Where do I begin with LACUNA COIL? Album-wise they have been up and down in terms of quality ever since Comalies, which I loved. From there it was Karmacode (really liked), Shallow Life (oy!), and Dark Adrenaline (loved!), which like the title suggests was darker and heavier than they’d been in a long time. So naturally I hoped they’d continue in that vein, maybe even more so. Alas, that is not the case with new record Broken Crown Halo, out April 1 via Century Media Records. And hey, I get it. When you’ve been around as long as they have and enjoyed success in every corner of the earth you pretty much have free reign to make whatever kind of albums you like. And clearly LACUNA COIL did.
To be dead honest for someone like me there’s not a whole lot to get excited over. But as usual with this band what works does so really, really well. And it’s not like the album doesn’t have moments of greatness because it certainly does. “Zombie” would be one of them. The deep, dark riff permeating the whole song makes it an instant standout and Cristina Scabbia shines, but that’s not exactly news. Andrea Ferro does a good job on this one, too. “Hostage to the Light” is another good song and again Cristina nails it in every aspect. “Victims” had a chance to be one of the better tracks on the album until that spoken-word section. No. Just no. And not only is album opener “Nothing Stands In Our Way” too weak to be the opener the chorus is downright silly.
Oh, and THEN we come to the KORN song of the record apparently. “Die & Rise” which believe it or not is about werewolves has some of the most uninspired lyrics I’ve ever heard from this band. From here we get another stellar performance from Cristina in “I Forgive (But I Won’t Forget)”, but the material itself is subpar. I did thoroughly enjoy “Infection” because this one has some oomph behind it and the band sounds like they’re happy to be playing something meatier. One of the things I loved most about it is the two voices working together and not the constant push and pull we get on a lot of LACUNA COIL tunes. “Cybersleep” had me nervous because of the auto tuned beginning, but it winds up being one of the album’s best maybe because it’s all Cristina all the time? I don’t know…
OK. Eight songs in and this album could go either way. “I Burn In You” is not quite a slow song and not quite an up-tempo number, but there was definitely something about it I dug. Things also look promising with “In the End I Feel Alive” as well, a nice balance of ballsy and melodic with a very cool hook. Closing things out is “One Cold Day” which feels very much like something I would put on a CD to honor a fallen friend or relative, so obviously that won me over. Look, ultimately I liked more songs than I didn’t on Broken Crown Halo, but I just feel like as a whole LACUNA COIL can do better.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Infection”, “Zombie”, “Cybersleep”, “Hostage to the Light”