I jumped off the Lacuna Coil train many years ago having had my fill of bland, boring & far too similar sounding female-fronted goth metal/rock. Whatever appeal Lacuna Coil had once had evaporated & as their sound began to lean towards the more pop side of their music it seems as though I wasn’t alone. No-one spoke about them with excitement & an appearance two years ago at Bloodstock (2014) was met with a resounding meh.
I had no idea they were even still making new music but here we are, a new Lacuna Coil album & one that promises a return to their roots with a much heavier sound. Sceptical? You bet!
Opening song The House of Shame is a stonking slab of symphonic heavy metal & I mean heavy. It’s a head-banging number that sees Christina Sacabbia using her immense vocal talent to enhance a fantastically guitar/drum driven song rather than dominate it.
Broken Things makes it clear that Lacuna Coil have been paying attention to a lot of modern bands ‘shouty’ vocal style. It’s a very hardcore-esque intro & I’m momentarily impressed by the band branching out but it’s not long before the song takes on a more…expected route. This song perfectly highlights my issues with the band…it’s just an OK sounding song. It’s verse, chorus, verse, chorus perfectly placed with no imagination or sudden changes that might excite. It’s safe & exactly what Lacuna Coil have always been.
At least it’s heavy.
Things don’t improve much afterwards, Delirium being a clear radio friendly song way before Christina just keeps singing ‘delirium’ over and over again. More likely to put me to sleep than get me head-banging. Blood, Tears, Dust has some nice use of effects but is overshadowed by the generic riff that sounds like it belongs in a sub-standard metalcore bands notebook.
The album doesn’t start to sound exciting or fresh until Take Me Home with its creepy style chanting that leads in a flurry of riffs & drums. It doesn’t last as it’s another song where male & female spar vocally taking turns at overshadowing everything but the drums. That wouldn’t be such a big deal if it wasn’t so boring. Picking back up at the end, it’s a reminder that Lacuna Coil just aren’t about taking risks.
There is no denying that the band have a much heavier sound this time round, Ghost in the Mist is the perfect example of this but it doesn’t matter when a lot of what still comes out is bland, unimaginative & boring. Metal should excite, should make you feel alive, should pull at your neck muscles…it shouldn’t be putting you to sleep.
I can’t stress this enough, Delirium is not a bad album. In fact it’s one of the best Lacuna Coil albums in years but that’s like saying that a punch in the gut is better then a kick in the balls. Neither is preferable!
Nearing the end Ultima Ratio is infinity more listenable with a great hook & better use of vocals it builds hope for a potential killer ending to the album. Sadly that’s not the case as things quickly slump back into Lacuna Coil generic track number 12, a god-damn Madonna cover. There are flashes, brief flashes that are lost as the music slows down so Christina can showcase her vocal talent…again. As the longest track on the album, they were clearly going for an epic finish except there are two more songs to go.
Delirium finishes as it began with plenty of heavy riffs & hooks but not much else. Breakdown might be the worst song on the album while Bleed the Pains chuggy-ness is initially exciting but goes nowhere.
Full Track List:
1. The House of Shame
2. Broken Things
4. Blood, Tears, Dust
6. Take Me Home
7. You Love Me ‘Cause I Hate You
8. Ghost in the Mist
9. My Demons
11. Ultima Ratio
12. Live to Tell (Madonna Cover)
14. Bleed the Pain
Lacuna Coil - Delirium (Century Media Records)
- The Final Score - 5/105/10