[Metal/Gothic] Lacuna Coil – Lacuna Coil EP (20th Anniversary)

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the release of the first EP of Lacuna Coil titled “Lacuna Coil”, released on April 7th 1998. Little knew that 20 years later, Lacuna Coil would have become a reference in the gothic metal scene and a flagship for representing the Italian metal around the globe. Lacuna Coil hit hard with their EP, with a unique vocal duo impersonated through Andrea Ferro and Cristina Scabbia that as today remains the founding members still present in the band line-up.
The EP is a six-tracks totaling a 28 minutes of pure delight in terms of gothic metal. Looking back to it, I would say that the musical style is maybe more frugal than the current direction, in the sense the sound is raw from instruments with little arrangements. Otherwise it is some pure Lacuna Coil, especially when you got into the group via their second album “Unleashed Memories”. They got it right, straight from the first try with this EP.
You recognize great bands by being able to get back into their discography and find the same enjoyment in listening to their debut album or extended plays.


[Metal] Lacuna Coil – You Love Me ‘Cause I Hate You (Official Video)

You have to stop what you are doing right now and watch this official video of Lacuna Coil “You Love Me ‘Cause I Hate You” from their album “Delirium”. It’s an amazing videoclip formatted as a short giallo.

Rarely a videoclip from a metal band looked so sleek and carefully crafted, with an amazing photography (it feels like straight from an Dario Argento movieset), a good acting from the band members and an interesting story plot to follow.


[Metal] A retrospective look to 2016 through my music library

2016 is wrapping up, with it a lot of moves in the metal scene. The classic cycle of life applied again to the metal scene: some bands were born, some bands artistically died but also some drama with the departure of front singers through a laconic note. What I can say that in my eyes, 2016 was a good year for music, a fair amount of good albums and  also avoided a couple of bad releases. Instead of going through a Top 10, I have decided to sort them by new artists, releases, anniversary albums and finally the albums that I avoided like plague this year.

1) The new kids in the block of 2016:
Arcadia (FRA): A new French FF symphonic metal band from my home region. I have reviewed their EP back in September.

Exalt the Throne (USA): That was the biggest surprise of 2016, as they were opening for Epica during their gig in Dallas last February. A great blend of soprano with engaging melodic death melodics. I reviewed their album “Long Live The King” back in June.

Mercy Isle (USA): Who said that the USA was lacking FF metal bands? Mercy Isle dispel this misconception, offering a diverse and engaging first album “Undying Fire”. I reviewed this album back in November.

Midnight Eternal (USA): What would happen if symphonic metal and power metal have a offspring, with a drop of “manga” culture in it? Well it gives you Midnight Eternal and a very nice first album named “Midnight Eternal”. I reviewed this album back in November and you can check their sound here.

Rhenium (UK): Bands made by one person are rare, gothic metal bands made by a single person are even more these kind of rare birds. Yet that did not discovered Christina Rhenium to take the plunge and launch her first EP “Rise Above the Sea”. That gives some promising gothic metal ahead.

Santa Marta (USA): Technically, it is not a new band. But it is a new band formed by Mary Zimmer (ex-Luna Mortis (Ottoman Empire)/ex-White Empress). Mary brings on the primal rage, the nihilism and the sorrow that was her trademark in the previous band. Eager to see the rest coming.

Thy Shade (USA): Let’s be honest, Symphonic is slowly and surely becoming a saturated genre, raising the bar higher and higher. Thy Shade is unique in her style, by taking a neoclassical approach to their style giving this majestic opera-style with guitar riffs. It got the album of the month in November and you can check the review.

2) Bands that performed in town:
I have to be honest leaving in the Midwest means driving a good 2 to 5.5 hours for attending a metal concert. This was the case when I attended Epica, Nightwish and Ghost live performances. But sometimes, some small bands stop here and animate Yellow City with some good metal stuff. Two bands that caught my attention during their stop.

Scarlet Canary (CO): A small but nice rock/metal band fronted by Hannah, singing some covers and some of their songs. Bringing the fun in town, with a good dose of shot!

Singularity (AZ): They were part of a summer tour named “Make America Shred Again”, that was certainly the best band of the tour, playing some nice technical death metal and having a rad astrophysic tee 🙂

3) Bands that I discovered this year:
These are bands that have been hanging for a while but get introduced to either through some meta-projects or simply by being exposed to their material.

Ahab (GER): 2016 was certainly the year i digged into doom. But not all doom are equal, I am really in stuff that plays on the melodics. Among the band I have discovered, Ahab is just simply impressive. Melancholic and depressive. One of those albums you want to listen when life threw you lemon in a rainy and cold day, just grab them, slice them and squeeze one in your Jaegermeister to bring on the sufferance.

Evig Natt (NOR): Evig Natt has been hanging for a while and I am still wonder how did I miss them. They are simply awesome gothic/doom metal bands that through Kirstin can percolate emotions. Their last album “Evig Natt” is a remarkable album. Want to bet how awesome they are? Listen to “Wildfire”

Gojira (FRA): You could not miss Gojira this year with their latest album “Magma”. A very nice and refined progressive death metal album, very nicely crafted that brings some variety in my library. Check them out.

Kalidia (ITA):  When I think Italy and metal, I have two bands that comes in my mind: Lacuna Coil and Rhapsody of Fire. This year, I added another band to my list: Kalidia. Fronted by Nicoletta Rossellini, they are delivering with their first album “Lies Device” delivering some nice melodics. Just check them out, you will not regret it.

My Dying Bride (UK):  My Dying Bride is surely known from any gothic metal enthusiasts, especially if you are familiar with Anathema and Paradise Lost. For some reasons that I am trying to understand, I never got proper introduced to this band until this year, although I have been listening to Anathema in their early years. I liked the early years of Anathema but then I dropped the ball as they went into a more alternative rock. In opposite, My Dying Bride maintained their gothic and doom metal influence, giving this nice melodics.

Nawather (TUN): Nawather is a Tunisian metal band that really marked my mind earlier this year with the release of their album “Wasted Years” by nicely blending their MENA  origins through the addition of the Qanun (this horizontal type of guitar played with a metallic finger tip) with metal and also by singing in Arabic.

Vivaldi Metal Project (INT): Vivaldi Metal Project was a neoclassical metal project that involved several metal artists in re-creating the Vivaldi “Four Seasons”albums that nicely blended the classical composition with a good kick of metal in it. I reviewed this album earlier this year

3) Albums that filled my disc library 

There are been several good albums that came out this year from established bands this year. I will not talk much about since they have been extensively reviewed in my blog and you go through.

Epica – The Holographic Principle: If I am correct, the best-rated album of the year. That was a damn good album, with Mark Jansen investing heavily in it making another masterpiece of my Epica library. So many good songs that I will be redundant to review them again. “Universal Death Squad” being one my favorite and you can listen to it below to assess by yourself the epic in Epica.

Lacuna Coil – Delirium: It was certainly the best surprise of this year (with Metallica) as it was a long time since Lacuna Coil impressed me with an album (the last one that I found still enjoyable was Karmacode released…..in 2006). “House of Shame” is certainly the best track of the album, with an insane Andrea and a serendipidic Cristina, giving you this rollercoaster between euphoria and complete depression.

Metallica – Hardwired….to Self-Destruct: 2016 was certainly the big return of Metallica after 8 years of hiatus in the production of their new album. A lot of expectations on this one as the band was split between two choices: renewing with the old fan base (thrash) or keeping on exploring new horizons (alternative metal) more accessible to the lay audience? Metallica with this album a compromise to conciliate the two camps. It was a good album, some great songs, some okay songs. The album is originally split on 2CDs, I felt it was a bit too much and could have fit in 1 CDs if the songs were kept below 5 mins each (you had the feeling that some songs were just stretched to fit over 5 mins). You can check my review on that one. One of my favorite? “Spit Out The Bone”, damn good ol’ thrash Metallica.

The Agonist –  Five: Second album with Vicky Psarakis, replacing Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy). Good, solid album that reinforce Vicky’s credentials to sing cleans and growls,in the direct continuation of Eye of Providence.

4) Albums that celebrated their anniversary

2016 has been a good year to mark milestones on several bands in my disc library.

10th Anniversary: Delain – Lucidity (the best album in my opinion)

20th Anniversary: Arch Enemy – Black Earth (the first album by Michael Amott following his departure from Carcass); Anathema – Eternity (a pivotal album in their discography); Therion – Theli (the album that threw the framework for Symphonic Metal).

30th Anniversary: Candlemass – Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (the first album that set up the basis for Doom Metal); Metallica – Master of Puppets (the Metallica masterpiece by its transition from thrash into the powerful guitar solo of Kirk Hammett); Slayer – Reign In Blood (pushing the limits of speed metal and also one of the release that shook the suburban moms).

5) The good, the bad and the ugly: albums that were insipid and terrible
2016 have also seen some of the most terrible releases, insipid or completely senseless. Sirenia has certainly make the major mistake to dump Ailyn as a broken doll. Karma is a bitch and honestly “Dim Days of Dolor” sounds terribly bad.
Another disappointing album was from Sonata Arctica. It was been a while since the band produced a decent album and “The Ninth Hour” is certainly not the one that will bring back the former glory. Too bad.

[Metal] Lacuna Coil – Delirium (85%)

Today Lacuna Coil released their 9th album entitled “Delirium” today. Earlier this year, Cristina and Andrea announced that this album will be much heavier than their more recent release.
At their 18th year anniversary of their freshman album “In Reverie” and an important change in the line-up, how does the band stands with this 9th album?

Well, you gonna have to read this post to get my thoughts (after keeping it in loop in my office and in my car the whole day). The short answer? It is heavy and loud, much heavier than their previous releases.
The long answer? It is a good album, much more metal than their previous release but still I wish they went further back to their roots that made their first albums “In A Reverie”, “Unleashed Memories” or “Comalies” such a great experience. Because the album have a heavy thematic on asylum and mental insanity, I have decided to cluster the album into different categories of mental illnesses.
The album starts with “House of Shame”, certainly one of the best songs of the whole album. It feels like suffering from a maniaco-depressive episode, being shaken by Andrea brutal tones nicely reflecting  the guilt and shame that someone undergo when hit by depression episode. Andrea symbolizes the darkness and hostile feelings you get during a depressive. Such episode is nicely alternating with the clean and angelic voice of Cristina and spartan musical arrangement giving this nice feeling of euphoria. With Cristina, we have wings of euphoria, heading to the lights of heaven. This stark contrast between Andrea and Cristina nicely play on the bipolar aspect.
The asylum visit continues with “Broken Things”, “Delirium”, “Take Me Home”, “You Love Me ‘Cause I Hate You”, “Live To Tell” that are representative of the Korsakoff syndrome: the ability of someone to remember the past and very old events but cannot recall recent events. It is like relistening to the early years of Lacuna Coil and kind to occulting their more recent release. Oh man, listening to “Downfall” and “Claustrophobia”  made me feel so good to listen to the Lacuna Coil I fell in love during my college years. That Lacuna Coil that was playing on gothic metal thematics of melancholy and went gone into memory lane as they watered down their artistic direction to be more accessible as I  went further down the rabbit hole into metal Wonderland.
Some tracks are made to feel being into a schizophrenia panic like “Ghost in The Mist”, “My Demons”, “Ultima Ratio” with voices and hallucinatory sounds assaulting your mental self-consciousness. It puts your auditory cortex into a rollercoaster ride that you cannot predict the next turn or loops you will experience. Being shattered between contradictory thoughts and cognitive processes.
The album overall is good, it is damn heavy and yet fairly accessible. My own personal bias is that such album sounds perfectly suited for being aired on the US radios, it has this sound of hard rock/metal that you grow accustomed to listen on the US FM stations.
However, this also mean you have several songs that sounds the same with little variations, giving the feeling of deja vu, especially a certain number of songs repeating the magic formula of “House of Shame” that saturate your hippocampal region and caudate nucleus fast enough.
Nevertheless, this album gets the title of “Album of the Month” for really brining memories from my youth, when I was discovering the voice of Anneke (The Gathering) and got introduced to Cristina via a bootleg CD of “Unleashed Memories”.

[Metal] Lacuna Coil – House of Shame (Lyric Video)

Lacuna Coil next album “Delirium” is a couple of weeks shy away from release and to tease on their latest release released the lyric video of one its track “”House of Shame”.
Lacuna Coil told in interviews that their next release will be heavier and bolder than their recent releases. I liked the gothic metal Lacuna Coil from their freshman and sophomore albums “In Reverie” and “Comalies” but disliked not their artistic direction taken with “Code Karma”.
After listening to their lyric video, is my mind changed? Well I can tell. They pledged a heavier album. It is damn heavy, almost lurking into the boundaries and style you would find in death and doom metal: growls, heavy and loud bass and drums. Some people found it was sounding like Lamb of God or Slipknot, I felt it was sounding like Kataclysm or like a typical American metal band: loud and aggressive.
Andrea set the tone, by starting it loud and aggressive. Followed by Cristina’s voice. This is what I found the magic of the track that have put some neural circuitry into a frenzied positive feedback loop. Andrea brings the loud and the darkness of a storm, something that you experience when your loosing sanity and slowly falling into a delirium tremens. Cristina comes in and contrast it, bringing a clean and purified sound, feeling like a ray of light breaking through the heavy clouds of mental darkness. It gives this euphoric feeling of free fall, nicely matching with the lyrics “sometimes, you will fly with me again”.
It has been over 10 years I did not add an album from Lacuna Coil. Is this album gonna be the deal-breaker? I don’t have an answer yet but it looks very promising. I will wait to preview the album before clicking on the purchase button. But with this one, Lacuna Coil played nicely a wild card. Well played Lacuna Coil, well played.