Oh LACUNA COIL, how I used to love you. I don’t remember how I came across these guys back in the day, but I remember being blown away by “Comalies” (2002), so I picked up “Karmacode” (2006) as soon as it came out after a 4-year gap between albums. I loved Cristina Scabbia‘s singing style, even though I was never the hugest fan of Andrea Ferro‘s vocals, but their style was really different amidst the piles and piles of female-fronted clone bands.
The last couple of LC albums, unfortunately, have not made a mark. I didn’t mind the first single, “Trip the Darkness,” from “Dark Adrenaline” (2012), though it was pretty repetitive. And by the time we got to “Broken Crown Halo” (2014), I couldn’t be bothered to listen through the whole album more than twice before giving it up as a total disappointment. “Shallow Life” (2009) seemed to be fairly unpopular with the fans, but I think what separates these albums for me is that “Shallow Life” was simply poppy/catchy, while the other two were uninteresting. At least poppy metal can be fun and catchy (look into AMARANTHE‘s popularity, if you don’t believe me), but “Dark Adrenaline” and “Broken Crown Halo” seemed quite uninspired.
So when 2016’s “Delirium” was announced, I dared not hope for a good album, though I hadn’t fully given up yet. Though “Hydra” was no “The Silent Force,” WITHIN TEMPTATION was moving back in the right direction, and “King of Kings” brought LEAVES’ EYES back from the dead for me. So why couldn’t LACUNA COIL have a comeback too? With the press releases stating that “Delirium” would be one of their heaviest albums to date, I didn’t dare to hope, but an open mind is always a useful tool of the trade! With a nearly all-new line-up, who knows what might happen?
I had planned to put this album on and have it in the background as I did some studying. The music to “The House of Shadows” started playing and the first thought that came to my mind was, “Holy what the fuck!?” That roar at the beginning blasted me nearly right out of my pants. As I said, I’ve never found Andrea Ferro to be an especially good male vocalist, so I was not expecting that at all. In fact, I can’t even recall Ferro trying to properly growl before, now that I think about it. I’m not sure how I feel about the album just yet, but they undoubtedly caught my attention! Immediately in this song, Ferro has gone deeper and darker than I recall ever hearing him, and Cristina Scabbia has come back up to a higher level that I haven’t heard since “Comalies.” I’m a sucker for a good starting track, so I applaud them already!
By the second song, “Broken Things,” I was getting into it. There is still a strong flavor of their new style, but it’s darker and heavier than their last two albums, which is nice. Those modern poppy/catchy elements that have been losing them some followers are still present, but I feel like it’s stepped back at least as far as “Swallow Life,” or maybe even “Karmacode.” In fact, the first three songs could be considered a best-of of LACUNA COIL‘s styles. “The House of Shadows” is very much like their earlier music, “Broken Things” is closer to “Karmacode” or “Shallow Life,” and “Delirium” very much has the feel of their newer albums, with its repetitive and accessible sound.
“Downfall” is the first slower song, though can’t quite be called a ballad. It’s a bit reminiscent of “Comalies,” at least vocals-wise for Scabbia, and Ferro is still doing his best to work on these growls. They’re not amazing, to tell the truth, but they’re impressive coming from someone who’s always just been “the male vocalist.” The album does, thanks to the loss of half of their band members, have a fair number of guest solos, and “Downfall” features none other than Myles Kennedy (ALTER BRIDGE, etc.), who gives the band a taste of chill, casual, rock ‘n’ roll in the solo.
The attempt to use children to be creepy in the beginning of “Take Me Home” is fairly effective. We get a bit of a taste of the old Ferro vocal style here, but he’s developed a bit of grit thanks to all the growling that I certainly appreciate. One of LACUNA COIL‘s recent downfalls has been getting repetitive in their songs over the years, and this song has the same flaw.
“Ghost in the Mist” is a fairly good track. It has a lot of the sounds that I enjoy from both vocalists, including Ferro‘s newly-developed sounds, and even the title reminds me of older LACUNA COIL tracks, which is fun to notice. “My Demons,” as well, has caught my attention a few times since I’ve been listening to this album. The new band members are certainly showing their colors on this album as well. Ryan Blake Folden has certainly found the LACUNA COIL style and is keeping it alive, and Marco “Maki” Coti-Zelati shows a great deal of diversity with the guitars, keyboards, bass, and synth all in one.
“Ultimate Radio” is a solid closer for a decent comeback album. Ferro continues to sound far better than normal, and we get a good amount of “Comalies” -era Scabbia sound as well. The dynamics are solid, and it ends the album on a high note, which is almost as important as starting an album on a high note (but not quite).
Overall, I think both vocalists are doing very well in “Delirium.” The loyal, dedicated fans will recognize elements of Scabbia‘s poppier sound from the more recent albums like “Shallow Life,” while the old fans will definitely get a throwback to “Comalies” and “Unleashed Memories.” Ferro is definitely progressing in a really good direction in this album. “Delirium” is definitely the darkest and heaviest thing I’ve heard from this band in ages, and it’s a solid step in the right direction for them, getting in touch with their original sound and what garnered them fame in the beginning, but also not abandoning that easy-to-handle poppish sound from their newer material altogether. The blend of the two is nice, and perhaps this means that LACUNA COIL is steering back into the right direction! However, I’ve never exactly been able to place what “it” exactly was that LACUNA COIL has lost over the years, and I don’t think this album has exactly found it again. The music these days, while good, is simply not as complex and moving as it once was.
Written by Bear Wiseman
- House of Shame
- Broken Things
- Blood, Tears, Dust
- Take Me Home
- You Love Me ‘Cause I Hate You
- Ghost in the Mist
- My Demons
- Ultima Radio
Cristina Scabbia – vocals
Andrea Ferro – vocals
Marco Coti Zelati – bass, guitars, keyboards, synth
Ryan Blake Folden – drums
Century Media Records