Lacuna Coil

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Lacuna Coil EP

Lacuna Coil - Lacuna Coil EP ©1998 Century Media
1. No Need To Explain
2. The Secret
3. This Is My Dream
4. Soul Into Hades
5. Falling
6. Un Fantasma Tra Moi (a Ghost Between Us)

One of the reasons I'm finding the late 90's version of metal so appealing is simply due to the enormous scope of the genre. While most genres seem to peak and then stagnate over a period of years, metal has continually pushed the envelope, restructured and come out sounding fresh. By assimilating a wide variety of influences, bands more than ever have become dynamic powerhouses of emotion, strength and appeal. A good example of this is Italy's Lacuna Coil. While the immediate listen will instantly remind people of the Gathering simply due to good female vocals transposed over heavy music, the band establishes its own identity quickly. Musically, the band glides like a swan through very ethereal (heh heh...that was their former name and a very apt description of the effect of their music) passages that lead deftly into heavier sections, never losing the haunting structures or melodies. There are both male and female vocals throughout this excellent EP, both cleanly sung. "This is My Dream" and "Soul Into Hades" are both exceptionally haunting and cause my skin to break out in goose pimples. Though I had never heard of this band until recently, I will be absolutely certain to keep an eye on them down the line. Simply amazing.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 04/1998

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In A Reverie

Lacuna Coil - In A Reverie ©1999 Century Media
1. Circle
2. Stately Lover
3. Honeymoon Suite
4. My Wings
5. To Myself I Turned
6. Un Fantasma Tra Moi (a Ghost Between Us)
7. Reverie
8. Veins Of Glass
9. Falling Again

Last year's self-titled EP from Italy's Lacuna Coil was one of my favorite releases of the year. Falling into the realm of moody dark rock, the EP was a powerful and emotional piece of work that has had me hungry for a full-length ever since. Unfortunately, this album is a sandwich or two short of a full meal. Several things stand out about this release. For one, the male vocals of Andrea Ferro are occasionally growled and made harsher than on the EP, which unfortunately is going to cause Theatre of Tragedy comparisons, which are completely unnecessary. The band should stand further apart from the path already taken by other male/female vocal duos. Secondly, the songs themselves are lacking the emotional edge that marked the EP. From a workmanship standpoint, they are crafted with technical prowess, but it has a bit more of a color-by-numbers songwriting approach. It sounds as if they punched up "Moody Dark Rock" on a songwriting computer and let it churn out the songs without the necessary heart and soul. For a band with as talented of a singer as they have in Cristina Scabbia, this is simply unacceptable. Lacuna Coil should not be sounding so darned average! The EP proved their potential and In a Reverie has rescinded upon that promise. Sure, the album makes for decent background music if you are reading a good novel but it lacks the necessary pull to draw you into the musical experience. Generic is just not going to fly for Lacuna Coil.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 06/1999

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Halflife EP

Lacuna Coil - Halflife EP ©2000 Century Media
1. Halflife
2. Trance Awake
3. Senzafine
4. Hyperfast
5. Stars

With their latest offering Halflife, we find Lacuna Coil in a state of transition, moving away from their days as a the Gathering-stylized gothic metal band and developing into an electronic rock outfit, evidently. And "Hyperfast" excepted, Cristina Scabbia seems to have parted with the powerful, emotive singing style she used on the self-titled EP and In a Reverie, favoring a more evanescent (for the lack of a better word), and perhaps more "normal" technique. Nevertheless, this is still an enjoyable little MCD that deserves a listen, if you can find it anywhere.

The odd melodies in "Halflife," the first song, may initially sound jarring to fans acquainted with their previous albums, but its mysterious air and Cristina's extraordinary singing should win over most devotees. Unlike most Lacuna Coil songs, her voice does not lead the music here; rather, she sings as if she were just another musical instrument, giving the song a subtler, more evenly balanced texture that imparts an atmospheric quality not really discernible hitherto. Andrea Ferro also contributes his male singing and growling talent here and on other tracks. "Trance Awake" serves as a short introductory to the CD's lone Italian song, "Senzafine." As the title suggests, "Trance Awake" is a techno/trance track with synths over an unchanging beat, a beat that continues on through "Senzafine." The texture to this latter track is also in the vein of "Halflife" - perhaps a harbinger of things to come? But wait, the compositional style to "Hyperfast" is similar to that of their earlier material, with Cristina's vocals once again taking center stage. The MCD finishes with the Dubstar cover "Stars," a mellow song with Cristina flying solo.

Personally, I found In a Reverie disappointing, partly because the band failed to develop on what was a promising self-titled album. With Halflife, they have shown me that they are willing to evolve, and I like where they're going with their sound.

Review by Jeffrey Shyu

Review date: 05/2000

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Review #2:

Three releases (one full length and two EPs) into their career, Lacuna Coil is still failing to fully live up to the promise presented on their debut EP from two years ago. When I first heard this band in 1998, I was utterly blown away by their stark moodiness, strong sense of melody and overall classy presentation of dark rock tinged with metal. However, their followup full length, In a Reverie, turned out to be a rather paltry, trivial affair that suggested little of the promise originally given. Now, with Halflife, the question remains if this Italian band can finally deliver once again.

Unfortunately this does not seem to be the case. While definitely a more appealing listen than In a Reverie, Halflife still contains many of the problems that plagued their last release. On the title track, Andrea Ferro still insists that growling, circa 2000 AD, is a great way to musically express himself. Nevermind the fact that countless other bands seem to share this idea and that it has an idea that needs to go the way of CB radios. More irritating is the fact that the guy can sing good clean vocals and his harmonies with Cristina Scabbia are much more appealing and appropriate for the music than tedious growling. Moreover, this band is better when they move away from simply playing heavier chords and work a more tense, solemn and quiet mood. The more electronic "Trance Awake" is in fact an interesting piece because it explores some interesting territory and segues into the decent "Senzafine" very nicely. Lacuna Coil should pay close attention to how the Gathering has grown over the past few years because the fact is that this sort of music on Halflife has pretty much lived out its full lifespan. I still maintain they are far too talented to continually release music that is average at best. With luck, the band will hit an inspired streak on their next full length and finally get back on the course suggested on the self titled EP.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 06/2000

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Unleashed Memories

Lacuna Coil - Unleashed Memories ©2001 Century Media
1. Heir Of A Dying Day
2. To Live Is To Hide
3. Purify
4. Senzafine
5. When A Dead Man Walks
6. 1:19
7. Cold Heritage
8. Distant Sun
9. A Current Obsession
10. Wave Of Anguish

Bland can be defined as not irritating or stimulating, or, in a more cruel way, dull and insipid. That is what the dictionary will tell you if you look up that particular word. Chances are after 2001, future editions will include a small footnote about Italy's Lacuna Coil, as they are now positively defining the musical vision of bland.

Unleashed Memories is an ironic title as many listeners might have fond memories of how this band originally issued a great debut EP and have only languished away in half-hearted, uninteresting music ever since over the course of a full-length album (In a Reverie) and another EP (the so-so Halflife). Now on their second full-length, Lacuna Coil has completely dived into a style that lacks the energy or excitement associated with any metal but fails to work its way into becoming interesting vocal oriented heavy rock, gothic tinged music or anything else. Instead, Unleashed Memories is the equivalent of elevator music or stuff piped into dentist offices to soothe their patients with music designed to lull the listener into placid stupor. Nothing about Lacuna Coil will appeal to fans who are into what the Gathering used to do or the Theatre of Tragedy institution of mixed male/female vocals. While The Gathering proved they at least had the courage to dive into a new style, Lacuna Coil dwells in purgatory between all points interesting and worth hearing. The band has committed the ultimate sin of being too sterile and bland to appeal to more mainstream audiences but lacks the fire to catch on with the metal world as well.

This is just dreadfully dull. Whatever initial chemistry Lacuna Coil had on their first EP has long been lost to lineup changes and the inability to forge a musical identity that sets them apart from anything but the used bin (where you are certain to find copies of this album being ditched in mass quantities by a hopefully more discerning music fan). I certainly will never choose to listen to this again.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2001

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