Review : Lacuna Coil - Dark Adrenaline
SputnikmusicSince the release of their very first EP, it was obvious that Lacuna Coil were going to eventually break into the mainstream. Early in their career it seemed that everything went right for them. Their first few albums helped to build them some solid credibility, and with the release of Comalies they had also finally managed to catch the attention of the music-listening public at large. Lacuna Coil’s first real issue arose when they attempted to make that final leap into the mainstream. Instead of continuing to build on a success that had come without compromise, the band decided to integrate the musical flavor of the week into Karmacode – nu-metal. Unfortunately, the band were a little late to the party and the album dropped at a time when even the nu-metal originators were attempting to distance themselves from the genre. As good as a few of the tracks were, it was just too easy to dismiss the thick Korn-influenced bass and start/stop rhythms that dominated a majority of the songs. Rather than succumb to the criticism and return to their roots, Lacuna Coil pressed forward with Shallow Life; an album that jumped headlong into the oversaturated world of mainstream rock. The funny thing is that, compared to Karmacode, the album at least felt honest and built on the band’s strengths.
Despite any nostalgic memories, the truth of the matter is that Lacuna Coil have never been good at much. They’ve always succeeded based on their ability to write moderately catchy tunes performed by a hot Italian female, and that was what Shallow Life emphasized. Based on that observation, it should come as no surprise to discover that Dark Adrenaline builds on that foundation but also reintegrates just enough of the band’s early days to set it apart. That means that all of the songs are still built on a mainstream rock aesthetic and everything that comes with it – songs centered on big choruses, moderately-paced tempos, and fairly linear structures – but that the band have returned a bit of the heaviness and gothy atmospheres, as well. It might not sound like much, but it turns out to be more than enough to allow this album to surpass anything the band has done in years. The first single, “Trip the Darkness”, features some chunky riffing and doesn’t skimp on the heaviness (relatively speaking… this is Lacuna Coil, after all), but also manages to sneak in a dark melodic undercurrent over a huge chorus.
For better or worse, that blueprint is repeated throughout just about the entire album. Each track manages to belt out some decently heavy riffs while maintaining a moody ambience that sets the foundation for the dual vocal delivery of Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro. Their names are worth mentioning because the album’s success (as with each of their previous albums) rides on their voices. This has always been kind of a dual-edge sword because Cristina’s voice has been consistently great while Andrea has come off as a second-rate David Draimen (Disturbed) at best, and a tone-deaf liability at all other times. This wasn’t such an issue back when he was belting out the occasional growl and playing second-fiddle to Cristina, but as the band has become bigger so has his role in the band. It is the opinion of many fans that he has single-handedly ruined certain songs in the band’s discography, but he isn’t all that bad this time around. In fact, he can even be seen as a positive element throughout most of the album by doing an admirable job of providing the edge to Cristina’s smooth delivery. Together they manage to create some very strong and memorable choruses, and help to make the band’s mainstream leanings a success....full text
AngrymetalguyLacuna Coil is a band that I used to like pretty well. I’ve seen them live a few times and I thought they put on pretty good shows and I have a lot of respect for them as a hardworking touring band. Musically, though, I think they’ve been pretty hit and miss. While I enjoy In A Reverie, Unleashed Memories and liked a few songs off of Comalies, their modern sound has developed into something that is really quite derivative of the American nü metal trend—and specifically their last record Shallow Life was produced in a way that sounded exactly like Linkin Park and was entirely unlistenable to these ears. So I have to say that it was with consternation that I elected to start listening to this album in the first place.
But it’s important to remember that Lacuna Coil has three records that I enjoy, as well, and opening track (and single) “Trip the Darkness” shows why. While male vocalist Andrea Ferro drones on in his redundancy, Cristina’s chorus parts are really fantastic and the song has hooks and grooves that are enjoyable. The production is a huge step up from the last time around, as well. While thick, it isn’t overly based on a slappy, trebly bass sound and the guitars sound chunky and meaty as hell and seem more active (hell, there’s even a guitar solo in “Against You”—when did that happen last?). I was actually very encouraged by this track because I really enjoyed it pretty well. It’s not as strong an opener as say “Swamped” was, but it certainly was listenable.
Dark Adrenaline as a whole, however, is almost binary in its character. On the one hand, there’s Cristina Scabbia who I really love—she’s got a fantastic voice, dark presence and an excellent melodic sense. Sometimes she gets this great sharp tone or even harder edge that kind of reminds me of Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs that I really dig (like on “Fire,” “Intoxicated” or “Upside Down”). Her vocals lift songs that are not particularly interesting musically with fantastic performances and beautiful melodies. The two aforementioned tracks are examples of this, but her verse performances on the otherwise banal-as-hell “Don’t Believe In Tomorrow” offer sprinklings of color into the drab gray of the track. Without her, this band could never, ever survive.
On the other side is the ridiculously banal and irritating Andrea Ferro who is more of a disservice to the band than anything else I can think of. His melodies and performances are totally skippable. Not only that, but he seems to get stuck with the worst of the ESL and childish lyrics and some of these get super embarrassing (“I cross the line / the walk of shame / I hear the church bells through the acid rain”—though, in his defense, Cristina has her fair share of lyrics not fit to have been written by adults). Musically, the band seems to live or die with whoever is singing over them. When Cristina is singing, I forget about them, and when Andrea is singing, I can’t stop thinking about how boring they are. What they’re doing has its moments, some cool ideas, some great hooks, but a lot of the hooks feel forced (at best) and the music is simplistic as hell....full text
Loudwire.Lacuna Coil fans can rejoice, as the band has unleashed their sixth studio album, ‘Dark Adrenaline,’ via Century Media Records. The disc is the Italian rock group’s follow up to 2009’s ‘Shallow Life.’
The disc starts off with mid-tempo songs, including ‘Trip the Darkness,’ the first single off the album, as well as the recently previewed ‘Kill the Light.’ Both songs are anthemic tracks featuring singers Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro trading vocals with an impassioned intensity that sets the tone for the entire album.
Catchy, yet hard-hitting tracks, include ‘Give Me Something More’ and ‘Upsidedown,’ with choruses that are bound to replay over and over again in your mind.
‘Intoxicated’ is another highlight, with soaring vocals by Scabbia that create goosebumps and elevate ear drums to a whole new level. As the lyrics “In the world that I’ve created / I’m intoxicated” are repeated in the middle of the song, you’ll find yourself rewinding the track before it’s over in order to hear those impeccable vocals over and over again.
Darker, rebellious, heavy riffed tracks include ‘Against You’ and ‘The Army Inside,’ which highlight why Scabbia and Ferro work so well together as dual vocalists, and why guitarists Marco Biazzi and Christiano Migilore’s guitar riffs and solos continue to stay alluring.
‘Fire’ has a hip-shaking drum beat has a tinge of a dancy feel without losing its edginess. Scabbia sings the very appealing chorus “Let the fire enter / Let the anger start to brew / Let your instincts break the rules / Let it rise and consume / Give into yourself.” Its poetic rhythm and upbeat drum pattern makes the song that more enjoyable....full text
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