Lacuna Coil 2016

LACUNA COIL – Delirium

DeliriumIt’s a well-known fact that hard rock and metal have always had a big following in countries like Greece, Spain and Italy which have led to that there are a pretty large group of musicians and bands from those countries. One thing that has been going through my mind is when the first really big band will rise from, say Italy, a band that will go out and tour arenas around the world and headline festivals and so on. I have heard of Lacuna Coil since the mid nineties, in fact, I had a big crush on lead singer Cristina Scabbia long before I heard a note from the band. The crush is gone since long, but Scabbia is still a drop dead gorgeous woman. The first album I ever heard with the band was Karmacode from 2006 – a damn brilliant record, in my opinion. Without having heard the previous three records (still haven’t), I thought Karmacode was the album where everything fell into place. Not only are all the songs great, but the whole package showed potential to take the band to the top. It was heavy enough for the metal heads out there, but with enough commercial touches to take them past the usual metal community and out to a broader audience. Well, now we know that that never happened, but instead of making an even better record after that one, the quality went the other way. I don’t think that Lacuna Coil have made bad albums, but unfortunately, none of them have been interesting enough either. The band was formed in Milan, Italy in 1994 and today, Lacuna Coil must be the biggest and most well-known metal band from Italy. They released their debut self-titled E.P. in 1998, followed by their debut full-length studio album In A Reverie in 1999. Unleashed Memories came out in 2001 and was followed by their biggest selling album to date (300 000 copies in the U.S. Karmacode is second with 200 000 units) Comalies. With Scabbia and growler / screamer / singer Andrea Ferro and guitar player, bass player and keyboard player Marco Coti Zelati as the band’s biggest focal points (Scabbia naturally draws the most attention), the band have had a bunch of line-up changes throughout the years and for this album they have a new guitar player in Diego Cavallotti. After some half-hearted albums, Lacuna Coil felt like they were on their way up again with their last album Broken Crown Halo from 2014 and this is how I finished off my review of that album: “Lacuna Coil is alive and well and they still have it in them to come out with their master piece. Let’s hope for that the next time around.” Armed and ready, I pushed play to see what had happened since 2014.

The opening seconds on first track “The House Of Shame” comes as a real shock – this is death metal, man! Even though the death metal elements returns here and there, most of the song is more in the vein of the Lacuna Coil we all know. It’s a really good song so it bodes well for the rest of the album. “Broken Things” follows – a heavy, dark and gothic metal tune, yet very melodic and even catchy. It’s a good song, but I would had prefered it without the growling. The title track is on the slower side and actually kind of soft, but there are still lots of heaviness in it. I dig this one, very memorable and it sticks right away. “Blood, Tears, Dust” reminds me somewhat of Within Temptation and it could have been a really good song, but unfortunately the growling pretty much ruins it. They should have let Scabbia sing the whole thing by herself. “Downfall” is more on the ballad side of things and the pop arrangement lifts the tune a notch – ok stuff. “Take Me Home” is also pop oriented, but the Korn-like rhythm makes it stick out. Still, I can’t get a grip on it as it is a bit forgettable, ok song at the most. “You Love Me ‘Cause I Hate You” is slow, aggressive and hard but it still comes in a more ballad-like vibe. It has a decent chorus, but the rest of the song doesn’t do that much for me. “Ghost In The Mist” has a pretty good, clean melody, but the song just won’t stick. It sounds messy and I can’t remember a second of it when it’s done. “My Demons” is one of the better tracks here. Again, I think of Within Temptation and the dark and heavy groove and the melodies are catchy enough to make the song pretty memorable. “Claustrophobia” is a slow and heavy ballad – metal ballad that is – and I find it very memorable. Easily the best track on the album. The album’s closer is called “Ultima Ratio” and is an ordinary Lacuna Coil tune, no more, no less – ok, but forgettable and passes by pretty unnoticed, not the best way to end a record. On the other hand, if you get the deluxe edition, there is three more songs to digest. The first one out is a cover of Madonna’s “Live To Tell”. Just like the original version it is a ballad, but this one is darker and they have Coiled it, so to speak, made it their own and it could actually pass for a Lacuna Coil track. It’s very good and probably the best song on the deluxe version. “Breakdown” is ok, but not anything I’d spend the extra green over. Annoying growl and a pretty forgettable melody is what the song brings us. Same with “Bleed The Pain”, a mid-paced heavy rocker, still forgettable and without anything that sticks out.

It’s quite sad. I thought that Lacuna Coil were on their way up with the last album and they follow that one with this? If I would dissect the album and play one song a day, it would probably work better as there are some good tunes on here. The biggest problem is that all the songs sound to alike, especially the backbone and foundation of the songs and it is hard to separate one song from the other. This album lacks direction and variation and I guess an experienced producer could have helped them with that, but they also needs stronger tunes. It’s a matter of taste, of course, but most songs goes nowhere and fades from my mind too quick, even the good ones do. Also, there’s too much growling and screaming here and when you have a singer like Scabbia, it’s a mystery why you don’t wanna use her more. Andrea Ferro has a limited voice which also makes his clean vocals ordinary and why he gets so much space is beyond me. My thoughts of Lacuna Coil as a huge arena band have been gone for a long time now and this album sure doesn’t bring them back. Maybe Scabbia should go for a solo career – instead of Lacuna Coil or as a side project –  a voice like that deserves more than this (she was fabulous on the latest Ayreon album). A big disappointment, to say the least.

4/10

Other Lacuna Coil reviews:
Dark Adrenaline
Broken Crown Halo

Tracklist:

1. The House Of Shame
2. Broken Things
3. Delirium
4. Blood, Tears, Dust
5. Downfall
6. Take Me Home
7. You Love Me ‘Cause I Hate You
8. Ghost In The Mist
9. My Demons
10. Claustrophobia
11. Ultima Radio
12. Live To Tell
13. Breakdown
14. Bleed The Pain