Lacuna Coil like wordplays. Already their own band name is one, which translates to something like empty or blank coil. Now, their newest full-length album Black Anima (anima = soul in Italian) names stuff in the same vein. I kinda liked this idea already, together with this ominous album cover. All this goodness smacks of change. And change is what we need more of from this band.
Now, already their 2016 record Delirium seriously stole from our coveted stock of brownie points. This one had true promise, and was written under duress so I understand, with a gazillion of band changes happening more or less at the same time.
An album that we hoped would bode well for great material that was sure to come to our metallic shores in a foreseeable future. One day, maybe.
Because – let’s face it – Broken Crown Halo or again Dark Adrenaline did a lot of regurgitation of stuff that somewhat existed before. And those records were never able to really and totally satisfy this metalhead.
Now, Black Anima immediately nailed the earphones of the RMR deck crew to their ears. Whenever Kate Bush – ahem – Cristina Scabbia starts on the intro Anima Nera, this change in direction becomes apparent straight. Even if that specific track is probably the weakest of the whole album.
But the moment Sword of Anger with Andrea Ferro‘s ferocious growls at the helm lets loose, the hooks were set into this reviewer’s metallic flesh. This is aggression 2.0, full speed ahead. Based on a scheme of pretty tight song-writing and with an arrangement that is so packed solid, it will not leave a lot of space to maneuver. So, it appears that Marco Coti Zelati, in his songwriting role, got this gang a pretty spicy new direction to try out.
It is as if Lacuna Coil caught a metallic and blazing hot spark of creativity after Delirium turned out to be more successful than most. And here we got a few surprises. Scabbia finally showcases her elastic voice to its best effect. I never heard her modulate that range quite that way – with new, innovative areas boldly explored. In a way, this resembles what Manda Ophuis often did during her time at Nemesea. And this is just great.
Whereas Ferro‘s strength really centers around these growls that seem to emanate from somewhere underground. It looks like he shines when you really let him power on unchecked. Or how else would I explain this excellent semi-growled pseudo rap on Now Or Never that rips at your ears like there’s no tomorrow?
And did I mention it? A fresh wind blows at the drum kit too. Richard Meiz, LC’s new drummer, delivers a very precise and pertinent brand of those blasts and stuff. Far away from that bunk the old records sometimes contained.
And all of that – you guessed it – leads to a renewed Beauty and the Beast contest. And – behold – this one turns out to be exceedingly well done, too. With all these new-found energetics bouncing about on Black Anima, Lacuna Coil – however – never lose their trademark sound. In other words, they turned this ship around without scavenging on somebody else’s soundscape. And for that, I salute them.
Yet, not all is perfect on this record. Tracks like The End Is All I Can See or Save Me just didn’t jazz up on the side of the other extremely strong tracks. Now, before you cry foul, standalone they’d probably sound pretty good. But against kickers like Black Anima (the title track), Now or Never, or again the dark Veneficium, those tracks stand no chance. In a way, Black Anima gets us what Within Temptation should have done lately, but never mastered. Far from it.
This record finally is the long-awaited turnaround to juicier shores for this band. Black Anima gets us real Gothic Metal that genuinely tries to ruin our loudspeakers. The dark soul that attacks us with stuff we did not hear enough lately. This tune that showcases the many talents of Lacuna Coil in their best light.
Dark, scratchy, edgy and wild, and full of somber audio paintings that deliciously wear on your conscience, as Black Anima grinds on. A smartly executed production, with drum work where it finally needs to be, rounds this up well. No jingle bells anymore luckily, which drove me to tears on Delirium. And boundless energy that finally came back to the party.
In short, here we have one of the best albums Lacuna Coil produced so far. And a savage, bucking ride they got us this time. One that we truly enjoyed.
Ed’s note: The record successfully made it onto the 2019 Top 10 records. Congrats!
Get dat tune: