Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Is Lacuna Coil Poised to Break Out or Break Up With "Broken Crown Halo?"

Avid fans of Italian metal band Lacuna Coil had to wait over two years for a new album from the band.  And, in that period, the long-time lineup proved to be a bit fragile.

Just six weeks before the April 1 release of Broken Crown Halo, guitarist Cristiano Migliore and drummer Cristiano Mozzati - both members since 1998 - left the band.  Any time a band loses veterans, there's the risk that the band will fall apart.  Perhaps the one thing that can help a band overcome such adversity is releasing a strong album that keeps the band afloat and, in some cases, helps the band break out more than ever.

So, the question is:  Is Broken Crown Halo strong enough to propel Lacuna Coil through this transition period and beyond?

Well, the first tune, "Nothing Stands In Our Way," offers a little bit of hope.  Though not a great song, it's definitely a good song with its heavy riff, solid groove, and sweet vocal melody courtesy of the female vocalist of the band, Cristina Scabbia (they also have a male vocalist, Andrea Ferro).

Sadly, it's mostly downhill from there.

Until the chorus of Track 6, "I Forgive (But I Won't Forget You)," it's too easy to drift off into a daydream.  Despite the fact that Lacuna Coil provides variety in the vocal tag-teaming of Scabbia and Ferro, the painfully similar tempos of the other songs and their lack of hooks makes it a rather boring listen.  Few things seize the listener's attention.

After "I Forgive's" brief and pleasant reprieve, the album continues its descent into oblivion with more seemingly uninspired tuneage.  Scabbia's vocals seem a bit too "pristine-y" to compete in a female-fronted metal world dominated by the more screamy styles of In This Moment's Maria Brink and the Butcher Babies' Carla Harvey-Coates and Heidi Shepherd.  And Ferro's vocals seem a bit too "English-as-a-second-language-y" to coexist in a world already overpopulated by singers who really have nailed the style of Korn's Jonathan Davis that Ferro seems to be shooting for.

While strong albums like 5150 and Use Your Illusion catapulted Van Halen and Guns-N-Roses  through lineup changes, we're not so sure that Broken Crown Halo is enough to keep Lacuna Coil from coming unglued.  Sometimes, like in the case of The Clash, the loss of a core member can accelerate the demise of a band.  Though we are disappointed in this album, we do support this talented band, so we hope that they can put the pieces together for a better follow up and once again compete for the gothic metal throne.