IN THIS MOMENT’s forte used to be the combination of aggression and melody, but on its fourth full-length release, Blood, methinks the California metalcore band has taken a turn for the worse. Their last album, A Star-Crossed Wasteland, hinted at a change in direction with some of its sampled buzz sounds and electronic/industrial beats, but on Blood, there’s nary a metallic edge present at all. Instead, there’s industrialized, sampled beeps, buzzes, squeals, stutters and scratches; synchronized, electronic drums; plodding synth intros and techno dance beats — making the CD excruciatingly painful to listen to. I for one just don’t mix my metal with techno-anything. Maria’s aggressive yet pop-ish vocals on “Adrenalize” makes her sound more like an angry Cher. It has a catchy chorus, but the pulsating dance beats (are those even real drums?) ruins it. On “Whore,” Maria contorts her voice to sound ... well, ethnic, or like a pseudo Christina Aguilera. “You’re Gonna Listen” is driven by Maria’s trademark screams like the ones we’ve come to know and love, but that annoying stuttering synth sound is back. “Comanche” shows promise with a steamy bass line and an angry anthemic gang chant chorus, but with its nü metal vibe and Maria’s repetitive scream, it gets old quick. I have a hard time accepting the band’s drastic change in its sound compared to A Star-Crossed Wasteland. Of course, if you’re a fan of these types of elements mixed with your metal, then I can only assume that you’ll find Blood charming.