Milan-based Heavy Metal icons are back with another good album that will please their fans for sure.
Some like to call them Alternative Metal, some Gothic Metal, and some even Alternative Rock. No matter which definition you believe suits them better, Italian band Lacuna Coil have always been recognized as one of the most creative and influential bands in heavy music from the past two decades, and now Andrea Ferro, la bella ragazza Cristina Scabbia & Co. return with another good album, Broken Crown Halo, which according to the band was in part influenced by classic Italian horror movies, and it’s also the last to feature drummer Cristiano “Criz” Mozzati and guitarist Cristiano “Pizza” Migliore.
We must admit it might be pretty hard for the band to stay relevant and generate innovative material after all those years on the road, but this Milan-based band always manages to provide us something that’s at least enjoyable, which is the case with this new album. I don’t know how much the departure of Criz and Pizza might have impacted the recording of Broken Crown Halo, nor how this will affect the band’s live performances, but one thing we can rest assured: the album is not disappointing at all.
Nothing Stands in Our Way opens the album in a very traditional “Lacuna Coil” way, with some good riffs and keyboards together with Cristina’s potent voice, making it one of the best tracks of the album. Then we have a more Heavy Metal track called Zombies, in which Andrea and Cristina do a very good job, with highlights also to the pretty cool and strong bass lines, followed by Hostage to the Light, which gets the album back to a more gothic atmosphere (especially due to its beautiful vocal lines).
Victims follows almost the same line as the previous track, although not as good and sometimes too generic, while Die & Rise sounds very alternative with some electronic elements. Can it be considered some kind of “heavy dance music”? Anyway, the next track I Forgive (But I Won’t Forget Your Name) reminds me a little of Within Temptation, albeit too repetitive and even too pop for a heavy music album.
Broken Crown Halo goes on with another alternative semi-ballad called Cybersleep, which is not engaging at all; Infection, a heavier track with Nu Metal bass lines and an interesting chorus; and one of my favorites, I Burn in You, with its vocals, harmony and rhythm inspired by some good old 80’s Gothic Rock mixed with the musicality of bands like Paradise Lost and The Gathering. I wish they had added more of this to the album, as it’s really pleasurable to listen to and avoids that “generic” feeling we’re all afraid of finding in our favorite bands’ material.
The last two tracks of Broken Crown Halo are the good In the End I Feel Alive, especially because of its heavy riffs and bass lines (which I really enjoyed) and another very cohesive vocal duet, and the melancholic ballad One Cold Day, the longest track of the album totally focused on piano passages, beautiful lyrics and Cristina’s delicate vocals. By the way, what else can be said about Cristina that hasn’t been said yet? She’s totally awesome.
In summary, Broken Crown Halo will please almost all fans of the band, because although it’s not a masterpiece it’s far from being a “schifo” (as the band members would say), and the talent and professionalism of the whole band is always remarkable. Besides, in my opinion it’s slightly better than its predecessor, Dark Adrenaline, or at least less pop, which is a good thing for Heavy Metal fans like myself that prefer the heavy riffs found in this album than any overproduced videos or excessive cheesiness done just to make more money, and therefore it will help the band keep their fire burning for many years to come.
Best moments of the album: Nothing Stands in Our Way, Hostage of the Light, I Burn in You and In the End I Feel Alive.
Worst moments of the album: Victims, I Forgive (But I Won’t Forget Your Name) and Cybersleep.
Released in 2014 Century Media
1. Nothing Stands in Our Way 4:07
2. Zombies 3:47
3. Hostage to the Light 3:56
4. Victims 4:31
5. Die & Rise 3:44
6. I Forgive (But I Won’t Forget Your Name) 3:56
7. Cybersleep 4:26
8. Infection 4:23
9. I Burn in You 4:15
10. In the End I Feel Alive 4:21
11. One Cold Day 6:09
Cristina Scabbia – vocals
Andrea Ferro – vocals
Marco Coti Zelati – bass
Marco ‘Maus’ Biazzi – guitars
Cristiano ‘Pizza’ Migliore* – guitars
Cristiano ‘Criz’ Mozzati* – drums
*Retired from the band in February 2014