Ritual, the sixth studio long-player from the Hollywood-based goth-metal troupe, opens appropriately with an evocative soundscape filled with thunderclaps, ghostly incantations, air raid sirens, and tribal drumming, portending an explosive, arena-sized doom anthem. Follow-up "Oh Lord" is indeed combustible, but it's hardly the soaring, overwrought Evanescence-fest that the intro would suggest. Instead, the band delivers a blues-blasted, midtempo gospel banger -- with style and attitude to spare -- that proves once again that Maria Brink possesses one of the most powerful and compelling voices, male or female, in the modern rock genre. Follow-up "Black Wedding" pairs Brink with the metal god himself, Judas Priest's Rob Halford, and the two lay waste to a fun, propulsive, and campy duet that takes Billy Idol's "White Wedding" through the looking glass and dresses it up in BDSM gear. An icy and operatic reading of Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" -- much truer to the source material than Nonpoint's dudebro MMA version -- plays to the band's penchant for melodrama, as does the bold and dark, though ultimately hope-driven closer "Lay Down Your Gun." Sonic and emotional opulence has always come naturally to In This Moment, and Ritual doesn't disappoint, as it struts about in the usual dark finery. However, it's also the band's leanest set of material to date -- most of the material was composed with their live show in mind -- and its moody charms are administered with both muscle and grace.
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AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger