(02 September 2002) The first album to emerge from Lacuna Coil since Unleashed Memories (feature) is a 13-track collection entitled Comalies (Century Media (USA) CD 8160-2, 2002). From Century Media, "With three full-length albums and two EPs released in a four year span, each offering has furthered the enunciation of the subtle, solemn beauty Lacuna Coil creates. Signifying "empty spiral" in English, the definition betrays the rich versatility of their music. Comalies maturely exhibits the trademarked gothic overtones and simplistic melancholy of their haunting musical landscape." Comalies moves away from the Cristina Scabbia-dominated vocal harmonies found on Unleashed Memories and moves into a new territory vocally without admonishing the classic Lacuna Coil sound. As the label writes, "Lacuna Coil bring miraculous eloquence to their collision of melody and metal."
So what do Lacuna Coil sound like? Their music is more than richly arranged--it is very thick, full of powerful guitars, strong bass and driving percussion. Lead vocalist Cristina Scabbia's stunning crystalline contributions swirl in the mix, soaring above it at times, and are contrasted by those from male vocalist Andrea Ferro, an excellent singer in his own right. Symphonic and rhythmic keyboard elements work their way into the mix to produce the wall of sound one will instantly recognise as Lacuna Coil's and noone else's.
The lineup is completed by "Cristiano Migliore (guitars), Marco Biazzi (guitars), Marco Coti Zelati (bass and keyboards) and Cristiano Mozzati (drums and percussion).
"It is indeed difficult not to get pulled into the dream-like quality of the world Lacuna Coil creates, which floods you with a myriad of heavy and hypnotic sounds. The epic feel of Comalies will quickly lead you to believe that an incredibly personal epiphany is about to happen. Each song contributes to the buildup, encouraging introspection while documenting the sadness that this particular journey uncovers. Upholding the emotive yin/yang tradition of vocal interplay between the dulet tones of Cristina Scabbia and the deliberate vocals of her male singing partner Andrea Ferro, Comalies is another dynamic exploration of Lacuna Coil's soulfully somber and stunningly enigmatic musical alchemy," Century Media writes.
The album is produced once again by Unleashed Memories' Waldemar Sorchta at Woodhouse Studios. Lacuna Coil's metal-edged instrumental power is evident across the album's tracks, they begin full on in "Swamped." Andrea's lead introduces the lyrical content while Cristina's dramatic backing vocal soars in the distance before coming front and centre in the well-produced arrangement. The powerful metal ballad "Heaven's A Lie" features Cristina singing in a lower register while symphonic instrumentals and further vocal harmonies support her soaring towards the upper regions as the male vocal enters the fray.
Cristina's and Andrea's vocals alternate leads in the rocking "Daylight Dancer" whose rhythmically styled keyboards and percussion add tremendous texture to the thickly arranged guitars. Soaring vocalise inroduces
"Humane," a slower paced--yet equally thickly arranged--tune that will treat the listener to the range of Cristina's heartfelt layered vocals. The upbeat rocking sound of "Self Deception" again features vocal work of the two lead singers with longer alternating sections of their leads. We especially enjoyed Cristina's treatment of the choruses and the vast guitar excursions in the bridges.
A short and light guitar instrumental introduces a gentle crystalline vocal part by Cristina in "Aeon" that precedes the multi-sensory "Tight Rope," a rocking metal edged number of with vast guitar riffs and vocal layers blending the two singers' parts as the album comes into full splendour. Cristina's powerful lead punches through the rich instrumental to carry a soaring melody and leaving rhythmic percussion in her wake. The tempo slows down for the orchestral-style ballad (well about as orchestral as Lacuna Coil gets!) entitled "The Ghost Woman And The Hunter" which is led by Cristina's sensually sung vocal part and layers of her equally sweet supporting harmonies.
"Unspoken" is a classic Lacuna Coil-style gothic-edged track dominated by Cristina's vocals, mixed way up above the symphonic arrangements. With lush vocal harmonies in the chorus and a memorable melody, the track is a certain standout and one that will have the broadest audience appeal. The vocal intensity continues into the soft metal construction of "Entwined," a lovely ballad presenting Cristina's vocal work right up in the fore in the guise of similar-to Madonna but against Lacuna Coil's typically lush instrumental and supporting male vocal arrangements.
"Angel's Punishment" is a progressive metal-edged piece that balances the sweetness of Crisitna's voice with Andrea's grunting style and the instrumental awesomeness of the other band members. With verses dominated by Andrea's vocals, "The Prophet Said" is a powerful metal-edged rocker; it features Cristina's vocals in the dramatic choruses that soar against the thick guitar solo-based bridges. The album concludes with the title track blending the vocal talents of both singers with metal and symphonic arrangements. Short Italian lyrical elements are intertwined with English.
While some may characterise Lacuna Coil's music as heavy metal, the band are clearly on the edge of something else, very symphonic and rhythmically accessible. Instrumentally very strong, listeners will agree that Cristina Scabbia's vocals play an essential part to the band's unique sonic texture. Read our review of Lacuna Coil's live performance at the London Astoria on Halloween 2002.
Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the album from amazon.com
here. Trust us, this is a tremendous album, clearly worth a trans-Atlantic journey, it is a must listen!