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Lacuna Coil released Dark Adrenaline in 2012. I personally think that this is one of the best albums they've done in a long time. I think all of their albums are pretty good, and have at least one track that stands out really well, and the stand out track are often on repeat for a couple of hours for me. Though out of all the albums, the first one and this one are the ones that I've expressed the most interest in. Dark Adrenaline has become one of the band's most successful albums to date which shows that the band's musical development is attracting new audiences and intense changes are keeping the old fans interested.
In their first album, In a Reverie is was cold, second album Comalies it was Swamped, in karmacode it was a cover of Depeche Mode's Enjoy The Silence, In Shallow Life it was I won't Tell You. For Dark Adrenaline I would say it's a choice between Trip The Darkness and the cover of REM's song losing my religion. I'm more leaned towards the latter because I love their cover just as much as the original one.
This was one of the first albums released on my most anticipated albums of 2012 list. Lacuna Coil are probably one of the best known gothic metal/rock acts out there because the bands set up uses clean vocals from Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro who both kinda share the role as lead vocalist, even though Cristina is considered the leading lady.
The overall sound of the album is really energetic. Cristiano Migliore, Marco Biazzi and Marco Coti Zelati create some really exciting guitar riffs. Each song from the album leaves a giga impact. Considering the group did a lot of it by themselves, it's quite a remarkable development from the raw and hard to describe sound from their first album. Some of the fans considered it as bad thing because they got a nostalgic attachment to the old ways. Their choice I guess.
The album was produced by Don Gilmore who also worked their previous album, Shallow Life. Some of the anti-commercial fans really hate this because he's worked with commercially successful rock bands like Linkin Park and Bullet For My Valentine. To be honest, I do think that there are some traits that Lacuna Coil share with bands the bands he's worked on, but I don't think it's a really valid reason to dislike something because the person produced music for a band you really hate.
Whatever the case, most reviews agree that Dark Adrenaline is better than their previous album, Shallow Life. The title of the album really does describe the overall sound of the album because the music makes me think of adrenaline rushes and has a lot of dark undertones.
I liked the album and I think the it is worth at least one listen. I think it's a really creative album where Lacuna Coil really thinks outside the box and is the sort of record that incorporates a little bit of everything. I think it has a great flow and has a good variety, although some might find it hard to hear it because a lot of the variety is inside the undertones of the tracks.
My favourite tracks from the album include Trip The Darkness, Losing My Religion, Against You and Spirit. The rest were really great with their dominant gothic rock influences, but they didn't click with me like these four tracks did. Although Intoxicated would make a great single in my opinion. I also think that this album is very radio friendly which makes it a good for potential new fans who want to check out their most recent music.
I've still haven't warmed up to Andrea's vocals yet.His vocals are husky and throaty which is really good at emphasising angry tones, but for some reason I just turn a blind eye to his voice because I think it's overall average and generic. On the other hand, his vocals didn't bother me as much as they did on previous albums. Cristina always steals the limelight in the vocal house. Cristina has a strong vocal range and vocal superiority and the ability to outclass many female vocalists dominating the charts.
Another problem I had with the album was that I felt that there was a little lack of emotion. There aren't really any ballads unless you count End Of Time and Spirit that have a much reduced tempo compared to the rest of the tracks. This is probably just one of my nitpicks but I think the album has too much anger into it and it doesn't leave much of a chance for Cristina to show the lovely tender side of her vocals.
On the other hand, I've never really found their lyrics interesting enough. This could be because the vocals and music are a lot more stronger so I'm only focusing on the music. The lyrics have that real ageless feel to it, that some would consider a childish because you wouldn't imagine people at 40 to write it. Although I wouldn't really consider it childish, it's more simplistic but effective. I don't mind, when I am paying attention to the lyrics, they seem to go well with the rest of the elements in the music.
Despite these few problems, I still believe it is a great album and stand by the fact it's one of the best Lacuna Coil album in ages because it takes a lot of risks and pulls them off well. I think the band learned from the trials and errors of the risks taken in previous albums and put them into better use on Dark Adrenaline. Everybody who got annoyed with Shallow Life are very likely to forgive them.
Lacuna Coil (Italian gothic metal) are one of my all-time favourite bands. Originally known as Sleep of Right, they signed to Century Media in 1997 and eventually relabelled themselves as Lacuna Coil (Empty Spiral). The current band line up is Cristina Scabbia (lead vocals, lyricist), Andrea Ferro (vocals), Cristiano Migliore (guitarist), Marco Biazzi (guitarist), Marco Cito Zelati (bassist, keyboardist, composer) and Cristiano Mozzati (drummer). After their 5th studio release the band were slightly criticised by many fans for becoming somewhat more mainstream and perhaps losing the essence of what was so appealing about them in their early days, but I didn't entirely subscribe to this because I personally feel if bands don't evolve they stagnate but I did agree they were not as hard hitting as they used to be.
So, it was with eager anticipation that I awaited their 6th studio release of "Dark Adrenaline" which was increased tenfold when the band whetted our appetites with the digital release of the single "Trip the Darkness" which can only be described as magnificent. Following this up with the leak of the song "Kill the Light" and the fact that I got to hear both songs when I was fortunate enough to see Lacuna Coil play live a few months before the release of the album it felt like a darker, rawer sound had returned to the band and could it be possible that the creativity and spark that made them so compelling in their early days had returned? Find out after this short break...
==Dark Adrenaline (2012)==
So, kicking the album off is the rather awesome "Trip the Darkness". Heavy and full of dramatic, synthesised gothic undertones, this is a wonderfully explosive song. Scabbia and Ferro's vocals are balanced beautifully throughout and their dual vocals sound as good as ever with Ferro and his usual growling gruffness countering Scabbia's beautiful harmonies. Scabbia shows off her superb range with slow, simmering vocals erupting into an intense chorus and some impressively high notes. There are some excellent heavy guitar riffs to really keep up the intensity of the track as well as some subtly morose lyrics - "There's no time here in space, what a day I see beauty in everything, but the world is still fading away". Openings don't come better than this.
"I Don't Believe in Tomorrow" is another darkly gothic and intensely atmospheric tune. A slowly building, haunting intro that bursts into heaviness starts off this raw and angry song which whilst not having a greatly varying flow throughout maintains a fantastic intensity that is very captivating. For once Ferro takes on the chorus and restrains his usual growling for much more sensitive vocals and it is Scabbia that carries the rest of the song often with a very acerbic tone throughout which belies her usual emotional qualities in an intriguing game of "turnabout is fair play". There are some brilliant guitar passages in this song which have a level of complexity that may have been missing in the last couple of albums which are really enthralling as well as some fittingly angry lyrics - "I want to say it now cause I don't believe in tomorrow, the storm is raging now cause I lost my faith in you".
"Intoxicated" is another grippingly heavy track but is perhaps a bit catchier than the aforementioned two. Scabbia takes the lead vocals on this one and utilises an angry tone to her vocals throughout which are strong throughout, and Ferro supplies a little background juxtaposition with his growling efforts. This song has nice variation in it with slow building atmospheric passages interspersed with a heavy but catchy chorus again through some epic guitar riffs which only grows in intensity as the song reaches its climax. I love the lyrics on this one which have a gloomily poetic feel to them - "Broken mirror, seven years of stolen luck. I tried to fix you one more time but I must let it die, the dream that we'd survive". A similar song is "Against You" which has a heavy guitar foundation, some stunning guitar solos plus some absorbing variations in the tempo alongside a catchy chorus, but it is perhaps slightly less evocative with Ferro's vocals taking centre stage as after the halfway point the song simply plays out with the chorus repeated a number of times which somewhat stunts any real story to be had lyrically although there are some good lines - "Once again, I am the revolution that you cannot feel, the prize you cannot win. You stained my life and painted everything in black and blood I'm not your portrait anymore".
After all this heavy and darkly gothic stuff, there are a few more up-beat numbers thrown in. "Upsidedown" is one of my favourites - it is probably one of the catchiest songs on the album and relies a lot less on heavy riffs (although there are some great guitar solo pieces) and much more on melody. Once again Ferro and Scabbia's vocals mesh beautifully together with a superb balance between the two and the tone of both music and vocals is of a very sardonic nature which I find very appealing going very nicely with the lyrics - "So the person that you think of me doesn't care what you believe, doesn't miss you anymore. Don't try to change your life with mine". Similarly "Fire" is also very up-beat with a certain sense of empowerment, although perhaps with negative connotations - "Let the fire into you. Let the anger start to brew. Let your instincts break the rules. Let it rise and rise in you". Again there is a very catchy tune with less heavy guitars with quieter passages leading up to a very up-tempo chorus and yet another brilliant balance achieved vocal-wise.
"The Army Inside" is another song with an up-tempo feel to it, although is certainly not up-beat, with a rather menacing feel to it both musically, with stark changes in the tempo from an extreme guitar solo to slow and moody passages, and also lyrically - "I will crush you to the ground with words you'll never forget. I'll hunt you down, it will become the end of your day". Ferro's gruff vocals work perfectly for the chorus and Scabbia again takes on an enraged tone which really enhances the sinister feel to this song. "Kill The Light" is another empowering song and almost acts as a bridge between the heavier, darker offerings and the more up-tempo songs by being a mixture of the two. There are hints of gothic undertones with a synthesised background sound along with some heavy riffs, but the tempo never becomes frenetic, and when the gothic passages kick in this song is very atmospheric. For the first real time Scabbia is particularly emotional vocally in direct contrast to Ferro's more antagonistic tones and again they have a found a great balance between the dual vocals. I also really enjoy the lyrics of this one as the story has a powerful message - "I'm far away from the nothing, I only want to escape, cause you can't kill the light inside of me".
"Give me Something More" is an example of a catchy, much slower tempo song with a much more synthesised sound to it and a high percussion emphasis. (Now on a side note, my friend once told me whilst I was kindly driving him home due to his inebriated state that he couldn't stand all the gothic metal music I played in my car to which I informed him he should stick his beloved S Club 7 up any orifice of his choosing. But later, on another drunken taxi journey home, he found himself merrily singing along to this song - I'll make a convert of him yet...) Again, the balance of the vocals work brilliantly with Ferro's gruffness enhancing Scabbia's emotional performance which goes beautifully with the gorgeous melancholic melodies on this song, not to mention the mournful lyrics - "I disappear into the night. The silence is cursing me one more time. I'm not alone in this decline, cause all my demons have come back to life".
Lacuna Coil are also masters of the ballad and have so far in every album gone previously delivered some heart-rending songs, and thankfully they have yet again not let me down. "My Spirit" is a captivating ballad, with gothic undertones, sweet vocals and a sorrowful tune. Both Ferro and Scabbia sing with powerful emotion and harmonise fabulously together, and this is a hauntingly beautiful song which for the first time on the album causes tingles - "The gates of hell are waiting, let them wait a little more. Where, where I go my spirit is free, I'm coming home". There is also a passage sung in Italian which I always love as even if you can't understand the words, the emotion seems somehow more poignant and always shines through. Backing this up is "End of Time" which always makes me feel like I want to cry. This is a tragic song sung absolutely beautifully by both Scabbia and Ferro and is by far the most emotional tune on the album with the guitars and keyboard uniting to create a very mournful lament - "Cause I belong to you, cause I am part of you. I am dying in your arms, it's time to go, I can't make it through".
The biggest surprise on this album goes to the cover of R.E.M's legendary "Losing My Religion" - risky! I'll admit the first time I heard it my initial reaction was - "What the hell is this?" as it was barely recognisable to the original, but the more I heard it the more I was glad that Lacuna Coil had put their trademark stamp on it, and now I love it. It will never compare to the original, but the fact that it is so different means it doesn't have to as it is their own interpretation. They create the familiar tune with the keyboard and whilst it gets off to a slow start, once they get into their stride the emotion really shines through and this is a superb cover. If you purchase this album through iTunes (which I didn't so have now purchased this song separately - boo) you can get the bonus track "Soul Inmate". This one is heavy, similar to "Intoxicated" and "Trip the Darkness" with a fast tempo and angry quality to it and some very powerful vocals which is all very electrifying and well worth getting a hold of.
So would I say that the creativity and spark that made them so compelling in their early days has returned? Yes I would. This is their best work in a very long time with an excitingly heavy and passionate feel to their music with the perfect balance musically, vocally and lyrically and a fantastic variety of songs. My only possible criticism is that there weren't enough purely emotional songs for Scabbia to show off her stunning vocals but that is just a personal preference - this is first class stuff and I can't imagine old fans whinging about this album. Five stars.
Now, you have the option to buy just the songs, a digi-pack containing an extra DVD, or a box-set containing an extra DVD, a calendar and three buttons in a plastic pouch. Not wanting to pay extra for a calendar and buttons that I know would mysteriously get lost in my black hole of a house I went for the digi-pack curious about what the extra "Dark Passengers" DVD could be all about. Well, with a macabre looking menu screen with some ominous looking bottles of Dark Adrenaline you get to choose from 6 Dark Passengers which turn out to be almost like movie trailers for some rather disturbing films:
Chapter I: The Injected
Set to the music of "Give Me Something More" starring Cristina Scabbia as herself and her evil twin. Set in an abandoned warehouse we find our poor Cristina tied to a chair whilst being pumped full of dark adrenaline as her evil twin torments her and she begins to foresee what will come in the next chapters..
Chapter II: While you Sleep
Set to "Intoxicated" we see "The Vàmpìr" (Andreas Ferro), a cloaked figure with fangs and very sharp nails (as obviously vampires cannot afford nail clippers) creeping up to a young sleeping woman (Scabbia) with a very 1930s feel to it set in black and white with grainy pictures and an very B-movie kind of narrative. Who can stop this vampire and save the girl?
Chapter III: Carnage Euphoria
Set to "Upsidedown" we find a young unconscious girl in a car waking up to face a hockey mask wearing, chainsaw wielding maniac (Marco Biazzi) who begins to chase her down in disturbing fashion. Can she escape her bloody fate?
Chapter IV: The Human Box
Set to "Kill The Light" we find a mad scientist (Andrea Ferro) doing strange things in a secret lab to two corpses (Cristina Scabbia and Cristiano Migliore) - what is his evil experiment?
Chapter V: All you can eat
Set to "Fire" we find ourselves in the kitchen of a Japanese restaurant with two chefs (one played by Marco Cito Zelati) where one of the chefs shows the other how to make extra special sushi...and it isn't by using raw fish...
Chapter VI: The sane madness
Set to "Trip the Darkness" we find a deranged ex-scientist (Cristiano Mozzati) on a downward spiral into madness as he is looking for revenge for something unknown which will clearly involve some kind of martial arts action.
These "film trailers" were obviously a lot of fun for the band, and they are good fun to watch as well as being enjoyably disturbing in places, only lasting around 16 minutes for all of them so I would recommend getting this extra DVD if you are going to buy this album as they are entertaining, albeit that the band should stick to their day job with some of their hammy acting.
1. Trip the Darkness - 10/10
2. Against You - 8/10
3. Kill the Light - 9/10
4. Give Me Something More
5. Upsidedown - 9/10
6. End of Time - 10/10
7. I Don't Believe in Tomorrow - 9/10
8. Intoxicated - 9/10
9. The Army Inside - 8/10
10. Losing My Religion (R.E.M. cover) - 8/10
11. Fire - 9/10
12. My Spirit - 9/10