LACUNA COIL – Broken Crown Halo
I remember the early days of this Italian band very well. Back in the 1990’s, Lacuna Coil slowly built awareness of their sound, inspired by the likes of Paradise Lost into an amalgamation of gothic metal with hard rock leanings. Vocalist Cristina Scabbia gained a lot of attention due to her impressive multi-octave siren range, as well as her stunning looks – and I believe male vocalist Andrea Ferro gave counterpoint alternatives in a much heavier, gruffer vein. Their third album "Comalies" would be an international breakthrough, catapulting their status to headliner and making major rock radio strides in North America, normally a challenge for a band on an independent label no matter what size.
Since then, their studio records have been a hit or miss affair with me. Naturally as a band gains more experience and exposure through the world, their original sound can take shape-shifting twists and turns. On album number seven "Broken Crown Halo", the band delve deeper into staccato meets down-tuned alternative hard rock territory. What does this mean for the listener? Well, if you enjoy the likes of Korn, early Coal Chamber, and a touch of Sevendust , then I bet songs such as "Die and Rise", "Zombies", and "Infection" will appease you need for hard grooves and easy on the ear vocal patterns. It’s as if Lacuna Coil prefer to ‘American-ize’ their outlook rather than think about the exotic charm and gothic grace they displayed which initially gained them a strong following.
Not everything is lost – "Hostage to the Light" features a stirring ascending melody from Cristina and I love the dark atmosphere that penetrates the slower "I Burn In You" – but overall the qualities that made me love Lacuna Coil have all but disappeared. So to those that loved 2006’s "Karmacode", you may love this- but I feel this band’s best years are long gone. Stretch creatively and you may win me back – otherwise low common denominator ‘groove’ metal has me seeking out greener pastures.