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LACUNA COIL - DELIRIUM REVIEW

----------------------------Front page introduction:


-----------------------Lacuna Coil introduces a new lineup and a return to a heavier style with "Deliri
um"

REVIEW
-----Sound - 7/10
-----------It's been quite a couple of years for this Italian alternative metal band, with
massive lineup changes (leaving only vocalists Andrea Ferro and Cristina Scabbia
, and bassist/keyboardist Marco Coti Zelati as the band's remaining original mem
bers), with long-time guitarists Cristiano Migliore and Marco Biazzi, and drumme
r Cristiano Mozzati leaving the band (Mozzati leaving just before the release of
the band's previous album). Many bands would hang up their towel and call it a
day with the loss of half of their membership, but rather than capitulate, Lacun
a Coil has decided to soldier on, with Zelati taking up the lion's share of the
guitar playing duties, save for many of the album's guitar solos, which feature
a rotating lineup of guest performers, and new drummer Ryan Blake Folden making
his official recording debut with Lacuna Coil. The result is a bit of a change i
n the band's style, which has gotten a bit less reliant on Andrea Ferro's harshe
r vocals over the last few albums and became a little bit more of an accessible
hard rock sound. On "Delirium", however, the band returns triumphantly to a more
metal-oriented sound fans of the band's earlier material will be familiar with.
Andrea's vocals rely much more on his shouted vocals, almost to the point of ma
king this record sound rather harsh. Cristina Scabbia's vocals almost seem pushe
d back in the mix a little bit, only coming out during some verses and choruses,
but when she does sing, she reminds me why her vocals have always been my favou
rite element of this band's sound.
Musically speaking, the album's heavier tones should appeal to many of Lacuna Co
il's fans, especially as there seems to be a big overlap between Lacuna Coil's f
anbase and those of bands like Korn, which is a band I could easily compare much
of the instrumental work on this album to. And while the album does seem to tak
e the bulk of its influence from that early 2000s style of alternative metal, th
ere are shades of other styles of metal throughout the record, with the opening
track "The House Of Shame" sounding somewhat reminiscent of "Roots"-era Sepultur
a, and even a few very brief flirtations with a very modern-sounding "djenty" st
yle on tracks like "Ghost In The Mist" and "Claustrophobia". Even though this ma
y make it seem like the album covers a lot of ground, to be perfectly honest, I
found many of the tracks to sound very similar to one another. A few of the song
s in the album's second half (which I found to be somewhat stronger than the fir
st half) open with almost the same kind of palm-muted single guitar line. Most o
f the songs are anchored by low seven-string riffs that stick between the root a
nd minor second (or the 0-1-0-1-0-1-etc. style of metal guitar, as many commente
rs would mention), and this is not something that varies much through the album.
Some of the songs themselves seem to be constructed out of as few individual pa
rts as possible, with a few songs basically just containing alternating verses a
nd choruses with not much else. Songs like "Delirium" and "Take Me Home" contain
melodies that would come off much stronger, had they not been repeated so often

. While Lacuna Coil's songs traditionally don't contain very many guitar solos,
the band saw fit to include a few on this record, but without a permanent guitar
player during the recording sessions, the band enlisted the help of many guest
performers, including Myles Kennedy from Alter Bridge (who plays an atypically b
luesy solo on "Downfall"), record producer Marco Barusso ("The House Of Shame),
Mark Vollelunga of Nothing More ("Blood, Tears, Dust"), Alessandro La Porta form
erly of Italian metalcore band Forgotten Tears ("Claustrophobia"), and even the
band's new permanent lead guitarist, Diego Cavallotti, plays a solo on the album
's closing track, "Ultima Ratio". Happily, Diego's solo on that track is my favo
urite on the album, and he absolutely shreds on that track, meaning that the ban
d will be continuing on with a particularly excellent guitar player, and that fu
ture albums should likely sound much better.
The production on the album is another slight weak point for me, as much of it i
s mixed very loudly, and there isn't as much breathing room for the instruments
and vocals to shine through. There's a very prominent "wall of sound" style of p
roduction throughout the record, and even the album's softer moments try to fill
as much sonic space as possible with keyboards and reverb-drenched guitar parts
and loud, searing rhythm guitars. It can make the experience of sitting to list
en to the whole album a little bit painful, and it almost seems like an album yo
u'd want to listen to in shorter bursts rather than sitting and trying to digest
it all at once. The bass doesn't shine through as much as I'd like it to, and i
t sadly seems as though some of Cristina Scabbia's vocals just aren't as promine
nt in the mix as they should be.
Despite some of the flaws in the sound, there are some pretty great musical mome
nts on this record, and the sneak preview of new guitarist Diego Cavallotti's st
yle shows that their future albums will have some serious potential. The album's
second half also has some incredibly epic-sounding tunes like "Claustrophobia",
and I find that the album's tracks that don't feature as much of Andrea's harsh
vocals are the better tracks.
Lyrics - 7/10
------------Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro represent a sort of classic "soprano and grave
l" lineup of vocalists, and for the most part, the album uses them in roughly eq
ual proportion. Cristina's vocals are among some of my favourite female vocals o
f any metal band, since she has a particularly unique sound that separates her f
rom a lot of her contemporaries in the "gothic" alt-metal scene (think gals like
Amy Lee, Sharon Den Adel, or Tarja Turunen). Cristina has used her vocal style
well in many other contexts as well, including the most recent album by one of m
y own favourite musicians, Arjen Lucassen, on his Ayreon project. As mentioned b
efore, her vocals are very much my favourite aspect of Lacuna Coil's sound, and
sadly, the production style of this album seems to have pushed her vocals back i
n the mix a little bit, with vocal harmonies like the ones on "My Demons" seemin
g a little distant. On the other hand, Andrea Ferro's vocals have shown a much m
ore prominent return to harsh shouts and growls, though he does still employ som
e very nice clean vocals from time to time (especially on the song "Take Me Home
"). His harsh vocals, in contrast to Cristina's slightly-pushed-back sound, are
very upfront and overwhelming in the mix. While I do enjoy harsh vocals, the way
they're presented on this record does make me feel a little like they were tryi
ng to overemphasize them.
Lyrically, the band tackles the usual topics of personal demons, depression, ang
er. Tracks like the opener, "The House Of Shame", exemplify this approach with l
ines like "Why always staring into the light?/If I don't hide inside the darknes
s/You'll be compromised/But sometimes/You will fly with me again/without falling
". The vocalists also have a tendency to repeat certain lyrical lines quite ofte

n, to the point of bringing them beyond just being a simple "hooky" earworm and
almost to just simply being annoying. The chorus of the title track simply consi
sts of the word "delirium" repeated over and over, and the vocal hook in "Take M
e Home" gets repeated ad nauseum.
Thankfully, the skill of the two singers is enough to forgive some of my lyrical
misgivings, as they are delivered quite well, even if the vocal production is a
little off.
Overall Impression - 7/10
------------------------This is far from a perfect release from Lacuna Coil, but it should please long-t
ime fans who might have become a little bit disillusioned by the band's recent e
xplorations into a more typical hard rock sound. The band's performances through
out are rather good, and the new lineup is proving itself to be a worthy one. Wi
th a little more contribution from guitarist Diego Cavallotti, the new Lacuna Co
il has the potential to really grow and become a huge force in the alt-metal sce
ne once again. At times, the album might seem a bit anachronistic, reminding lis
teners of Korn, and sometimes it almost seems a bit too modern, with brief flirt
ations with bands like Born Of Osiris, but the vocals of Cristina and Andrea see
m to give the band an identity of their own. Though the album does have a tenden
cy to come off as a little harsh and loud, and the elements of the album can bec
ome a little repetitive, there are plenty of perfectly enjoyable musical moments
on this record. One of my favourite aspects of this record are the many guest s
olos, which run the gamut from the atypically bluesy Myles Kennedy to a sort of
"Korn if they were shredders" approach by Mark Vollelunga.
If you're a fan of Lacuna Coil, especially their early material, you owe it to y
ourself to check this album out. If not, you might still find this to be a good
record. Far from one of my favourite releases of 2016, but still something I wou
ld find myself coming back to listen to again.