Friday, February 10, 2012

Lacuna Coil Tread Familiar Water

Italian rockers Lacuna Coil have been fine tuning their musical machine over the last fifteen years. They are one band that you know will turn out a really good album. They are one of the most successful bands on their Century Media Records label. Singer Cristina “there’s no H in my first name” Scabbia has become known worldwide as one of the hottest chicks in metal. Still, after five albums and countless tours, the band has never elevated to that next level of success and notoriety.

Will their new album Dark Adrenaline take them to that level? Well, let’s take a listen and see what we find. This is the band’s first album since 2009’s Shallow Life. The band went with producer Don Gilmore who also produced their last album. It opens with “Trip the Darkness” and is also the first video released. Musically, it’s familiar territory for the band as it opens with singer Andrea Ferro’s on the first verse before Cristina comes in and then takes over the chorus. The chugging guitars and bass throughout the song are that trademark sound from the band that we have come to know and love.

“Against You” has more of a rock edge to it and the guitar work between Cristiano Migliore and Marco “Maus” Biazzi is close to perfection all the way down to the superb solos midway through the song. “Give Me Something More” is a really catchy song from the band and Cristina’s delivery of the chorus is very infectious. You will be singing along after the first listen.

“Upside Down” is one of the strongest tracks on the album and it definitely rocks. Andrea and Cristina trade off vocals on this track. I like the contrast in their styles, but at times you wish Andrea just had a bit more grit to his delivery. “End of Time” is a power ballad that would sound right at home at album rock radio. This is another great vocal delivery by Cristina on the lead and Andrea taking over on the chorus.

“The Army Inside” shows the band turning up the guitars again on this catchy song. There have been many comparisons to Depeche Mode, especially after covering one of their songs. At times, to me this sounds like what Depeche Mode would if they added heavier guitars; plus a very hot female singer. “Fire” is, no pun intended, a very hot song by the band. It has great vocals, a catchy riff throughout and a great hook in the chorus.

Although “End of Time” would make it radio much easier, I think “My Spirit” is the better of the two ballads. I think it’s a much richer song in composition and Andrea’s and Cristina’s vocals shine on this track. This song has some of the darker elements from the band’s earlier work that seems to have faded throughout the years.
The band is known for doing some great covers in the past and on this album they decided to take on a classic in R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion”. As much as I wanted to like their new version, it just doesn’t work for me. It’s as if they have stripped away the core emotion of the R.E.M. song and turned it into a generic rock song. It really lacks that emotional connection that Michael Stipe made when he originally recorded the song.

So, will this new album vault Italy’s finest to that next level of superstardom? There are moments on here in which they seem poised for that. They have all the right elements working in their favor. Cristina’s vocals are full of emotion and energy and can switch from sweet to savage in note. Andrea’s vocals are great, but as mentioned before, need a bit more grit on the more aggressive lyrics to convey the feeling that is warranted. The musicianship is top notch as always, with the guitar attack being taken to a whole new, heavier level on this album. Although, I do miss some of the heavier, darker goth sound that the band had in their earlier days.

There are a few songs on the album that, given the right push my marketing, could blow up at radio and expose the band to a new fan base. There have been so many bands throughout time that have been on the verge of super stardom, but never got that one lucky break needed to crossover to the next level. Will Dark Adrenaline launch them to the next level? Stay tuned to find out.

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