Just over two years since 'Dark Adrenaline' appeared and Lacuna Coil are back with a new full-length offering in the form of 'Broken Crown Halo'. With the departure of long-time members, guitarist Cristiano "Pizza" Migliore and drummer Cristiano “Criz” Mozzati, announced earlier this year, this will undoubtedly be the final release to include the band's long established lineup that has featured on every one of their albums since 1999's 'In a Reverie'. So it's something of a pivotal and poignant release in that sense; a poignancy made more emphatic by album closer 'One Cold Day', a moving and beautiful composition that's been dedicated to original guitarist Claudio Leo who sadly died in January last year.
What strikes me initially is just how reinvigorated the Italians sound throughout, be it on up-tempo, hard-hitting energisers like 'Zombies' or down-tempo, lushly orchestrated numbers such as 'Cybersleep' (and Cristina Scabbia's vocal performance on the latter is one of sheer sublimity). They've become renowned for releasing material of consistent quality although songs on 'Broken Crown Halo' are laced with an extra avidity and emotional intensity. Their down-tuned groove-riffage backbone, goth rock elements, the contrasting duality Andrea Ferro and Cristina's vocal interplay and catchy hooks are still prominent features of their sonic arsenal, although the orchestrated components of their instrumentations have become noticeably more filmic. Apparently, according to Cristina, they've "always been fascinated by soundtracks and Italian horror movies”, and it seems such a fascination has reified within their soundscape throughout 'Broken Crown Halo'. Not in any drastically emphatic way but most certainly discernible in some songs. This largely stems from the band's love of Goblin's music from old Dario Argento films and, although they've not borrowed from the more progressive side of said band's dynamic, traces of Claudio Simonetti's compositional idioms can be detected here and there - I guess more in feeling and pastiche than direct mimicry, so the influence has materialised subtly and has been fused efficaciously within Lacuna Coil's established sound.
There are also a few sonic surprises scattered throughout the album such as the punk-edged vocals from Cristina towards the end of 'Victims'; a passage of arpeggio shred in 'Zombies'; and the orchestral grandeur of 'Cybersleep'. On the whole, though, 'Broken Crown Halo' is Lacuna Coil being Lacuna Coil - that is, generally what you'd expect within the context of their musical progression over the last few years, although with extra gusto. The album is, however, quite possibly Lacuna Coil's most accomplished work to date.
BROKEN CROWN HALO
Review by Mark Holmes
31st March 2014
1) Nothing Stands in Our Way
3) Hostage to the Light
5) Die and Rise
6) I Forgive (But I Won't Forget Your Name)
9) I Burn in You
10) In the End I Feel Alive
11) One Cold Day
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...quite possibly Lacuna Coil's most accomplished work to date."