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Ever since the late 90’s, Milan’s Lacuna Coil have sat atop their countries metal scene, blending nu-metal with gothic and sometimes symphonic moments to bring themselves numerous accolades, international touring success and a huge amount of sales along the way (they recently cracked the ARIA Top 20 with this new record). The band is known also for having two singers with their own distinctive styles. The two being Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro. Whilst they’ve seen success and critical acclaim with albums such as ‘Comalies’ and ‘Karmacode’, those albums were released 11 and 13 years ago respectively, and their particular brand of metal has wavered in popularity since. So here we are in 2016, and the band is now short both their long-serving guitarists and drummer Cristiano Mozzati, who had played on all of their previous albums. They’ve also just released their eighth studio album, entitled ‘Delirium’, and it’s certainly created some debate amongst their fanbase. And why is that exactly?
Put simply, it’s ‘different’.
The first inklings of change appear the very second opener ‘The House Of Shame’ begins, and you notice right away that Ferro is utilising his screamed and growled vocals more. This is definitely something new, and something warranted considering critics are often quick to note that he too often plays second fiddle to co-lead vocalist Scabbia due to her immense vocal talent. The song itself is pretty solid, and definitely a lot heavier than you’d expect from Lacuna Coil. It’s also a step back structure and guitar wise to what you’d expect from the ‘Karmacode’ era, which is definitely a welcome change. There’s also a solid guitar solo, which I feel is something the band really needs to utilise more of to break up some of the monotony within their music (but we’ll get to that shortly).
The title track, whilst being very melodic and easily digestible, has its drawbacks. Namely the chorus. It’s just Scabbia repeating “Delirium” over and over, and my God does it get annoying fast! There’s also definitely a strong Slipknot vibe during the verses on ‘Blood, Tears, Dust’, especially in the guitar department. While I think the use of synthesisers isn’t always a bad thing, they can often sit too high the mix, and the chorus for this song is a good example of this.
Now, the production on this album is pretty decent. Consider that you have to leave space for multiple vocal, guitar and drum tracks and then add in synthesisers as well, and the fact that you can still hear the bass rather well. That in itself is a feat considering how low-tuned the guitars are and that they sit in a very similar frequency range as a result. As I mentioned above, the synths can often overpower certain sections, especially in choruses where the vocals are meant to shine through, but that’s just me.
Unfortunately, there’s a fatal problem with this album. Once you reach the back half, it seems to lose momentum. It’s not that the songs aren’t good, they’re just sort of… there. Forgettable would be the best word for it, really. The singles are very strong as are tracks like ‘My Demons’ and ‘You Love Me ‘Cause I Hate You’ (which to be honest is a bit of a silly title), but some of the later tracks like ‘Ultima Ratio’ just do not leave me wanting more.
Sure, there’s some cool guitar work in there, and you even have a guest solo performed by Myles Kennedy, of Slash/Alter Bridge fame, on ‘Downfall’ (one of the stronger tracks) but eventually the repeated song structures just get very tiresome.
I did enjoy this album a fair bit, and I’m by no means a Lacuna Coil hater. But I’m hardly about to go put on some eye makeup and my trench coat and military boots. But I’d definitely go see them on their upcoming Australian tour (tickets for that here). I just don’t know how keen I would be to hear an abundance of tracks off this album, though. While it’s definitely solid and showcases a great new direction for the band, it ultimately falls flat as a whole due to its repetitive song structures.
01. The House of Shame
02. Broken Things
04. Blood, Tears, Dust
06. Take Me Home
07. You Love Me ‘Cause I Hate You
08. Ghost in the Mist
09. My Demons
11. Ultima Ratio