You know what this makes me think of? Mainstream – rock solid mainstream.
This is what the 7th studio album Broken Crown Halo of Lacuna Coil screams at me. All this wrapped nicely in the typical Lacuna Coil ball gown – perhaps with more Pop Rock mixed into it this time.
Some softer tongues (not the evil ones, for once) in the reviewer community seem to tell me that all this is an attempt for Lacuna Coil to redeem themselves and to re-discover their old style. But gosh, if I would face the final exit of a long time lead guitarist AND the drummer to boot, for sure I would put the pedal to the metal. Forsooth!
But you know what?
I enjoyed the last record Dark Adrenaline much better than this one – much more straightforward, meatier, louder. For some reason Broken Crown Halo sometimes sounds like some goofy mix between We are the Fallen and an Evanescence lightning attack of stage fright. And in between – well – these guys come across like a badly distorted version of Amaranthe on a bad vacation on the Spanish party coast.
But is Broken Crown Halo really worse than the former record?
And there is another one: The theme is apparently supposed to follow some European (meaning Italian) horror films, like the age old Suspiria movie. You know the one with the bright stage blood and gruesome scenes. If that is the case, then, well, where IS all this? This film alone would allow for some very merry soundtracks for some songs.
But … nada.
There are some light rays in this foggy darkness and it is very stop and go in the love/hate department. Zombie is typical Lacuna Coil fare, weak at the beginning, improving with age. Hostage to the Light gets your attention at a much better scale. Pretty catchy that one, but in a ubiquitous kind of way, almost sounding like something The Rasmus would have produced. Even if it is pushing the pop rock scheme a little far. But it has grown on me, pretty good that one.
And then there is fortunately Cristina Scabbia, who enjoys a much more prominent role in Broken Crown Halo than ever before – and I like it. I really do! So, here I join the whiners and their bosses, the headwhiners, about Andrea’s vocal powers. And deservedly so.
Andrea Ferro is however pretty disappointing, a waning presence sometimes popping up screaming somewhat like a gorilla in heat. And then the growls, the terrible growls. Perhaps they should get rid of them. Many good Gothic Metal outfits have abandoned them – much to their credit. Just check out Within Temptation – and see the level THEY are at. [OK, I agree, cannot really be compared, but still…]
And in truth, he likes to scream stuff at you, but not really melodiously, but like some beast of the dark coming straight out the abysses of Hel’s kitchen. To offer a comparison: Marco Hietala of Nightwish and Delain is also a screamer. But with this guy, the reach is much better. You actually get some decent spice out of that. In Lacuna Coil‘s latest? Not so sure.
Truly some of that stuff sounds like a metallized version of the main theme of Pirates of the Caribbean. With a – metal? No! – kind of an Evanescence tainted pop rock tilt. Just check out One Cold Day. Jack Sparrow help me! Where is my rum? Hopefully not in Davy Jones’ Locker, but in Fiddler’s Green.
Actually what missed in Broken Crown Halo is the innovation piece. Instead of creating surprises, they are creating … mainstream with a few enlightened instances of good rocky stuff thrown in. Stuff that we all heard before somewhere.
This is a pity and raises the question: What are they going to do at a later stage when their guitarist and drummer are no more. Well, I hope they will cash in on their talent and produce something that will blow me out of the water next time.
Get going, guys! Time’s a-wastin’.