’s young career at that point.
In the wake of the tour in support of A Star Crossed Wasteland, In This Moment went through some major changes. Long time members of the band, Blake Bunzel (guitar) and Jeff Fabb (drums) departed to be replaced by Weitzel and Hane. The band also lost longtime manager Rob Blasko. When the band returned to the studio to record its fourth album, Blood, they decided it was time to re-evaluate the direction of the band. The new record found the band becoming darker in tone and adding some industrial elements to their sound.
Chris Howarth talked to AXS Entertainment last year about the changes and the goals behind making Blood:
"Everything changed after the guys left the band. Our management dropped us. There was like this desperate feeling of ‘What are we gonna do? Are we done?’ We decided that we wanted to keep going but there was no management and we had started to write songs. We really didn’t know what we were doing. Our producer, Kevin Churko believed in us 100% the whole time. We knew we had that locked in and finally Kevin was like, ‘Alright, let’s have you guys come out to Vegas and we’ll do two or three songs. Write ‘em up. Bring any ideas you guys have been working on, and we’ll do a demo to show a manager and the record label.’ So we did ‘Blood’ and the song, ‘From the Ashes’. ‘Blood’ was such a departure from what we normally do, and Maria and I were like ‘What is this?’ But it was fresh to us, and that really started the process of us not giving a crap about what anyone expected us to do. It was like; what feels good to us, and what feels different and fresh.
Once Blood sort of happened, it was such a cool song to us, we sent it off to all these managers who weren’t really giving us the time of day, and everything changed. Within 24 hours of sending these songs off we were getting hit up by all these managers; new ones, ones we’d been talking to. It was like a flood. We knew we were on to something, so we kind of modeled the whole album on this idea of being dark, heavy, melodic, like always, but you know darker. With the experimental nature of the song ‘Blood’ it was like, let’s not be afraid. If it sounds fresh let’s go with it. Let’s not say ‘oh we can’t do this because our band doesn’t do this, or because people won’t like or be respecting it.’ Let’s do what feels good, and we weren’t afraid to add the new elements to it. Cause at this point it was just Maria and Kevin and I. Where before we had other input from members who were like, ‘I like this. I like that. I don’t like this.’ So we were pretty much open to everything at this point. That’s how it evolved."
The band even chose to alter its look to a more theatrical image. Offered Howarth:
"That developed in the same kind of way. Once Maria and I were talking about this record and we started working on Blood we were like, let’s not mess around anymore. Let’s do everything we’ve always wanted to do or thought about doing when we were kids, and let’s make this band a force to be reckoned with. It’s like; let’s make this a show and a theatrical performance, as well as a bunch of really good songs. Let’s top this in every way we can. That was kind of the whole idea: Topping everything. You know we really just want to put on a show. We’ve always been fans of like Kiss and Motley Crue and Nine Inch Nails and Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie… Bands that really bring a show along with the music."
With the release of Blood, and the new band imagery, In This Moment celebrated its most successful album and tour cycle to date, culminating in the release of its first live DVD, Blood at the Orpheum. This success led to the band signing a new deal with Atlantic Records. In February 2014, the band got back to work with Churko on an album that Howarth states will be like Blood, only bigger and bolder, while remaining true to the In This Moment signature.
This spring, vocalist Maria Brink was tabbed as a guest vocalist on the song “Big Mouth” for Jake E. Lee’s debut Red Dragon Cartel album. The singer has also been regularly chosen by numerous magazines as one of the hottest or top women in hard rock and metal.