Metalcore, screamo, and hardcore have been very male-dominated; so when In This Moment, a band with a female lead vocalist (Maria Brink), made an abundance of metalcore and screamo moves on their debut album, Beautiful Tragedy, the very fact that they were combining metalcore and screamo elements with female lead vocals made them stand out. But In This Moment decrease the metalcore and screamo elements considerably on their sophomore album, The Dream, which was produced by Kevin Churko and is decidedly more commercial and mainstream-sounding than its predecessor. Churko is hardly someone who has worked with underground bands exclusively; his pop-drenched résumé ranges from Ozzy Osbourne to Britney Spears, Ringo Starr, Lisa Marie Presley, Celine Dion, and Shania Twain. And under Churko's direction, In This Moment receive a stylistic makeover that is somewhere between the melancholy introspection of Evanescence and the 1980s arena rock grandiosity of Pat Benatar and Lita Ford. Occasionally, there are some metalcore and screamo moves on this 2008 release; Brink offers a clean vocals/extreme vocals contrast on "The Great Divide," for example, and gets into some abrasive screaming on that track. But on the whole, The Dream isn't as heavy as Beautiful Tragedy; at least 95-percent of Brink's vocals are clean vocals this time, and most of the songs have little relevance to either metalcore or screamo. But while some fans of Beautiful Tragedy will no doubt cry "sellout," the bottom line is that The Dream is a well-crafted, well-executed alternative rock/alternative metal effort. Churko definitely makes In This Moment more commercial and more accessible by mainstream standards, but he doesn't make the Los Angeles residents sound generic or mechanical. In fact, Brink's ability to bring to mind Evanescence's Amy Lee, Benatar and Ford all at once is a plus; that combination of influences is both attractive and intriguing. And even though some fans of metalcore and screamo will lament the band's pop-friendly makeover, that doesn't make The Dream any less excellent. Churko has clearly done right by In This Moment.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson