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Lacuna Coil
photo Rudy DeDonker 2006 | used with permission | click on image to visit artist's website

Karmacode Album Review and Cristina Scabbia Interview

more Lacuna Coil:
Cristina Interview and Back Catalog Reviews (Nov 2002)
Live at The London Astoria Review (Oct 2002)
Comalies and Heaven's A Lie Reviews (Sep 2002)

review and interview © Audrey C and Russell W Elliot 2006 | last update: 15 May 2006
photos © Rudy DeDonker and Clay Patrick McBride 2006 | used with permission


The run up to Lacuna Coil's 2006 album Karmacode caused a huge stir with music journalists and the band's fans as well. Review copies of the album weren't provided until day of release in North America. An EP with bonus tracks was also released by the label. Our colleagues atCentury Media arranged an interview for Musical Discoveries with the band's stunning lead singer Cristina Scabbia at the beginning of the band's tour in southern Californa. Read our in-depth interview with Cristina and our album review below.

Cristina Scabbia Interview

We asked Cristina how she was enjoying the tour so far. She said that California was awesome. She said that they spent a few days in LA and is was cool, and now they are in Anaheim. She said the fans are treating them well, and they liked the show. She mentioned that the LA fans tend to show their appreciation more at the end of the show, rather than during. Cristina said she receives a lot of compliments and they are definitely treating them well. The band plays for about 40 minutes, which is a good set.

  Cristina Scabbia
image © Rudy DeDonker 2006

She is pleased that America has discovered Lacuna Coil and she said all the hard work has been worth it. The band is in a lot of magazines and the publicist is doing a very good job of getting their name out there. Cristina said at one point there was a lot of rumor about the band which made them upset, so they are pleased to have positive publicity. The rumor was about the album, even before it was released.

Century Media did a good job of keeping the album under wraps and didn't release the record to reviewers until after its public release. Cristina mentioned that they have a new distribution with EMI now and since it was the priority release for 2006, they wanted to keep the excitement about the album at its peak, so they held onto it until the actual release date.

There was a long time between Comalies and Karmacode because the band was constantly on tour. They had an American tour and a European tour as well as European festivals. With all of that going on, they didn't have time to focus on the new album, even though they wanted to. They were anxious to complete the tours so they could go back home and work on the new music in their own environment.

Regarding her earliest musical influences, Cristina said that when she started listening to music she was young and at home with her family. She has two brothers and a sister and they all listened to different types of music. She said her very first influences were from bands like Genesis, Led Zeppelin, AC-DC, and traditional Italian music.

She started to listen to more metal stuff in her 20s and listened to a lot of 1980's music such as dance music. So, essentially, she's listened to a little bit of everything. Cristina said it is really hard to say exactly what influenced her as a musician and she feels that any type of music is an influence to her.

Lacuna Coil
image © Clay Patrick McBride 2006

Cristina said that when she originally hooked up with Lacuna Coil, she had been doing backing vocals. She said that when she started, she was actually the last member to enter the band, the original lineup that is, with Andrea as the lead singer and Marco was the bass player. Basically, the band knew Cristina and she was a friend of theirs. They realized that she wanted to sing and they wanted to do a promo tape with her that they would send around to some labels to try to get a deal.

Cristina was asked to sing some of the choruses with them, and the band liked what they heard and asked her to stay. The band liked the sound and the duality of the male/female vocals. She explained that the words are sung in different ways. She said that they are singing together, not like "Beauty and the Beast" where the female is singing in a lyrical way. They liked the resulting sound.

Her parents have always been supportive of her involvement in the band. She said her family has always had faith in her and they knew that all of her choices she made in her life was for the best. She appreciates and will always be grateful for their support. They made her into a responsible person and made her feel free to do whatever she wanted to do.

Cristina Scabbia
image © Maxim Online 2006

When the band recorded the promo tape and Century Media signed them, they didn't start out as a local band and didn't do shows around Milan. They were immediately on an international label. They signed with Century Media who was located in Germany, and Lacuna Coil joined up with the American part of the label. They started to tour immediately, even before the first album was released back in 1997 to create a buzz.

The name Lacuna Coil came out when they signed the deal with Century Media. She said there was another band with the same name, Ethereal, or who included 'ethereal' in their name, and they just came out with different names and liked Lacuna Coil the most.

Music is a big passion, but that is not the only interest for Cristina. She likes to watch movies, cook food, do photography, go shopping, enjoys clothes and likes to spend time with her friends and family. She said there is a lot of stuff to do in life. Although being a musician is the biggest part of her life, there are many other things that she loves.

Cristina enjoys watching the Food Channel on American television and she is a big fan of Emeril. She likes to watch Giada DiLaurentis and loves the fact that Giada pronounces the Italian words in the proper way. She also likes to watch Rachel Ray and her 30 minute meals. But, Emeril is 'the man.'

Cristina Scabbia
image © Clay Patrick McBride 2006

She loves her clothing and likes to combine different styles. She wants to promote a classy look and she likes to mix it up. She doesn't necessarily like specific brands or an Italian fashion brand. She likes clothing that has great detail. Like every other woman, she loves to shop and she loves to have clothes. "The more, the better," according to Cristina. She said that she uses her various styles with her photo sessions, and also changes her style on stage. She said that she normally uses her stage clothing for an entire tour.

Cristina said one of her biggest challenges is the music since there is so much competition and a lot of bands, so they continually need to fight ever day to keep their spot. She said she is always working to better herself and improve herself. She said in the beginning when the band got together, they had no money and had to have other jobs outside of music just so they could pay their bills.

Cristina feels the new album, Karmacode, is not more 'dense' but groovier. She feels the biggest evolution is the missing link between Europe and America. She said that if you listen to the album there are a lot of arrangements and a big duality with the European roots and European sound and structure of the songs. She went on to say they are keeping things that are not traditionally from Europe like strings and you can hear the sound in the music itself.

  Cristina Scabbia
image © Clay Patrick McBride 2006

At the same time, there is a different power as every single instrument is much more important, especially the rhythmic section, and the bass. There is a big difference in the production because they have more time to make it the best. She said that although the new album is different, you can still feel the Lacuna Coil taste in every single song, and that hasn't changed their style into a different band. Cristina said they have just improved and have gone to the next level.

Karmacode, according to Cristina, is probably the heaviest album to date. She said you can be heavy in different ways and you don't need to use the typical metal riff to be heavy. She described that the band can be really deep and really slow and it can be a 'punch in the face' anyway.

Cristina said the band is truly excited to be on the main stage at Ozzfest this year. She said it is a huge recognition for them and they are delighted that they have been upgraded to the main area. It will be something new because she heard there will be a different kind of reaction from the audience because they are sitting for viewing the concert rather than being able to enter a mosh pit and stage diving like on the second stage. She said it will a totally different energy but it will be absolutely cool.

She said that they expected Karmacode to have a good response from the public due to the big excitement surrounding the band, and they did expect a good start from their latest effort. She hopes that the album will continue to go well and the touring will have a big impact. She continued saying that the Depeche Mode cover they did was something they liked and they wanted a very famous song to play in the live show so the audience could sing along with her and Andrea.

She went on to say they made the song into sounding like a Lacuna Coil song and it fit in perfectly with the album and it was something more personal, in her opinion, took the song to a cool level. She said the result was awesome. She said that Depeche Mode heard the Lacuna Coil version of the song and the band likes it.

Cristina Scabbia
image © Clay Patrick McBride 2006
 

Cristina mentioned that they recorded three extra songs while making Karmacode. One has been out for a special edition of "Our Truth" single and another couple of songs they just recorded the music for and need to record the vocals too. Basically, there were three songs that didn't make it to the album, but they wanted to keep those beautiful songs for something special.

She commented that she doesn't really know what the next step in her career is and every day is a step ahead. She said that everyday, they are playing in front of new people and can win over some fans. She said you never know when someone listening can be a connection to something bigger.

She feels that Lacuna Coil has reached a very good point in their careers and there is a huge potential in the band that will get better and better each day. She doesn't have a specific goal in mind, but there are little goals every day. Such is the life for a musical artist.

In reference to how the internet has helped influence Lacuna Coil, Cristina said that you can take advantage of some technologies to make sure people find out about your music. She said that in some countries where the album is not distributed well, the fans can download songs to find out what you are playing and more about your music.

She feels that if you like the band's music, you should be able to support the artist. The internet is absolutely useful and appreciates having a web page so people can learn more about the band. She feels iTunes are a good idea and iTunes supplies a little bit of everything to the public.

She said that Lacuna Coil are playing for the Jimmy Kimmel show soon. She said the band is quite excited about that opportunity. Cristina concluded that she was most appreciative in speaking to Musical Discoveries.

  Karmacode
image © Century Media Records 2006

Album Review

Lacuna Coil's fourth full-length album Karmacode (Century Media (USA), 2006) builds upon their highly successful third album Comalies which drew the band significant attention in North America as well as the rest of the world. The album is notably heavier and more metallic, although the signature dense sound that sets Lacuna Coil aside from other bands operating in the genre still shines through loud and clear.

Cristina Scabbia's vocals either when sung alongside partner Andrea Ferro or alone are equally clear and evidence much power. Her extensive range soars above the heavy instrumentals and is clearly discernable even in the loudest movements. Vast musical dynamics are evident across the entire length of this new album.

The album opens with the powerful rocker "Fragile." Thick guitar arrangements, and a notably heavy bass line underscore the sound. Cristina and Andrea sing the lead as a duet and their extensive harmony layers add tremendous texture, so characteristic to the band's sound. "To The Edge" features Cristina's powerful lead distinctly split from the harmony layers giving the listener a first glimpse at the clarity and power that characterizes the singer's voice. The first single from the album "Our Truth" is an orchestrally supported metal edged masterpiece. Cristina's soaring vocalise opens the track before opening to the powerfully sung verse. The density of the chorus most exemplifies Lacuna Coil's sound with layers of vocal harmonies supported by thick instrumentals.

The band slows down for "Within Me" a Pink Floydish ballad with rich vocal harmonies and lighter instrumental arrangements where individual instruments are highlighted. The band's metal edges return in "Devoted" with their classic dense arrangements accompanying Andrea's lead. Cristina supports both verse and chorus with lead and backing vocal parts. The short "You Create" provides an excellent example of Cristina's ability to soar with vocalise above guitar and bass arrangements introducing the stunning track "What I See" where the vocalise continues and drives into her exciting lead vocal and ultimate duet with Andrea.

The album continues to develop its sound with further dense arrangements highlighting a great keyboard arrangement in "Fragments Of Faith" again both male and female singers blending vocal parts against a dramatic guitar arrangement. The tremendous multi-layered chorus has a great hook. "Closer" is introduced with a melodic bass line before the splendour of the full band enters the fray to support. Andrea's and Cristina's vocals are perfectly blended throughout the track. We especially enjoyed the way Cristina's lead carries the chorus.

Clearly one of the album's standout tracks is the delicately arranged ballad "In Visible Light." Cristina sings the verses alone in a relatively low key to perfectly adjoin the densely layered chorus, performed in classic Lacuna Coil style. Guitar solos between chorus and verse are tremendous. The fast-paced "The Game" is a heavier and percussive track with thick guitar and bass underscoring Cristina's and Andrea's vocal layers. Listen for Cristina's soaring vocalise accompanying instrumentals between chorus and verse.

As the album comes to a conclusion, the band perform the down-tempo "Without Fear" with Cristina soloing in the verses and joining Andrea in the richly arranged choruses. The album concludes with their own rendition of the Depeche Mode classic "Enjoy The Silence." Thick and densly constructed arrangements support Cristina's tremendous and tenderly sung lead vocal and powerful soaring vocalise. It is going to be a great crowd pleaser on their tours this summer.

Cristina Scabbia, Andrea Ferro and the rest of the Lacuna Coil lineup have produced another stunning album that follows along the trajectory established by their back catalog and Comalies. The "Our Truth" EPs include the radio edit of "Our Truth," the stunning non-album ballad "Without A Reason," a radio edit of "Swamped" and Jack Danger's Mix of "Our Truth."

While in addition to the new album, the band have already released an EP with several bonus tracks, clearly their fans won't want to wait for the next album as long as they have had to for this one.


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