First impression: Talk about crispy and – yes – meaty. Very meaty! Low bass, scratchy, corny – all that jazz! This is how the 6th studio album Dark Adrenaline of the Italian band Lacuna Coil presents itself at the opening. And with some nice and very metal tunes to boot.
Or should we say ‘would like’ to present itself? Because on the other hand, whilst definitely rocky and straightforward, it kind of sounds like Evanescence in The Open Door without lithium, but on steroids.
And this is how best to describe Dark Adrenaline: A rocky, a stormy way of presenting Gothic Metal in a robe pleasing to them masses that judge ye so harshly. Evil tongues say that the whitewashed pop edge that we are detecting in these tunes is due to the master of production Don Gilmore. Who – so the lore goes – is the supreme sensei of drilling this stuff down into political correctness until you wanna cry.
But to their credit: This tactic led Lacuna Coil to win the Best Album Award in 2012 of the Metal Female Award Fest. The fallout of the above has been very clear: The generic billboard charts did not show all that great of an acclaim. With the exception of the US and Italian charts, which came in at reasonable levels. The charts specialized on Rock music came in at very good levels too – again mainly in the US and Canada.
As to myself, I have listened to Dark Adrenaline up and down and back up again; AND … it just does not stick very well. Very much in line with what I said above. The male/female double fronted band – led by Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro – has surely created something fast and of the metal kind. But it leans too much into the electro-pop metal genre – not their strongest suit in my opinion. With best wishes from Amaranthe and their ilk. In the end this creates an amalgam of tracks linked into each other that will be ok in the car to follow you through a lengthy drive of some distance. But not for a thrilling listening session, rocking you around the music hall.
Also, the solos are few and far between. One of the better ones – albeit short – was in The Army Inside. Luckily they have Cristina with her crystal clear vocals, which kind of save the day. Without her there would be trouble for Lacuna Coil – for sure. The lyrics, hmm. Just to be blunt: They suck. It is one of the hallmarks of the electro-pop metal genre that they tailor make lyrics. So that the words sound kind of catchy when screamed out into the open. But never mind any sense or quality. He Who Forgiveth All Metal sins will probably forgive that one too. I guess.
I like Trip the Darkness as well as Against You. Those are of the crunchy kind, clubbing away like a monster in the dark coming after you. Kill the Light has still enough grump in it to qualify. After that it goes downhill. Intoxicated has its merits too, even if it sounds like an .. intoxicated and super-charged Dolores O’Riordan at times.
And Holy Fucking Cow! How is it possible to dissect R.E.M.‘s perfect track Losing My Religion in such an atrocious way? As (almost) always, those remakes of already pre-existing songs just plainly suck. Not sure where they have gotten THAT idea from. Good grief!
I would call Dark Adrenaline a production with potential. Difficult to pin down. But my gut tells me that with a different producer, this might have turned out … well, differently. Into something much darker with many more edges and sharp points. For the moment, this record is too whitewashed to be true to Lacuna Coil’s abilities. And in truth, at first it does not sound that way, but is becoming apparent later in the album.
Their success however speaks for themselves and their sales and overall popularity are still pretty high. No doubt, if you produce club ready-made pieces that Master DJ just can throw on the disc. From an overall standpoint however, this album does not quite cut it. This band can do better. Yes, still a lot better.
Get dat tune:
– Buy with Amazon!