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Lacuna Coil - Broken Crown Halo (2014) - Review

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Band: Lacuna Coil
Album title: Broken Crown Halo
Release Date: 31 March 2014
Label: Century Media Records

01. Nothing Stands In Our Way
02. Zombies
03. Hostage To The Light
04. Victims
05. Die & Rise
06. I Forgive (But I Won't Forget Your Name)
07. Cybersleep
08. Infection
09. I Burn In You
10. In The End I Feel Alive
11. One Cold Day

I'm probably never going to forget the first time I encountered Lacuna Coil. It was through ''To Myself I Turned'' from 2002's In A Reverie. And to this day, that very album is still - for me personally - the highlight of Lacuna Coil’s quite dashing career. Lacuna Coil arose in the music scene with a distinguished, eerie version of melodic metal, influenced by gothic music and imagery. Recognizable mid-tempo tunes and catchy songs, which evoked deepest and most fragile emotions, soon became the band’s trademark. Therefore it’s no surprise the band’s style is - quite frequently - described as “pop metal”.  Starting with a profound and a bit mysterious EP Lacuna Coil, went on with most intense, warm and expressive In A Reverie, continued with darksome and striking Unleashed Memories and finally releasing light-weight, melodic and catchy Comalies. This is the first half of the Lacuna Coil musical path, which is - I daresay – to be most admired. But 2006’s Karmacode marked a heavy twist in the band’s sound, as its notable style became greatly influenced by US rock and alternative metal. And since that very release, Lacuna Coil has been ranking on the Billboard’s list higher and higher with each release.

Let me be perfectly honest by saying I’m having a hell lot of a trouble describing the highlights and down points of this album and my perception of it.  As the release date approached, the band, and especially the always lovely and sexy front woman, Cristina Scabbia, have been bombing the social media with news and teasers concerning Broken Crown Halo, making sure it got the publicity it deserved. First released single, “Nothing Stands In Our Way'', which is also the album’s opener, was intriguing, but nothing particularly special. It basically gave me the feel Lacuna Coil’s walking on the same path as it did with the last three releases. When I rolled the entire album I came to realize my instinct did not let me down. Basically put, nothing much has changed since the Halo’s predecessor, Dark Adrenaline. The songs are fairly predictable, easy to listen to, but also easy to forget. “Zombies” seemed to have become everyone’s sweetheart, and if you want to know why, don’t ask me, because I find it to be such an instant song. I would say the same for “Victims”. “Hostages To The Light” opens up promising, with a mesmerizing melody, but takes a sudden twist in the chorus and the dynamics of the song disintegrates in a glimpse of an eye. “Die & Rise” goes down the same path, as it collides within itself. It seems as if the tunes are completely out of balance and it ruins the overall fluency of the album. The majority of the songs follow that pattern. The last third of the album, however, is the strongest with slower “I Burn In You” and “One Cold Day”, alongside the energetic “In The End I Feel Alive’’. These songs actually do hold some of that Lacuna Coil ambient. “I Forgive (But I Won’t Forget Your Name)” is also a track that may, just may, stick in your head for a while with its catchy chorus. But still, there is no ‘’whoa’’ effect on the album. None of these tracks possess the energy that would make your heart stop for a moment as it would overwhelm your from head to toe.

Musically Broken Crown Halo holds heavy guitar mixing within the songs, pounding bass lines and a more down-tune style. Now, there is no way we can talk about Lacuna Coil without mentioning (again) their absolutely stunning vocalist, Cristina Scabbia, and her transcendental voice. She is vocally growing with each and every release and always puts 100% of herself in the music and she did it again. She poured her soul and heart into these tracks and you can just feel how devoted she is to music through her singing. On the other hand, her “beast” Andrea Ferro managed to surprise pleasantly, since he used – after quite some time - some wretched screams and twisted growls on this record and scored some plus points here.

This record will definitely appeal the listeners, who prefer the alternative sound to gothic influenced music. True and devoted Coilers will probably like it as well. But if you look for a Lacuna Coil album that will bring that grandiose atmosphere which embodies graciousness, wrath and grief inside deep personal struggles, you won’t find it in Broken Crown Halo. The album lacks inspiration, consistency and fluency and that is a major minus. The fine usage of keyboards mixed with acoustic and electric guitars is long gone and a distinctive characteristic: sheer catchiness of the songs, is long gone. Note, that this album deserves more than just one listen and it takes more than one listen to get accustomed to, but if you’re expecting another In A Reverie…. Don’t even bother.

Review written by: Ines
Rating: 6,5/10