on 16 March 2014
Ok, Lacuna Coil are my favourite band. I will get that out the way. Every album is, for me, essential listening and I adore everything they have ever done.
But I have been a fan for ten years, and when I started they had a much smaller discography, and much of their early stuff is a grower. Don't get me wrong, albums such as Unleashed Memories and the universally adored Comalies are essential classics of the modern era, but I think the next phase of their career, from 2006 onwards, has been just as captivating, and overall more accessible for the average listener.
To start, I ought to mention that 2006's Karmacode is my all time favourite album. Fans may have bemoaned the nu-metal influences that flowed throughout the bands fourth album, but they did so at the expense of admiring the flawless vocals, the poetic lyrics and the absolutely anthemic glory of such songs as Devoted, Within Me and Our Truth. Cristina Scabbia and her male vocal counterpart Andrea Ferro pushed themselves to the max with their voices (which they lovingly described at the time as being their "instruments"), and they truly shine on songs such as Fragile and Fragments Of Faith. Other moments such as In Visible Light and Without Fear are great examples of the bands trademark gothic roots, and let's not forget the masterful cover of Depeche Mode's anthem Enjoy The Silence. This is a a key LC track. They may not have written the song, but they truly made it their own. Overall, Karmacode is a stunner, and as a massive fan of various genres of music I would put this album on the same pedestal as Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Born To Run, Rumours or Tragic Kingdom. Forget the naysayers, this is a truly classic record. For this album alone, by this package!
Next up is Shallow Life, released in the first half of 2009. So much went wrong for the band with this album. Although charting highly across the globe, the bands toying with irony by dressing as pop stars resulted in widespread criticism from metal fans who failed to see the funny side, and the production of Linkin Park producer Don Gilmore resulted in a highly polished, top 40 ready pop rock collection of the lightest LC songs written by that point. Sadly, it didn't seem to make a solid impact, and it can be said that Shallow Life practically stalled the bands continual critical and commercial adulation that had by they point been on a continual rise since day one. My verdict? Its wonderful, not my favourite LC album by any stretch of the imagination but also not at all the dud its reputation suggests. Not Enough, I Like It and Spellbound are absolute earworms, and rank as three of the most catchy and fun songs the band has ever released. Unchained and Shallow Life see the band experiment with new ideas (vocal runs on Unchained and confessional lyrics on the title track), and I Won't Tell You is as much a concert favourite today as well established classics such as Heaven's A Lie or Swamped. In short, this is a more than decent album, with just one massive flaw. Sadly, three of the finest songs of the era are to be found only on the deluxe edition, but I am sure any new fans will be sure to amend the situation by popping onto legal download sites, as Leaving Alone, The Last Goodbye and Oblivion are possibly the best of the entire era.
Finally, Dark Adrenaline. With this 2012 release, the band promised fans a return to the darker side of their musical heritage, and it was a promise that they dutifully fulfilled! Key songs such as Trip The Darkness, I Don't Believe In Tomorrow and Intoxicated pulsate with an infectous sense of anger, whilst not overlooking the anthemic and melodic power of the best moments of Shallow Life. With Dark Adrenaline, Lacuna Coil embraced every element of their back catalogue, and the results were at once spectacular and comfortingly familiar. I may rank albums such as Karmacode or Unleashed Memories more highly, yet this is the first album I would lend to somebody curious of LC. Album closer, the doom-metal inspired My Spirit and the emotional and classy End Of Time are two of the albums highlights. Another red hot masterpiece.
So these aren't the only three albums you need to get. People who love at least on LC album should be able to find delight in any one of the bands other six full-length albums (plus two EP's). But with seventh album Broken Crown Halo just weeks away from release, newcomers could do a lot worse than to start catching up with this wonderful box set.
on 28 April 2014
Being relatively unfamiliar with Lacuna Coil (though I've seen them a few times at Metal Female Voices Fest), I was slightly apprehensive of diving into their back catalogue, so this package of three albums for the price of one was just the ticket for me.
The reviewer before me painted a fine picture of their musical merits, so rather than rehash that I'll add my own few notes.
'Karmacode' is an EXCELLENT album - and substantial credit for that has to go the producer Waldemar Sorychta (check out Eyes Of Eden 'Faith' for another fine example of his work). Listening to this album first gave me very high hopes for the other two.
'Shallow Life' sees LC crossing the Atlantic and I cannot help but notice Sorychta's absence - it's a bit of a mishmash, they seemed to have been overcome by yankee-bland production. Indeed the first time I saw LC on stage, I really thought that they were Americans - very smartly turned-out, very professional, but rather soulless. Clearly the band was struggling to find its way over on the other side of the pond.
'Dark Adrenaline' is a very aptly-titled album, being much harder and darker than its predecessor - LC were definitely back on their feet with this one. No Waldemar Sorychta in the producer's seat, but this is still very good nevertheless.
Two great albums (plus a tolerable one...) for this price - definitely a good buy.