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On disc: Lacuna Coil



HALFLife - Amir Djawadi - 8 stars
HALFLife - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars
Unleashed Memories - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars
Comalies - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars
Karmacode - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars
Shallow Life - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars


www.lacunacoil.it







Shallow Life

Shallow Life
(Century Media - 2009)


The Milanese band is now around for 13 years and while other bands release an album every year they preferred touring and so their last album Karmacode was released in 2006. Now 3 years later they deliver the follow-up Shallow Life. In the meantime they offered some singles, a DVD and a Best-of - and toured a lot.
They kick off with Survive - first slowly, but then the song becomes a heavy, grooving atmospheric metal tune with a catchy hook. Cristina and the guys open up with a song which presents their current sound, but also shows reminiscences to their early days. The following I Won't Tell You starts with distorted vocals and shows them with a modern, danceable sound. Perhaps this is a surprise for some of their fans, but it isn't when you followed them for awhile and know their influences. Some will shout 'sell out', but they walk the chosen path with consequence. This line-up is together for 11 years and 1/2 of them started Lacuna Coil, so they grow together and follow the dream they share. These days they are less metal, but still heavy. Even if I Like It might need a few spins, but then it's haunting you. More heavy is Underdog, a heavy groove combined with metallic riffs and melodic vocal lines. One of my favorites!
A bit different the sextet presents themselves at The Pain. Check it out! Guitarists Cristiano Migliore and Marco Biazzi lead you into Spellbound, but soon drummer Cristiano Mozzati and bassist Marco Coti Zelati support them and together they deliver the playground for the singers Andrea Ferro and Cristina Scabbia. And again it shows that Andrea Ferro improved his vocal abilities, especially when you compare it with their early works! This one hooks you up! No surprise that they chose Spellbound as their first single. A more balladesque and symphonic one is Wide Awake, here they focus on Cristina's voice while Andrea steps back and only adds backings. The following The Maze is another heavy, danceable tune where Andrea is taking over the lead. A bit like Rammstein with melodic vocals... Last, but not least the title track Shallow Life! Again they use symphonic sounds, but in a different way. The song carries a sad note, but its leveled due to the electro beat. This one and some other tracks need time to grow, so give it a few spins!
Everybody who loves their early releases, but haven't listen to their last album should check out Shallow Life first, but if Karmacode is one of their favorites and you still like listening to that one, then Shallow Life will be what you are looking for! I like the old Lacuna Coil and I like the new sound of the Milanese, so I have nothing to complain... Well, perhaps there is something.. The production is quite polished and could have more power... punch... But that's more a matter of taste. I really miss a track which hooks you up immediately... A real ear catcher, but still a good album!


8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt
 

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Karmacode

Karmacode
(Century Media - 2006)


The Milanese band changed through the years, but little by little and so their fans could easily follow their development. This time they are more modern and even heavier. Singer Andrea again worked on his vocals and is now mainly doing clear vocals. This is taking off the rough edge they had and with the angel-like voice of Cristina Scabbia they sound a bit more commercial... On the album opener Fragile is a catchy grooving heavy rocker. These days they have a more modern sound. But they are still very heavy! The next track is To The Edge which has a dancable groove, here they also enclose oriental sounds. It's really catchy. This one has a Nu metal - reminds a bit of Korn - appeal while others are a bit more pop. But they never get cheesy. With the ballad Within Me they slow down a little and people who don't know the Milanse would call them Evanescence wannabes. For fans of the Italians this track is no surprise, coz they always had a balladesque side. Interesting is Closer which starts with a bass line, the band joins in and combines groove with melodies. Here their past shows through, coz this has a gothic touch. Not really musically, but it feels like on of their old tunes. It's touching. In a way this one is building a bridge between their past and their present. Before it closes with repeating the bass line they use a distorted vocal sound for Cristina which adds some moderness. Their last song on the album is Without Fear - again a song with Italian lyrics. I always liked when they do this, not because it is a bit exotic, but it's more emotional. Perhaps because it's their native language... Anyway, another great balladesque track. Last, but not least they offer a cover version - Depeche Mode's Enjoy The Silence. Usually I'm not a big fan of cover versions, but this one is done very well. They didn't change too much, keep close to the original, but give it some heavy guitar riffs and with the vocals of Cristina and Andrea it surely sound different.
These days they are more modern metal then gothic metal. The bass and guitars are almost Nu metal-like, but with the vocals of Cristina and Andrea they have their own sound and don't have to fear comparison with Nu Metal acts. The Milanese have their own sound and they could top the predecessor Comalies. In America this one should be extremely successful. And hopefully elsewhere, some might see this as a commercialization to sell more in the States, but everybody who knows the Milanese knows that this is what they want to do and not what a market requires!
Listen to: To The Edge, Devoted, Closer and the Depeche Mode cover Enjoy The Silence.
Fans who liked the early works and had problems with Comalies won't like this one either. But who liked Comalies will love this one.


9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt
 

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Comalies

Comalies
(Century Media - 2004)


My first impression is that the Milanese sextet got heavier, but still very melodic. A good example is probably Heaven's A Lie. Also it's obvious that singer Andrea Ferro worked hard on his vocals, coz in the first second you think "who's that?" He really improved!
Their sound changed. They are heavier, have a more electronic / industrial sound. But it fits to their music and through the powerful and angel-like vocals of Cristina Scabbia it got a smooth touch. Some songs are groovy, catchy and will keep spinning in your mind. Others sound more fragile and emotional, even if they always very emotional. Everybody knows from daily life that sometimes you are more quite, sad and on other days you are full of energy. A certain sadness is in all their songs, but in comparison with some other bands this won't drag you down into sorrow!
The band got more mature and with a stable line-up got stronger, too. It's obvious that the band is follow their path, doing what they love to do and don't try to satisfy the expectations of fans and label... At least not if they have to change to achieve that!
Another outstanding track is Angel's Punishment. Probably not something you expect from them, but a great tune! Different to the material of their past, but this album is kinda intermediate between their musical past and what might be their future...
They end this album with their title track which gives me shivers. They are close to do their masterpiece. They are definitely on their way to the top!


9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt
 

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Unleashed Memories

Unleashed Memories
(Century Media - 2001)


This is the fourth release, but just the second full-length album of the Italian sextet Lacuna Coil. On the EP HalfLife they presented some stuff which some might not expected. On Unleashed Memories you'll find 9 new tunes and the Italian song Senzafine which was previously released on HalfLife. Kicking off the album with Heir Of A Dying Day where singer Cristina Scabbia sings the major part of the lyrics, a mid-tempo track with an interesting groove and lot of atmosphere before it abruptly ends. Singer Andrea Ferro worked on his voice and shows his new abilities on To Live Is To Hide which also work with the male and female voices to create something different. Even if Lacuna Coils trademark are the singers, they couldn't perform without the excellent backing band they have. Don't get me wrong, I won't reduce the four instrumentalists to be just a backing band! They are as important as Cristina and Andrea! On the slow, balladesque track Purify they build the playground for the angel-like vocals of Cristina Scabbia. But still they use the gender clichés to build up a tension in some songs (e.g. 1:19) with the ethereal vocals of Cristina and the growls of Andrea. I think it's a good idea to put the Italian Senzafine on this album, coz only fans of the band will have the EP and this track is to good and should be heard!
The song Cold Heritage has a special vibe and shows that they can't be labeled as a gothic band which many might do. This band has more to offer and if you give them a chance, they will convince you! But be careful they are like a drug and you easily get addicted!


9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt
 

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HALFLife

HALFLife
(Century Media - 2000)


No more waiting! Okay, partly it's over, coz this time the Italians just put out an EP called HALFLife. The 5-track CD helps to cut short the time of waiting for another full-length album which shall be in the stores this fall. And again the sextet added an interesting and beautiful cover artwork to their music.
The album opener is also the title track and didn't have much surprises. Lacuna Coil do what they can best, they play strong, moving melodies crowned by the intensive vocals of the vocal duo Andrea Ferro and Cristina Scabbia. Next an instrumental track called Trance Awake. Then the first real surprise, a very experimental song sung in Italian! The experiment turned out very well! The title is called Senzafine which means infinite. Unfortunately I can't tell more about the lyrics, but this is a very strong and emotional song. A great way to say thank you to the fans in their home country without punishing the rest of the metal world.
Hyperfast is the name of the next one, an energetic piece of music which is well balancing the female and the male vocal parts.
At least the have a cover to complete this innovative and interesting EP. The sextet choose to cover the DUBSTAR track Stars. The interpretation of the Milanese is really interesting and revive this song.
So, we should say thank you to the Italians to fill the gap between the full-length albums which such an innovative and experimental piece of music! Even if it ain't get easier to wait after listening to such an appetizer....


8 stars

Amir Djawadi
(translation: Claudia Ehrhardt)
 

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HALFLife

HALFLife
(Century Media - 2000)


The Italian sextett offers their third release... HALFLife. After In A Reverie the band of singers Cristina Scabbia an Andrea Ferro present an EP with 5 songs. During the last month the line-up got more stable and the touring helped to grow together which is obvious while listening to HALFLife. This EP is just a filler between the full-length albums, but it not full of fillers! Just time for experimental stuff, experimental for them, but still Lacuna Coil! On the title track the band presents new influences. It seems that Arabian sounds are a trend, but they don't follow trends. It's another song full of vocal duells between Andrea an Cristina. Trance Awake is an instrumental with drift into psychodelical sounds. A very interesting song piece.
For the first time in the bands history they recorded a song in Italian! Senzafine... In my opinion a great idea! The song is more intense than anyone else they recorded. I hope that they will go on and present themselves in their mother tongue again once in a while.
With Stars, a very unusuall song to cover, the band entered new genres and presented the song in their very own style.


9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt
 

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           2008-2010 by Claudia Ehrhardt • E-Mail: contact@ice-vajal.com


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