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Lacuna Coil - Black Anima

Lacuna Coil
Black Anima
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 09 November 2019, 6:08 AM

LACUNA COIL were one of the first Metal bands I ever got into, back in day when I was just discovering my true musical tastes.  This was around the time of the release of “Unleashed Memories,” and I have followed them every since.  Of course, they have been hit or miss, but most of their albums are at least solid.  I’ve always felt like they could be more than they are—the songwriting talent is there but never used to its full potential.  LACUNA COIL is a band that, as good as they are, could be even better if more depth was allowed to enter the song writing process.

Is “Black Anima” that album where the band finally steps outside their comfort zone?  No, it is not and at this point in their career they probably won’t ever do so.  But is “Black Anima” their best album in years?  Yes, I have found this one to be their best release since 2002’s “Comalies.” What strikes out to me most about this release is they have returned to a more Gothic oriented sound like their older release while still pushing forward with their so called “Alternative Metal” approach.  “Black Anima,” finds the band balancing both those worlds pretty well, even if they never step outside of their own established lines.  Still, this is their ninth album—an achievement so many bands either don’t meet or do but release something subpar.

None of the guitars for the band have ever been complicated—heavy, melodic but nothing to mend your mind.  As such, the focus of the band has always been on the dual vocal approach of and Cristina.  Although he seems to be an acquired taste for a lot of fans, Andreas is actually a very capable vocalist.  As with the previous album, “Delirium,”  his vocals are much heavier than they have been in the past—not a true Death growl but definitely abrasive as hell.  I find this approach really works for him, especially side by side with Cristina. It seems over the years, her own approach has been to get higher pitched and play around with her voice more and more.  As with Andreas, this too works well for her and she gives a stunning performance.  Sometimes, when she gets into a higher register, it can do a number on the ears but that is mostly do the production.

The album must had been expensive to produce—it sounds very smooth, slick, and has all the bells and whistles that modern production can provide.  However, it does have one problem—way too fucking loud.  I own a ton of music—thousands of CDs and mp3s and very few of them are as loud as “Black Anima.”  This is good for people who can’t hear well (such as myself, actually) but it can also be very distracting.  The album begins with “Anima Nera,” which amounts to little more than an intro but Cristina’s voice shines here, a perfect lead in to the album. The sparse, ambient noises fade away as the first full track, “Sword of Anger,” kicks in.

Andreas screams out and the downtuned guitars bust their way through the speakers—the riffs are serviceable but like much of their music, the tuning is a bit too late 90’s/early 00’s for its own good. The chorus is as catchy as anything they have done and the song is heavy enough to supply you with all your head banging needs.  It is a good opening track but there are better songs to be found here.“Apocalypse,” presents itself with a round of clean vocal passages before Andreas gives a decent growl with Cristina coming in right behind him with a wonderful vocal passage.  This song reminds me more of their “Unleashed Memories,” era heavier.

For a good understanding of where LACUNA COIL is at these days, “Under The Surface,” is a great example.  The song is fast, furious, and the riffs are more groove oriented—this is one of those tracks that I would play for someone if they told me they haven’t heard the band in a few albums and wanted to know what they were doing these days. “Veneficium,” features Cristina doing a more operatic approach to her voice and it works well enough with the choppy, galloping riffs that are in the song’s beginning moments.  Andreas holds back the growls this time around for a cleaner approach, something that I do miss at times.  I can definitely see this song becoming a fan favorite and concert staple.

Save Me,” is probably the catchiest song on the album and I wonder why it wasn’t chosen as as single first.  However, the answer to that may because the song isn’t as heavy or dark as the other tracks before it—this one sounds more like mid period LACUNA COIL from their “Dark Adrenaline,” and “Broken Crown Halo” days.  LACUNA COIL formed in 1994 as SLEEP OF RIGHT-–for a band to have been around as long as they have AND still releasing albums as good as this is a testament to their love and commitment to themselves and their fans. I’m still waiting for them to really nail their sound but until (if) that happens, I am happy enough with albums like “Black Anima.”

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Anima nera
2. Sword of Anger
3. Reckless
4. Layers of Time
5. Apocalypse
6. Now or Never
7. Under The Surface
8. Veneficium
9. The End Is All I Can See
10. Save Me
11. Black Anima
Lineup:
Marco Coti Zelati – Bass, Keyboards
Cristina Scabbia – Vocals
Andrea Ferro – Vocals
Diego Cavallotti – Guitars
Richard Meiz - Drums
Record Label: Century Media Records
     


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