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Album Reviews : Lacuna Coil – Broken Crown Halo

By on July 7, 2014

I’ve been a fan of Lacuna Coil for some time. Admittedly they’re a little bit of a guilty pleasure. Their music of late is quite basic, commercialised, and lyrically disappointing (though English is their 2nd language so I can understand that one). All the same, I’m a big fan of Cristina Scabbia’s voice and I think they write energetic and fun melodies. They were, at one time, an interesting borderline-ambient gothic rock band, but those days are long gone.

Or are they?

Lacuna Coil‘s 2014 release “Broken Crown Halo” is quite like their latest work, just with less impressive production. The lyrics are downright sinful at times (Burn baby burn? Really?), there is some repetitive songwriting going on, and as usual the guitar solos are decidedly unimpressive and probably unnecessary.

However, this release showcases parts of Lacuna Coil’s sound and for me, appeal that they haven’t explored since 2001’s “Unleashed Memories”.

The single track, “I Forgive (But I Won’t Forget Your Name)” can probably be ignored altogether, as it really doesn’t offer anything exciting or fresh for a listener. The entire first half of the album, actually, suffers a little bit from these same weaknesses to varying degrees. Additionally, Andrea’s melodies tend to be unimaginative and stale, especially compared to the powerhouse style of Cristina.

Though we’re treated to the occasional hint of vintage Lacuna Coil brilliance during the first half, the second half is where things start to get really worth listening to.

Right from the beginning of track 7, “Cybersleep”, things start to look up. It certainly isn’t heavy, brutal, or technical, but it does have a uniquely Lacuna Coil feel. The note choices, exotic scales, and Cristina’s very restrained vocal style immediately remind the experienced fan of the times of old, and for the rest of the album those reminders are prominent. Andrea’s melodies improve significantly too, which is important because a large part of what made Lacuna Coil great 14 years back was that both vocalists made necessary contributions to the sound.

As a whole, the album isn’t a particularly mind-bending piece of art. The production is significantly weaker than their last release, and the energy is a little scattered and inconsistent. I am, however, very pleased to hear reminders of what I originally liked this band for. Tracks like “I Burn In You”, “Infection”, and certain parts of “Hostage To The Light” were very pleasant surprises for me. As per usual, guilty pleasure or not, I’ll be following Lacuna Coil‘s work and hoping that they take the right steps to return to what made them great artists, rather than great moneymakers.

Band: Lacuna Coil
Album: Broken Crown Halo
Year: 2014
Genre: Gothic rock
Label: Century Media
Origin: Italy

1. Nothing Stands In Our Way
2. Zombies
3. Hostage to the Light
4. Victims
5. Die & Rise
6. I Forgive (But I Won’t Forget Your Name)
7. Cybersleep
8. Infection
9. I Burn In You
10. In The End I Feel Alive
11. One Cold Day

About

Chad is a musician/producer from Melbourne. He has been playing guitar for 10+ years now, and currently plays in the progressive metal band Conjurer. Check out Chad's blog, and for professional inquiries, follow him on LinkedIn.