FTL: In This Moment - Ritual (2017)

Some time ago I did one or two "first time listen" things, where I was listening to a new record for the first time and wrote one or two sentences to each song on Twitter. It's quite fun actually to do these things and they are quickly done, where I do not need to prepare for (meaning these are purposefully shallow), read up on stuff, do research in a way and such. Looking back on these in a year or two when a record grew on me could be fun as well, or when I write my yearly music summary I could reference these.

In other words, they seem a good fit for a few irregular posts on this very regularly updated blog. Well, let's start!

1. Salvation

  • Instrumental intro. Not a fan of those. At all.
  • Very minimalistic, some thunder for the coming storm to set the gloomy atmosphere of previous singles/their videos here and there
  • At around 1:20 a voice is mumbling something...is it..perhaps something like...boring?

2. Oh Lord

  • Was a single before, so not really a first listen
  • Very slow song
  • Makes me wonder what the hell this band is actually up to, Black Widow was sex sells and now we got this, the exact opposite
  • Refrain reminds me of newer KoRn (w/o Head) in their better moments and sounds actually amazing but I can't really find anything in this song besides the refrain to keep me interested
  • Meh.

3. Black Wedding

  • Piano or keyboard, sounds nice but a bit too pop-y for ITM
  • Catchy rhythm but still way to pop-y
  • For a feature song with Rob Halford it sounds surprisingly very different than I would have thought
  • Half-way through it really is catchy, good mood making song
  • Can see myself humming to this every now and then, even though it's too pop-y
  • Reminds me of a particular other song but I can't exactly point my finger on what song, but the guitar riff at the end sounds extremely familiar
  • Did I mention it's very pop-y?
  • Outro in form of Maria saying something about the holy spirit, odd, very odd

4. In The Air Tonight

  • Cover song and was released beforehand
  • Simply garbage, the song itself is good but the cover is terrible
  • Doesn't do the original any justice - skip

5. Joan Of Arc

  • Intro and instrumentals sound rather experimental
  • Yet again very catchy but still not really heavy
  • Yep, another pop song
  • Black Wedding is better
  • Nothing really happens here, well, technically it is but nothing really develops, gives a monotone feeling
  • Again some voiceover in the (middle of the) song, I sense an annoying pattern

6. River Of Fire

  • Pop was one theme for this record as it seems
  • Again a bit experimental in the very slow instruments and a lot of sprechgesang
  • Bores me, weakest song after #4, skip

7. Witching Hour

  • There's a great record with this name by The Vision Bleak, but here we get some voice over again *sigh*
  • Guitar riffs are again recycled from another song/band (unintentionally I'd say in this case), I'd like to say Oomph! but I am not 100% sure...
  • Instrumentally it sounds interesting but ehh, it's boring me, a lot of this is boring me and I had high hopes, didn't expect another Black Widow but some heavy stuff at least, haven't found it so far

8. Twin Flames

  • Longest song with around 5mins
  • Acoustic guitar, aspirating voice
  • Weirdly cheap sound effect in the background
  • More sprechgesang, in the pre-chorus some very high-pitched singing, clear contrast to the beginning
  • While I can at least understand why ITM did most of the previous songs, this one is a bit unexpected in its softness
  • That weird sound effect again, who mixed this?
  • Nope, skip

9. Half God Half Devil

  • Best intro yet
  • A bit heavier, again sounds a bit like KoRn, no, wait, Eisbrecher
  • Sprechgesang ... for a change
  • Too calm in the chorus but still somewhat catchy
  • and it turns into another pop song
  • I somehow like it considerably, despite its weak points and there are many
  • Perhaps best song so far

10. No Me Importa

  • Sprechgesang, yay, usually I like it, but it's like Maria is not even trying here
  • Probably slowest rhythm so far, need to re-listen to In the Air Tonight to assess this
  • I don't really care for this song

11. Roots

  • Another single
  • Another interesting song, somewhat experimental
  • Only song where I sense at least some effort in bringing some emotion into this with vocals
  • The whole record seems to be a step back in terms of heaviness and speed
  • Okay song, nothing outstanding but okay
  • Though, the talking in the middle annoys me greatly but you need something to break the monotony, right?

12. Lay Your Gun Down

  • Intros sound mostly the same, piano or keyboard, some sprechgesang
  • Seriously, the sprechgesang got old in the first few songs already, it is usually a great part in ITM songs but come on
  • As outro song this is the opposite to the intro, where the "storm" was coming with the thunder, this song feels like that time when the raining stopped and the clouds disappear/sky's clearing up, giving way to the sun, really nice idea, but another boring song

Conclusion

Very disappointing record.
Main themes were: pop, calm/slow, experimental, sprechgesang
I have no problems with songs being experimental but feels like ITM were jamming, got some good ideas (or simply recycled other band's riffs) but didn't go far with these ideas.
And Maria Brink isn't trying in 9/10 of these songs. Runtime is with 49 minutes borderline acceptable as well. Too bad, really.