In This Moment 

A Star-Crossed Wasteland

Oh catchy pop metal, why must you sugarcoat everything? Is accessibility really that important, in lieu of originality? For In This Moment, that seems to be the case. The latest from this SoCal group is a slickly produced mix of hard rock and metalcore that's aimed for mass ear consumption. Save for the howling vocal talents of Maria Brink, and a few choice riffs sprinkled about, A Star-Crossed Wasteland sounds mostly indistinguishable from its counterparts in the world of radio-friendly metal.

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Catchy riffs mix with Brink's screams and emo-ish choruses on the bulk of tracks here, like "Just Drive" and "Iron Army." It's unfortunate because these could be ripping tunes, but the saccharine choruses deflate all intensity and make them appear derivative. Still, "Blazin'" and opener "The Gun Show" offer promise—they're the most distinctive tracks, and feature a swagger and tone reminiscent of sludge metal. Apparently, though, the latter song is "too heavy" for radio, according to an online interview with Brink.

At least In This Moment isn't shy about its intentions. And, who can blame them for wanting to break big? I'm sure angst-filled teens or Hot Topic shoppers won't.

In This Moment plays the Music As A Weapon Tour on Friday, March 18, with Korn, Disturbed, Sevendust and Still Well. $39.75 plus fees.

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