There’s not a band that have made it out of their bedrooms who aren’t loved by someone as equally as they’re hated by another and in the genre of rock this rule applies all the more. Lacuna Coil is one of these polarising forces who sit beneath the likes of goth-rock megastars Evanescence, sweeping up some of the same straggling fan base while other home-made critics blast them for being a bit too nu-metal, a bit too cheesy or for not growling enough but unfathomably singing. For me, I’ve always preferred Lacuna Coil to the other leading bands in their genre, mainly because of Cristina Scabbia’s incredible voice, but also for their quirkier, atmospheric song writing offerings such as old personal favourites Falling again and Senzafine.

Now on their sixth album ‘Dark Adrenaline’, the band’s style seems to be verging more towards a straighter rock scene, the first track opening with force and typical drama – none of this slow, haunting beauty so far. They’ve taken more of a bolshie lunge onto the speakers, along with a slightly grating, if not just plain annoying high pitched peel from Scabbia masquerading as a hook. Not a great start, in my opinion.

…a few solos peppered here and there improve the record no end and serve to break up some of that wall of noise…

For the most part the album is full of hammering riffs and surprisingly expressive guitar playing – a few solos peppered here and there improve the record no end and serve to break up some of that wall of noise that other songs are lumbered with crawling up against. For the first two tracks Scabbia’s playful vocal style seems a little out of place and verges on ruining fine rock songs. Andrea’s low, gruff voice works better in these instances and I think there may be a case for the two of them occasionally alternating between lead and backing vocals, rather than singing for the sake of having a microphone.

At other points on the record, their baton-exchanging system works brilliantly, such as on Kill the Light on which Ferro’s drudging deep tones create a catchy chorus and Scabbia’s range and power shine through in a captivating core. In fact this is one of my favourite tracks on the album, along with closing song My Spirit and Upside Down, which is a great example of what they do when they do it well.

The real surprise for me on the album was the sound of REM’s Losing My Religion suddenly blaring from the speakers…

On the track End of Time, both Scabbia and Ferro take the power down a notch and give a slightly more subdued show. I’m not sure if it attracts or detracts from the song but I did notice Ferro sounds particularly sarcastic when singing in this style. At any rate, it’s a safe effort, but not necessarily a bad one.

The real surprise for me on the album was the sound of REM’s Losing My Religion suddenly blaring from the speakers, but drowning within the epic sounds of gothic rock around it. The cover starts with a synth keyboard – a noticeable change from the usual guitar riff. It is a strange track, so different from the original; but they say if you must cover, make the song your own. Scabbia actually does a great rendition once warmed up and I would recommend giving it a listen, REM fan or, preferably, not.

There are certainly parts of Dark Adrenaline I would call more filler than anything groundbreaking or frankly worth seeking out too enthusiastically, but for their vocal display and general slick connectivity as a band, I’d say Lacuna Coil are worthy high climbers on rock charts all over the world this week.

3 Stars

Image courtesy of Katja Kuhl

 

 

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