Lacuna Coil
Dark Adrenaline

As Lacuna Coil’s sound has drifted more and more commercial, my opinion has been here and there on them. I love Comalies, but the bouncy, nu-metallish stuff of Karmacode didn’t connect with me. The catchy melodies of Shallow Life, though, managed to win me over despite the fact that it was easily the poppiest release in the band’s catalog.

 Dark Adrenaline blends all of those elements. There’s some of the bouncy stuff, there are some very commercial numbers, and there’s a little bit of that goth rock slipping back in around the edges.

Things start well. First single and first track “Trip the Darkness” is probably the best song Lacuna Coil has recorded since Comalies. It opens with a heavy riff, and the vocals are heavy on Cristina Scabbia and light on Andrea Ferro – which was a complaint with some of the songs on Shallow Life. When you’ve got a voice like Scabbia in the band, why is she being used so often to accentuate Ferro’s less than impressive vocals? There’s a nice hook on the song, and there’s a little darker, goth feel. If the rest of the record could live up to that song, Dark Adrenaline would be awesome.

“Against You” provides another rocking riff and verse, but the chorus doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s a soaring bit, and instead of giving it to the soaring voice of Scabbia, it goes mostly to Ferro. There’s a very tasty solo on the track that lifts it back up, and the song ends on a strong note. So far, so good.

“Kill the Light” keeps things headed in the right direction. There’s a little darkness, a great vocal from Scabbia, and they use Ferro where he’s most effective on a more uptempo and aggressive chorus. I love the little exotic flair right after the second chorus, too. The softer Ferro interlude, not so much, but it all works together.

At this point, I’m feeling cautiously optimistic, but I’m still holding my breath for it to fall apart. “Give Me Something More” is the first drop off, giving us a couple of dance beats and playing more to the Shallow Life sound. Still, it’s not a horrible song. “Upsidedown” brings back the nu-metal sound and is pretty meh. I don’t hate it, but I could live fine without it. A fairly pedestrian love song follows in “End of Time,” and more nu-metal stuff on “I Don’t Believe in Tomorrow” announce that we’ve officially hit a lull.

“Intoxicated” injects some energy back into the record, though. There’s a huge, grooving riff on the track and Scabbia’s belting again. There’s a little of all the elements in this one, and I’ve got a smile on my face and the stereo cranking again. “The Army Inside” is a driving rocker and while not spectacular, I like it. There’s a very 1980s-flavored guitar solo that appeals to my nostalgic side.

Now, we get to the track that I’ve been both anticipating and dreading – their cover of R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion.” I knew from the time that I saw it in the tracklisting it was likely going to be either awesome or awful. In reality, it’s neither. I’ll grant that I have a slight aversion to the song since I heard it every time I turned around as a teenager, but the Lacuna Coil version really moves me neither way.

The final two tracks are a split. “Fire” is an angry song without enough anger behind it. Instead it goes with the poppier sound of Shallow Life. But “My Spirit” is the ballad I was hoping for. It’s dark, it’s gothic and there’s a seething anger lurking just beneath the surface. The growling guitars are muted, but they create a great tension under the verse, and I like Ferro’s delivery there, too. I don’t even mind the Italian spoken word part. It ends the album on a very good note.

When guitarists Cristiano Migliore and Marco Biazzi get turned loose, their stuff is great. Scabbia, in my opinion, remains the best female voice in the metal world. The record is tight, and it sounds fantastic. Granted, there are a few mediocre tunes and the R.E.M. cover, but there’s nothing here that I dislike and the record has some of their best work in a decade. Overall, Dark Adrenaline is a winner, and it’s easily Lacuna Coil’s best work since Comalies.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Fred Phillips
March 7th, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: LongDeadGod

    Glat to see a review of this on this site. I know Lacuna Coil has lost alot of favor in the metal scene, and have noticed their stuff getting covered less and less on the sites I respect.
    I know I can go out and listen for myself because the whole album is uploaded to youtube or somewhere equally accessible, but this is the reason I go to review sites, helps me filter what I’m going to actually waste my time on.
    Lastly, this is a well written review, and definately tells me everything I need to know. Thanks.


  2. Commented by: Shawn Pelata

    What I have heard is the best from them in a long time…certainly tops that last dismal effort.


  3. Commented by: DK777

    I totally agree on what should be the band’s trump card all the time: Cristina’s voice. With all due respect to the rest of the band, she is their not-so-secret weapon. And with all due respect to folks like Simone Simons (the second best female voice in metal?), Cristina has a great blend of technical skill and emotion that lifts every song she sings.

    And I like the album a lot. I hear fewer weak spots than you do, and I actually like “Losing My Religion” a lot… despite feeling nauseous when I saw it in the track listing! Some of the harmonic changes LC adds make it, in many ways, a new song.

    Good review, summing up the very hit-or-miss nature of LC albums…


  4. Commented by: Clauricaune

    I’m surprised I actually liked this.


  5. Commented by: GW

    This is, without a doubt in my mind, one of the most cliched cheesy releases ever. The lyrics are like a giant collection of pathetic hackneyed phrases.
    There are TWO fricking 7-string players doing nothing at all but some boring worn out Groovy/Nu-Metal riffing.
    The album sounds slick, commercial, and over produced.

    It barely even qualifies as metal.


  6. Commented by: GW

    “Dark Adrenaline is a winner, and it’s easily Lacuna Coil’s best work since Comalies.”

    This single statement makes me remove, as credible, any reviews by you on a metal site.

    Even the album title screams Warning!! Warning!!


  7. Commented by: Clauricaune

    I digress. Fred’s a power/thrash/traditional metal and hard rock expert, and his reviews are all pretty much spot-on.

    Metal puritanism is bad for your health, mate. There’s no need to take anything that seriously.


  8. Commented by: gabaghoul

    don’t feed the troll


  9. Commented by: Fred Phillips

    Thanks, guys. You make a crotchety old bastard feel a little better — well, some of you, anyway. ;) I’ll admit that I might like “Losing My Religion” a little better if I hadn’t been a teen when it was a hit for R.E.M. Honestly, I liked the original at first, but it was just one of those songs that got so overplayed that I couldn’t stand to hear it anymore.


  10. Commented by: elguerosinfe

    REM cover…..pretty much says it all


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