Showing posts with label lacuna coil. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lacuna coil. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

video review: 'delirium' by lacuna coil

Man, this pissed me off so much. I was legitimately hoping for quality here... and it did not happen at all. Gah.

Next up, Billboard BREAKDOWN, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

album review: 'delirium' by lacuna coil

It hasn't been easy to be a fan of Lacuna Coil.

And the sad thing is that most of the fanbase seems to be in agreement that starting with Shallow Life the gothic metal band became a less-interesting shadow of what they were. I'll be honest and say that while I got into them when I was a teenager, I would never consider Lacuna Coil one of my favourite metal acts, but throughout the late 90s and most of the 2000s they were a solid group that had potent melodies and a cohesive sound. And even if their writing has always been a little spotty, there was a lot to like about those records... and then Don Gilmore showed up. With a more commercial-leaning mix, Shallow Life was a pivot towards the mainstream that was too little, too late, and only served to alienate a fair chunk of Lacuna Coil's fans. They made a modest return with Dark Adrenaline, but by the time they released Broken Crown Halo in 2014, having booted Gilmore for Jay Baumgardner, it became apparent that the problem wasn't so much the production but by-the-numbers composition and writing. And yes, that's even with the admission that 'Die & Rise' remains one of the best songs of 2014 for taking a unique point-of-view and twisting it into a kickass song.

So one could argue Lacuna Coil needed a dramatic shake-up - and from all accounts they got it. Both guitarists and the drummer retired from the band, which led their bassist Marco Coti Zelati picking up guitar work along with new arrival Diego Cavallotti, along with hiring drummer Ryan Folden. It rapidly became clear that Lacuna Coil was heading in a new direction, and with lead-off single 'The House Of Shame'... well, they certainly got there, with chugging, borderline metalcore riffs and a much heavier focus on the growled male vocals. And... look, I'm not a metalcore fan, but I was willing to give this a try, especially considering Zelati was handling all production work in-house. So did this work?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

video review: 'broken crown halo' by lacuna coil

God, this took too long to get out my system. Damn it, I wish this was better.

Okay, Cloud Nothings, then I've got a few more hard rock and metal albums coming up, so stay tuned!

album review: 'broken crown halo' by lacuna coil

I've mentioned in the past I have a complicated relationship with gothic music.

Because despite some of the things I've mentioned in the past, I do like a large chunk of it and a lot of the bands that pioneered the format remain favourites of mine to this day. And hell, even though I never had an angry white boy phase as a teenager, I won't deny that my unironic love for symphonic metal had more than a passing fondness for goth subculture. 

But maybe it's just greater exposure, but I only tend to tolerate gothic music of certain veins in small doses, and I liken it to that friend you idolize on some level for being a badass. Sure, he's cool and dark and edgy and can take you on a wild ride, but in the end that brand of darkness either becomes too depressing or too insufferable to tolerate. It's one of the primary character arcs in Edgar Wright's movie The World's End with Simon Pegg's character, and there are a lot of elements that ring true there. Plus, I'll restate what I normally say about nihilistic artwork: if you don't switch up the formula or innovate with it beyond standard goth cliches, it can get insufferable really fast.

The funny thing is that four albums into goth metal band Lacuna Coil's career and after the star-making double punch of Comalies and Karmacode, they seemed to have a similar revelation. For me growing up, Lacuna Coil was the good version of Evanescence and while they weren't really on the same playing field as Nightwish or Within Temptation, they still had a niche I appreciated. But after four albums of pretty damn solid gothic metal, they flipped the script somewhat with their 2009 album Shallow Life, an album that still had many goth cliches but a more mainstream-accessible focus. Unfortunately, they got this thanks to producer Don Gilmore, who is most famous for working with Linkin Park, Good Charlotte, and Hollywood Undead. And honestly, while I can't say Lacuna Coil delivered any of their best material on either Shallow Life or their 2012 album Dark Adrenaline, I blame Gilmore for why those albums are nowhere near as great as their predecessors, mostly thanks to placing the guitars on the surface in the mix and dampening the melody, and moving the vocal track closer to the front. And look, the lyrics have never been Lacuna Coil's strong point, and by lessening the focus on the melody, the songs got a lot more interchangeable and considerably weaker.

Thus, I was actually enthused when I saw they had ditched Gilmore as a producer for their newest album Broken Crown Halo. And while I wasn't expecting a return to the glory days, I did hope that the band would be able to recover some of their spark. Did they pull it off?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

album review: 'the theory of everything' by ayreon

It is one of the most ambitious and fascinating projects ever undertaken in metal - hell, some could make the argument that it's one of the biggest in music as a whole. The brainchild of a genius singer-songwriter multi-instrumentalist with a love of prog rock, psychedelia, and science fiction. A project that has spanned dozens of metal acts, big and small. For me, it has been the introduction point to so many bands to which I've consequently discovered and loved, and the fact that something coherent and engaging could have been made from it is mind-boggling.

Yes, folks, I'm talking about Ayreon, the multi-album megaproject masterminded by Arjen Lucassen. Started in 1995 with The Final Experiment, the Ayreon 'story' spanned seven albums, all of them which are good and a few are goddamn classics. In that respect, it's a little hard for me to be heavily critical of this project, partially because it played such a huge role in my discovery of progressive metal and partially because it's so goddamn great. I guess if I was going to try here, Arjen Lucassen's closest analogue in another field would be Kenneth Branagh, in that both men are fiendishly ambitious, produce highly cerebral material that can toe the line between epic and camp, and that they both have unbelievable clout in their ability to recruit players from all across their field. You want a short list of bands from where Lucassen has called up performers? How about After Forever, Blind Guardian, Dream Theater, Avantasia, Epica, Kamelot, Nightwish, Gotthard, Iron Maiden, Lacuna Coil, Rhapsody of Fire, Within Temptation, The Flower Kings, Yes, King Crimson, and even Genesis! And really, I left a whole slew of acts off the list - that's how much clout Lucassen has, and it's kind of incredible how he can call up so many different prog and metal performers to work with him time and time again.

But for those of you who don't know, the Ayreon project had its concluding element with 01011001 (the binary term for Y) in 2008, with Lucassen finally setting it aside to go onto other projects, like the follow-up Star One album and the fascinating experimentation of Guilt Machine. Yet, this year, he announced he was calling together a whole new crop of musicians to come work with him on an album titled The Theory of Everything. And as an Ayreon fan and a physics grad, I was more than intrigued by what Lucassen would be able to create from his insane vision and fetish for weird science. Joking aside, this has been my most highly anticipated album of the year thus far. So, did he pull off another classic?