Emerging from the Milan underground in the late '90s, Lacuna Coil turned plenty of heads in Italy with their melodic blend of powerful gothic metal and shared vocals courtesy of singers Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro. With Ferro's tortured screams and Scabbia's ethereal range, the group attracted a devoted following that soon spread outside of Italy and throughout Europe before they broke into the U.S. market with 2002's Comalies. From there, they remained a fixture in the Top 40 in both their home country and the U.S. with 2006's Karmacode, 2012's Billboard chart high Dark Adrenaline, and 2016's Delirium, their highest-charting to date in Italy. Formed in the late '90s, Lacuna Coil were originally known as Ethereal, but they soon changed their moniker after discovering there was already a band in Greece with the same name. After ironing out some lineup kinks, the band locked in their roster, which featured Ferro, Scabbia, bassist/producer Marco Coti Zelati, guitarist Cristiano Migliore, and drummer Christiano Mozzati. A self-titled EP heralded Lacuna Coil's arrival in 1998 and their first full-length, In a Reverie, was issued soon after in 1999. The Halflife EP appeared in 2000, and their next LP, Unleashed Memories, followed in spring 2001. At this point, the band hit their stride in the metal community and were ready to make a breakthrough. The group's third album, Comalies, was their critical and mainstream breakthrough, hitting the U.S. and European charts upon its release in October 2002. Attention surrounding Lacuna Coil continued to grow as they spent time on the road with Type O Negative, P.O.D., Opeth, and Danzig, among others. The album's first single, "Heaven's a Lie," was also a U.S. commercial radio success, followed by the equally popular "Swamped." The band accepted an invitation to appear at 2004's Ozzfest, and spent the next year playing on the European festival circuit. The heavier Karmacode surfaced in April 2006 and proved to be Lacuna Coil's true commercial breakthrough, charting well worldwide and going to number 28 on the Billboard 200. After the success of that album, the group continued to tour across the globe. In 2008, they entered the studio with Linkin Park producer Don Gilmore and, the following year, they released their fifth album, Shallow Life. A deliberately commercial effort with strong pop-metal influences, the album was their biggest seller to date but divided their fan base. Dark Adrenaline, again with Gilmore at the helm, arrived in 2012 and marked a slight return to their darker, heavier sound. The set peaked at number 15 in the U.S., their highest-charting to date. Lacuna Coil went even further with their next effort, Broken Crown Halo. Swapping Gilmore for Jay Baumgardner (Evanescence, Helmet, Drowning Pool), they recorded in an antique Milan studio with vintage analog equipment, resulting in an album with a thick, crushing sound that harked back to Karmacode. Just before the release of the album, Migliore and Mozzati announced they were leaving the band for personal reasons; the rest of the members decided to press on, recruiting former Agony Scene drummer Ryan Folden for the upcoming tour. Folden ultimately became a full-time member of Lacuna Coil, participating in the recording sessions for their next album, 2016's expansive Delirium. Shortly before recording was due to commence, their other long-term guitarist, Marco Biazzi, amicably left the band, leaving bassist and founding member Marco Coti Zelati to record all the guitar parts as well (Biazzi's position was later filled by Diego Cavallotti). In addition to guitar duties, Zelati produced the album, making it the first to be entirely self-produced by the group. Harking back to their early work, Delirium presented some of Lacuna Coil's most balanced work, weaving the heavy and the melodic with downtuned guitars, rhythmic bass, pummeling drums, and some of Ferro and Scabbia's strongest vocal performances to date. Charting well across Europe, Delirium was also a chart peak for the band in Italy, debuting just outside the Top Ten. In February of 2018, the band celebrated their 20th anniversary with the limited box set The Presence of the Past (XX Years of Lacuna Coil). It included all of their studio albums, selected live material, rare songs, remixes, B-sides spread over 13 discs, and packaging with a luxurious booklet that contained all lyrics, historical and rare photos, and expansive liner notes. The next year, Folden parted ways with Lacuna Coil, and Richard Meiz (Genus Ordinis Dei) was recruited as the group's new drummer, just in time for their ninth studio effort. The darkly elegant Black Anima was issued in October 2019 and featured the singles "Layers of Time" and "Reckless."
© Neil Z. Yeung & Mike DaRonco /TiVo
© Neil Z. Yeung & Mike DaRonco /TiVo
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Metal - Released October 11, 2019 | Century Media
On 2016's Delirium, Italian goth metal outfit Lacuna Coil hit a peak in their catalog with that album's psych-ward sideshow flourish and some of the catchiest songwriting in their careers. With their follow-up, Black Anima, they shed the theatrics and face the sobering reality that plagues us on a deeper, human level, revealing a harder-edged but equally grand version of themselves that mines vulnerability for maximum effect. In Italian, "anima" means soul, and the band bare theirs fully by processing personal growth, coming to grips with hardened adult perspectives, and struggling with real-life problems like loss and self-doubt. As an emotional journey, Black Anima processes rage and sadness while desperately clinging to tiny shards of optimism that eventually win in the end. On standout single "Layers of Time," twin vocalists Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro deliver a typically blockbuster performance. As Ferro's bellows tear through the band's ferocious attack, Scabbia swoops in with her gorgeous, soaring vocals, singing "Our road is paved with pain/the past we can't rewind" before reminding herself to "keep walking/we'll find the way." That balance of fatalism and optimism (and their ever-masterful vocals) elevates much of the album, providing catharsis through both the visceral and the spiritual. Fans of their mid-era work will welcome this back-to-basics approach, as fancy effects are restrained in favor of no-frills riffs, soul-stirring grooves, and pounding drums courtesy of bassist/producer Marco Coti-Zelati, guitarist Diego Cavallotti, and newly recruited drummer Richard Meiz. The album explodes to life with "Sword of Anger," maintaining its heightened state with highlights such as the dangerously seductive "Reckless," the punishing "Now or Never," and the hard-charging torrent "Under the Surface." On the penultimate track, "Save Me," Scabbia is nearly hopeless, disappointed by how life turned out but desperate for the strength to keep going, delivering an unflinching spoken-word confessional that is honest, real, and extremely vulnerable. When the force of the full band returns, they push that final sliver of hope with "Black Anima (Epilogue)," resolving to let go of past trauma, surrender control, and seek to rebuild a life from the broken pieces. Relatable in its emotional simplicity, Black Anima cuts to the core of human emotion and provides a welcome maturation for the band. © Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo