without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Lacuna Coil are one of those bands that you either love or hate. They have never been very heavy, and their music is considerably radio-friendly, now more so than ever. They seemed to have attracted global popularity with their Karmacode album, and have continued to pursue a very light and catchy alternative rock direction since then. I've tried some of their later albums, and while I don't personally feel they're as abysmal as their ratings and reviews have made them out to be, I will admit they sound kind of stale and sterile in comparison to the band's first three releases. They lack the melancholic edge that made me enjoy the moody, goth-tinged sounds of In a Reverie, Unleashed Memories, and most specifically, Comalies. My reason for reviewing this album out of the three is because I feel it represents the band at their peak.
I'll admit that this was the first "metal" album I ever bought, at age 10 nonetheless, so perhaps nostalgia plays a big factor into why I enjoy it as much as I do. Nevertheless, even as my taste in music has grown heavier and darker since then, my appreciation for the album has stayed the same. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that the early works of LC were greatly influenced by other bands that I enjoy. Although few seem to pick up on it, I find it's undeniable that the mid-90's era of bands like Paradise Lost and The Gathering initially played a big part in inspiring the atmospheric and downbeat gothic metal that they once pursued. The latter seems to leave its mark the most on this album, as the strange and mysterious atmosphere of Mandylion looms among the gloomy chords and emotional vocals.
As you could imagine, the music is very melodic, inoffensive, and easy on the ears. Expect to hear mid-tempo tracks with simplistic song structure and a lot of verse-chorus-verse-chorus repetitions. The distorted guitars have a semi-aggressive kick and produce some very nice harmonies at times, but they mostly stick to providing a stable background for the keyboards, clean guitars, and of course, the vocals. The keyboards range from a faux-orchestra effect, to odd synth pads and choral sounding "ooh"s and "aah"s. They are used pretty liberally and create kind of an eerie, ghostly ambiance. Occasionally, some mild electronic sounds pop up in the mix (namely on fourth track 'Humane') and I feel the band could have done without these. Heavy use of clean and acoustic guitars is characteristic of LC's early works, and that aspect applies here. In this case, it seems the band has chosen to alternate between the two as opposed to playing both at once, which was common on In a Reverie and Unleashed Memories. There is a re-occurrence of clean guitars playing during verses, while the distorted guitars cut in during the chorus and interludes. Drums and bass were never the standout instruments for the band, as they have never been very technical or heavy. No blastbeats or earthshaking bass solos will be found here, though those characteristics typically aren't expected for an album like this.
Now, we come to the vocalists; Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro. They've never been my favorite vocalist duo in metal, but they aren't bad singers at all. Something that I find nice about them is that they aren't the typical 'beauty and the beast' combo of deep grunts and angelic soprano singing that has become so stereotypical over time. Both have strong and powerful voices, though I think I can speak for many when I say that I'm partial towards Cristina's singing. She has a very emotional mid-range tone that has a slight accent to it, and doesn't sound too much like any other vocalist. The closest comparison I could suggest would be a slightly deeper Anneke van Giersbergen, perhaps with a little bit less range. Andrea has that coarse yet melodic voice that seems to mimic the James Hetfield-style vocals that Paradise Lost took to on their Draconian Times album (which tracks 'Self Deception' and 'The Prophet Said' almost sound like they could be outtakes from, in spite of the female vocals). Occasionally, his gravelly singing is provoked to an anguished scream, and though this occurs rarely, it adds a nice slice of intensity from time to time. The two vocalists share the spotlight about 60/40, with Cristina taking a slight bit more of a lead position than Andrea. The thing about the vocal styles is that Cristina is typically seen as being the lead vocalist altogether, and while that isn't necessarily true, I think her voice makes a lot more of an impression on the listener than Andrea's does in the long run.
As a whole, half of the album consists of catchy and slightly rock-oriented upbeat tracks, which foreshadow the even more accessible and radio-friendly turn that the band would take on Karmacode. The other half, however, consists of sad and atmospheric lullabies that invoke the gloomy moods and slower tempos of mid-90's goth metal classics like Wildhoney, Irreligious or Aégis. On the latter end lies the closing title track, a stunning and soothing epilogue that eases off of the darker and angrier moods of the songs before it. I'm a sucker for a good final song, and the calm and Stoic mood of 'Comalies' is incredibly effective, sailing the album away as it quietly fades out to its end.
As a well-known "female-fronted" band that borders on mild metal and heavy rock, LC is typically compared to the popular likes of Evanescence and Within Temptation. Having listened to all three of these bands over the years, I don't believe those comparisons aren't relevant to this album. In terms of atmosphere and execution, I actually feel Comalies would be more suitable for fans of modern day Theatre of Tragedy. The style of the vocals, relaxed yet dreary mood, and warm aura all feel similar to those perpetuated on Storm and Forever is the World. Altogether, it's worth looking into for those who are trying to ease into heavy music and want to start with something light and inoffensive.
Standout tracks: 'Swamped', 'Self Deception', 'Tight Rope', 'Entwined', and 'Comalies'
I don't know about this album. It screams "major label debut" but Lacuna Coil have stuck with Century Media from their first album right up to their most recent. Just look at it: that generic cover, which has a sunflower on it (but - oh! - it's an eye as well); there are 13 songs, which is more than necessary; everything has a radio-friendly sheen and is produced with a mind to the singles market.
The production and the role of the instrumentalists goes hand in hand here. Lacuna Coil have never been a heavy band, but the first two albums had some time set aside for solos and melodic interludes, the bass played a key part, and the keyboards were there for support, not for sustenance. On 'Comalies', everything is set a little further back, with the keyboards and vocals pushed a little more, so that all the edges are removed. I would challenge anyone to hold on to any of the riffs on this album, I would challenge them to pick their favourite bass part or drum part. There are three pretty talented guys on here who are playing at half capacity the whole way through.
I'm not counting Marco Coti Zelati as a repressed instrumentalist because the keyboard he supplies, in addition to bass, is everywhere. They don't stop. I don't mind keyboards in metal or rock - they definitely have a place - but I do mind when the songs rely on keyboards for all of their hooks, their melodic movements, and their atmosphere. The electic guitar is a necessary component of a great metal album (and this is the case where exceptions like Om really do prove the rule) and I don't hear it doing anything interesting here. Tell me this isn't a pop record with metal musicians on it. Sure, it's gothic in places, but Evanescence's first album was gothic and at least had some crunchy guitars on it.
As such, the vocalists have to be absolutely impeccable. They have to provide vocals that give the songs emotion, weight, and hooks. To some extent, they do - they are both good singers and work well together - but for every chorus that seeps into the listener's head, there are two sections that are merely passable. It's a shame, because they don't have enough to work with: even a Britney Spears song has to have something going on musically to make it catchy or danceable or whatever.
The best songs are clustered together at the start of the album. The two big singles, 'Heaven's a Lie' and 'Swamped' are both decent, although the former is too obviously constructed for the radio, while the latter actually has a slightly creepy feel to the verses, which works without much heaviness. 'Daylight Dancer' builds some tension in the verses, as a result of a chugging guitar (nothing special, but duly noted) and Andrea Ferro's deep vocals, which also give 'The Prophet Said' a pleasing momentum. However, there isn't enough to keep the album interesting and it flounders in a sea of mediocrity.
On a side note, I have the double disc edition. It's not worth getting unless you're a completist or a big fan of acoustic versions, since none of the songs are changed dramatically and in my opinion, none are improved in their new versions.
The gothic act Lacuna Coil has been going down (or spiraling down, as their name suggests) for over a decade by now and, as I used to be one of their fans, I can't help wondering whether they will ever start writing real gothic metal again. Inspired by the genuine gothic spirit on albums such as In a Reverie and Unleashed Memories, they left us stunned by the intensity and the bittersweet atmosphere of their early music, even though their lack of experience could be felt instrumentally. On the other side, after 15 years from their first incarnation as Sleep of Right they have become experienced musicians but have lost their determination for writing good gothic metal songs. Consequently the shallow album which is even titled Shallow Life is nothing more than a mixture of alternative rock, pop rhythms and electronics and the following Dark Adrenaline and Broken Crown Halo releases are no better, either. Fortunately, the album Comalies seems to be right in the middle of these two ages, which allows it to benefit both of gothic spirit and experience.
The alternating male/female vocals respect the old technique that is known as the "beauty and the beast" aesthetics in the entire gothic metal scene, but do not seem to follow the typical rules. Ferro's vocals aren't harsh (like the ones from Within Temptation's album Enter) or death growls (like on Leaves' Eyes' Symphonies of the Night) and are not shrieks, either (as the ones done by Dani Filth); they are mostly clean and get close to being a bit harsh only on the song "Angel's Punishment". On the other hand, Scabbia does neither soprano vocals nor some sensitive touching singing (like Tarja-era Nightwish or Delain, respectively) but appeals to ethereal vocals, which can be considered innovative and relatively unique. Remarkable songs for this ethereal-type of singing include "Swamped", "Tight Rope" and "The Ghost Woman and the Hunter".
The instruments from this release still belong to the heavy Lacuna Coil era. The guitars mostly sound raw and aggressive (as on "Swamped"), creating a typical harsh atmosphere in which the "beauty" makes her appearance with her charming voice, but they also have moments when are soft and gentle (like on "The Ghost Woman and the Hunter"). The drums are loud and and the rhythm they follow is in a single word "simple", without being annoying or sounding lame. But after all, gothic metal bands are not really well-known for their complex drumming unless you speak of extreme metal-influenced bands such as Tristania. On the other hand, the bass is hardly noticeable and the keyboards and the few pop electronics that had to be here just to prevent the release from being a memorable work give it an artificial sound that made me, for a certain reason, think of the German darkwave band Lacrimosa.
The unquestionable gothic symbol that the flower on the cover is should be well imprinted on our memory because it will always remind us of the time when Lacuna Coil was still producing music that sounded natural. Despite of having tons of talent, the new music of theirs will always have to suffer due to their selling out to the mainstream genre. Luckily, their early releases will always be here to prove this band once had a soul and that they deserved the gothic label that they got before abandoning themselves to artificiality and the dark adrenaline that is known as fame.
Here is one of those situations where a relatively independent band I once dug eventually disappeared from my radar of interest, only to suddenly become enough of a mainstream success a few years later (2003 to be exact) to the point where some co-workers and a few friends of mine with little to no interest in metal asked if I’ve heard of this “new” band called Lacuna Coil. I remember replying to one guy that I thought In A Reverie was a cool album, in which he then looked at me as if I had just asked if he was up for a three-way with a panda. Unless I was flippin’ drunk, I never had much interest in converting people to my taste in music or whatnot, but it was strange to start hearing of this band again from various sources, as if validating my old tastes. Thus it was a surprised vindication I felt hearing accolades for a group I held respect for due the their debut album being a disc I spun on a regular rotation around the turn of the century. It seemed like a no brainer in that I felt compelled to hear what Lacuna Coil had been up to since then by checking out the oddly titled Comalies.
The burgeoning excitement I felt during the opening track was no mere joke. The guitars, bolstered by an added crunch, were pushed to the forefront of the mix, and the production quality was crystal clear but not sterile or "tinny" thanks to a good bottom end providing support. “Swamped” has a lumbering pace, but it’s heavy and the background synths add a deft gloomy touch without becoming a distraction. Cristina’s voice is heavenly here, and is soon joined by Andrea’s bare-chested histrionics, and yet in this case they compliment each other well. In fact, Andrea’s gradual improvements through the years really started to show here. He’ll never be mistaken for a high caliber singer, but he’s no longer this benign tumor hanging with the rest of the band. Unlike their early material, without him in the lineup Comalies would actually suffer due to lessened variety in a group already battling and often failing to excel past a rote sense of repetition in songcraft. “Swamped” had me believing this was going to be one hell of an album.
And yet the promising opening didn’t pan out to encompass the entire collection of songs. This is what I consider to be a front-loaded effort. The popular second track “Heaven’s A Lie” didn’t impress me as much as the opener, but I loved Cristina’s sultry lower-range delivery of the verses. “Daylight Dancer” speeds things up from a crawl to a mid-tempo rhythm with Andrea getting a fair share of the verses and Cristina belting like a spike-collared Natalie Merchant during the chorus. Alongside “Swamped”, easily my other favorite track off this effort is “Humane”, which boasts a powerhouse chorus that brings back the best aspects of Unleashed Memories while adding a bit more punch production-wise. “Aeon” is interesting in that its opening guitar twang had me visualizing Spaghetti Westerns before the atmospheric quiet goth chimes in and finishes the tune after a weird little industrial loop.
That brings up another point concerning Comalies. There’s a slew of industrial touches peppered throughout the disc, and in some instances they tend to sound intrusive rather than an added dimension. They actually feel tacked on during post-production, as if the producer was getting bored and weary listening to this entire recording and thought “We need to add a bunch of bleeps and bloops all over the place just to keep my ass awake.”
I wouldn’t blame him for thinking that either, since by the second half of this disc it settles into this shamelessly safe comfort zone wherein the band, with the exception of the goofy war diatribe "Angel's Punishment", rehashes the previous tracks over and over to fill up a disc, with “Heaven’s A Lie” and “Daylight Dancer” (I know, what a sissy song title) providing the slow and mid tempo blueprints for everything following the impressive fourth tune. Unleashed Memories is guilty of this questionable approach as well, but had more of a doom enhanced edge to it, whereas with Comalies a sizable portion of these songs gave the impression of stock tunes created for the Underworld franchise.
Like its predecessor, the album isn’t close to being a disaster musically and possesses a few of their finest tunes, but if they had kept up that slight sense of diversity displayed on their debut full length a few years ago, this could have been a monster. Technically, it did turn out to be a monster for Century Media, and I’ll give props to Lacuna Coil for earning their popularity through some tough years without drastic changes to their sound…at least up to this album.
Here's what you entered in the review body for copy and pasting purposes:
I picked up this album and found a lot to enjoy about it -- it had quite a bit of power, intensity and emotion all balanced into one. Many people say this was the album that caused Coil to sell out, I'd argue that was only because they finally sold a decent number of albums. Comalies is really an underrated album, and anyone who says that they sold out missed out on how good it was. Listen to this album independent of the others, you'll find it to stand out well on it's own.
The CD opens up with two killer hard tracks, then goes into "Daylight Dancer" and changes it's emotion entirely, from hard and edgy to melodic and haunting, this transition is done quickly and Daylight Dancer may be the best song on the album because of it. The band chose to continue this trend through the middle of the album, then they go right back into fist-pumping mode with the song "Tight Rope".. Most of the latter songs have the band putting you in a fantasy world and at the end, you find out you do not want to leave, all the way through to the final title track, which sounds very somber, almost like they're saying "This is the end. We're sorry to see it go".
The singing and instruments go together rather well -- Cristina and Andrea trade off singing for the most part, but neither one of them tries to steal the show -- Cristina is the enigmatic beauty while Andrea is the guy trying to understand it all, while all the instruments support this throughout the album. This is clearly NOT a "Beauty and the Beast" album like something from Sirenia, Theatre of Tragedy or Distorted -- Lacuna Coil veered away from it for the most part in favor of a trade-off between the two singers.
When the duets ARE picked, they are done for a very specific reason. Some of the songs only feature Cristina, but there is no need for anyone else on them. For example, in the song "Unspoken", Cristina displays the emotion of the girl suffering from domestic abuse and how seriously she wants to get away from her tormentor. In this song, the perspective of the second person is not only unnecessary, it would detract from the song itself.
Is this album perfect? Not at all. There are songs on here that make no sense to anyone that is not Coil. A little bit of incongruence late in the CD kept me from giving it a perfect rating. But overall, this album is worth a listen because there is something for everyone, from the veteran rocker to a new fan in waiting. Most of the songs that are on this album are hard-hitting and yet melodic, but for several different reasons. It's almost like having 13 people in a room from different walks of life and they start out so much different, but as time passes, they find out that in spite of their differences, they all have more in common with each other than they thought and leave as friends understanding one another.
Solid album and a timeless beauty. Comalies does not disappoint.
The "break through album" is something that ALL bands pray to have although most never do. Its a rare thing in music in general let alone Heavy Metal, but this Italian powerhouse achieved it with their third album. This album took the bands already unique style and energized it giving it a few updates and arguably reinventing it. This is easily the bands last European sounding album.
The production is excellent and everything sounds great. The guitars are the heaviest they'd been up to this point. There are plentiful leads and even a solo thrown in. The bands signature chord progressions and melancholy are well intact throughout the album. The guitars are bit crunchier on here as well.
The bass does an excellent job of tying the drums and guitars together. He does his own thing for much of the release. The drums are also very well done utilizing a variety of interesting patterns and speeds. There are also some keyboards/samples thrown in. These help to accentuate some of the more dramatic parts of the songs as a whole.
The vocals are without a doubt one of the better things about this album/band. Christina once again outshines the boys with her powerfully seductive voice. She exercises her range on this a bit more than on their previous efforts. Andre once again has a continually shrinking roll in the band; but his presence is good when used.
The lyrical themes are what we've come to expect from the Lacuna's; there is also a song in Italian. There is a renewed sense of purpose on this album. There is an underlining urgency to this album that is a mix of sorrow and fun making it more than apparent that they are very comfortable in their skin.
The few problems with this are Andre's ever growing pointlessness. He's a good singer and should be used more often. Some of the songs get boring as well, but over all there are some very good ideas on display. One could point out that the bands "happier" vibe is something of a downer to those restless souls that long for more damning wears.
This is a good album and worth owning. Don't listen to those who would put it down as the music is really good. Its follow up is questionable at best but this is still highly original and very Lacuna Coil; and like it or not, you cannot deny that their journey from an underground Gothic/Doom Metal band from Italy to mainstream Rock stars in the states is an accomplishment worthy of mention.
What can be said about this album, besides the words, “epic” or the overused “masterpiece.” This album launched Milan, Italy's Lacuna Coil into the mainstream, certifying them gold by the RIAA in the U.S. alone. While the band had a large following before the album, with two prior EP and full length releases, this album would land Lacuna Coil spots in such festivals as Ozzfest, Wacken and several other notable tours. Aside from the bias of this album being one of my top ten of all-time, and the band as a whole being probably my favorite, I will try and go into this with a neutral approach.
The opening song, “Swamped” starts off with Italian instruments then quickly the crunching guitars start over harmonious vocals. Alongside Cristina Scabbia, Andrea Ferro belts out his side of the vocals and it just takes you on an adventure. Once it ends, the mainstream hit, “Heaven's A Lie” begins. Taking you on a ride through a relationship of wanting to be free and that the vision of the lover (the heaven part) is just a lie. (I had to explain, cause some people might think the song is anti-religious or something.) The album continues on at a chugging pace of vocal harmony, aesthetics, Gothic themes, Italian instruments, keyboards and just creates an overall atmosphere (which is hard to find in albums anymore.) Giving the listener a break with the instrumental, "Aeon" it quickly picks back up with the heavy "Tight Rope." (Which in my opinion is probably the standout track on the record.) This album, while it may have come from unknowns to atleast most of North America, it definitely made them known worldwide. I can't sum this album up, because it just wouldn't do it justice. It's sheer atmosphere, vocals, and feel can really hook a listener in, and while it's not chocked full of “catchy hooks” or being one of your average “cookie cutter” Female fronted rock bands, this one has depth. Taking from their Italian heritage, they even sing all in Latin (which has become a staple for the band, singing in Latin for a song on each record) for the song “Comalies.” Even if you can't understand what they're even singing in the song, you can still feel the words and that's all that is needed to make this album one of my top 10 of all time. If you get a chance to get this album, I highly suggest the double disc outing with the acoustic versions of prior songs and other goodies, as it just makes it that much more.
Lacuna Coil or simply translates as empty spiral, are not empty at all. Although I’m not a serious fan of gothic music but these melancholic equations from Milan prove me otherwise.
Okay. I seen most of the ratings are low but I have my reasons to give this album a 90%. I’ve been listening to many kind of music and that probably gives me the impression to be more liberal and eclectic (I’m not calling myself as totally a mainstream crud). I never knew about this band until I came across their promo single; “Shallow End” in Darkness We Feel cassette compilation released by Century Media back in 1998. I felt like to listen to Lacuna Coil over and over again and from then on I’m started looking for these Italian musicians in my local store, but to no avail. Since metal records were forbidden to be sold openly in my country. I tell you honestly, it sucks! And I feel so bored and restricted.
Comalies combines the aesthetic of natured gothic passage of The Gathering with lush of early Paradise Lost heaviness. The single “Swamped” which is also included in the soundtrack album for Resident Evil: Apocalypse has caught me onto the hooks of these Italian pioneers. Their music is simple, catchy and finely produced. With the help of clear and vibrant production Comalies actually blasting off the mainstream challenge with high fidelity. Christina’s timid vocals are very easy to listen to and I found it to be so enjoyable although her voice is unmatched as compared to Amy Lee. I’m talking about metal here so please don’t get me wrong just because I mentioned a name that has nothing to do with the metal scene at all. Yet, Christina performance is great in this album and to me it really brings out the best talents in her. Especially in the second single “Heaven’s a Lie” with respect of the chorus: “Set me free. Your heaven’s a lie” The verses may sound a little bit monotonous but as it approaches the chorus, the synthesizer comes in handy and helps to reinforce the song delicate structures.
While the male vocalist (I forgot his name) who looks likes one of the characters in Adam’s Family never sounded really off the wall. At some occasion, his vocals are harsher while retaining the pace of flowing melody that comes after one another. Frankly speaking, his vocals aren’t so great and anyone who listens to this album can perform much better than him. Drums are the most important part in metal music and therefore if it doesn’t sound so good, it could contribute to the whole inefficiency in a particular band. In this album, the drumming is considerably nice and quite prominent. The occasional double bass strokes followed by projected cymbals variation help to solidify the soft music that is less aggressive and not brutal at all, which is the good thing about this album. Bass and rhythm are doing their utmost performance since the bass guitar simply backs up the riffs that alternately emerge from within the thick and solid bass drums.
Perhaps lacking of aggressiveness has pulled this album away from most true metal listeners, and I strongly believe that many condemns Lacuna’s radio friendly loom. Well, not to mention Christina’s erotic poses which grace a few covers of magazine. However that is their inclination and their own way of wanting the fans to feel their presence in the scene. I shall never judge them unscrupulously because every band that embraces metal with fusion of progressive elements such as Lacuna Coil shouldn’t be underestimated just because they are radio friendly whatsoever. So to all metal newbie who want to listen to something easy, this album is good for you to begin with.
Call it Gothic, call it Powerpop, call it whatever you like but that wont change the fact that this album is the ultimate masterpiece of Lacuna Coil (the one and only album by the band who deserves to be owned). Despite being away from metal in general, songs like "Swamped" and "Heaven's a Lie" are indeed metal classified, Doomy Gothic Metal is the appropriate genre for both songs.
Such bands are normally judged based on their vocals style and music composing since their majority of songs are too weak lyrically and don't add any extra impressions, not to mention that the music barely creates any atmosphere. In addition listeners are always focused on the sound (mainly vocals then the music). That will lead to a more objective way in judging the band. Moreover it will be harder to be impressed by the band's work.
Lacuna Coil's "Comalies" album is monotonous (excluding first two songs "Swamped" and "Heaven's a Lie", last song "Comalies"). Playing the same riffs over and over, like each new song is the follow up of the preceding one. Same mix of clean vocals between Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro, nothing really new: "typical Lacuna Coil", changing singing roles like a kind of conflict between the two singers, always won by Cristina. Some loud drums here and there specially in the first two songs. Not much effects added by keyboards supposed to play an important role in such music genre. Bass is the most overrated instrument, hardly heard in some songs. Reaching the song titled "Comalies", overruled by the unique performance of Cristina Scabbia, music is slow, deep and enthralling, a catchy song, deserves much attention.
Overall, the album is fine, definitely a must to try and to get (if you like it), deserves a 7/10 (the highly rated Gothic album i may review). Not much credits are given to the album cover and songs titles.
Highlights: Swamped, Heaven's a Lie, Comalies.
Lacuna Coil's ideas are fading. Definitely. I can't understand why the band who produced "In a Reverie" is now becoming so... I can't find the words to describe today's Lacuna Coil (catchy?), but Cristina Scabbia doesn't seem to be the only reason why they have come to this. Soft guitarwork, slow drums, no bass at all, histerical vocals, the piano work is almost a disaster... The album sounds boring, even if there are some good hits (the single "Heaven's A Lie" is not bad at all), and the band doesn't seem to be that amazing thing they were supposed to be. The sound of the album arrives annoying to the listeners' ears and have the same effect of a sleeping pill. More annoying than the instruments are the two singers' voices: Cristina and Andrea have very little extention and don't even have a powerful voice. Very poor the ideas, very distant from the gothic masterpieces, very close to a not very well done pop-metal; the album tries to swim in a sea of mediocrity and the execution of a band with no idea about how a gothic metal album should sound like doesn't make things better. Maybe they have been too much influenced by the media, and they could be much better if they had chosen Tristania's way instead of the way this cheesy, soft, boring, childish metal played without music knowledge at all and without interest and passion. They are only playing on Cristina Scabbia's image.
From the first listen to Comalies, boredom sets in like a ton of bricks, especially because everything other than the first 3 tracks sounds exactly like every other song before it. Indeed, there is a new Lacuna Coil on this release, and very apparent in their new formula which they seemed to have borrowed from N'Sync.
The music is methodical in that everything is so monotonous from the start that even first time listeners can predict the rest of the album without the gift of foresight. The drummer basically plays simplistic beats which, once heard in the first few seconds of a song (as you might have guessed) will be repeatedly played the entire song with no fills, tempo changes, or basically anything special other than the fact that his drumkit sounds particularly good, even without a polished drummer on the throne.
Guitarwork is very lousy and completely unispiring, basically comprised of rather slowly-played power chords on distortion. Often when the two guitarists are not playing the typical power chords they do every song, they are playing some meaningless one-stringed riff with effects like reverb and delay to back them up. No doubt, they must have gotten their inspiration from the guitarist of Linkin Park (even then, at least the sole guitarist from LP can face-off against the two from LC).
The keyboards are catchy, yet nothing special as they are just fillers for the empty sound the guitars produce (or don't produce).
Cristina's vocals are decent, yet they lack so much substance and pitch that she falls short of helping the music sound any good. Still, she is the only one worthy of being in this franchise band, as she really is the only one with talent. Comalies proves this point even though she could have done something more.
Unfortunately, she doesn't sing enough. Her pleasant vocals are often subdued by a horrible-sounding male vocalist who must have gotten lessons from some cheesy nu-metal band. What makes matters worse is that his vocals are so loud and obnoxious, and there is no letting up.
How this album ever took off is a miracle by the advertisers responsible from Century Media. Or was it, perhaps, that Cristina is posing in some erotic fashion in every picture available that this album sold as many as it did? Certainly, it could not have been the terrible make-up and "80's wave" hairstyles of the male bandmembers themselves.
Truly, this album is a joke in the face of metal and could have easily been produced and distributed by any American pop label.
For all their annoying mainstream exposure of late, Lacuna Coil has got a more than decent effort here. I remember reading a review of this at the time saying something along the lines of it being an album that doesn’t add much new, though will please those who are already fans but won’t really make them any new ones. How wrong they were!
In a nutshell, it is basically the same old Lacuna Coil, though their sound here is a little pared down and it can appear bland and undetermined at first. The reason for this is that “Comalies” is the most carefully varnished and accessible release that we’ve seen from them to date. Although “Nu” isn’t a word I’d care to use in describing the general sound.
It’s a bit deeper than it looks at first from the outward all-purpose structures. The songs bloom under the surface with an encompassing richness, the epicentre of which is again the splendid dual vocals of Christina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro. Andrea displays a newfound control of his contrasting raucous, gravely voice which finally eliminates the claim to him being the band's weakest link. Christina returns with the usual shy but diligent performance, wrapping an extra layer of harmonious tranquillity around Andrea and the rest of the band.
It goes again inwardly diving and sifting through Lacuna’s fascination of human emotional states in the usual thoughtful lyrical content. All the while freshly monstrous hooks are flowing out of the speakers ready to sweep you away with the emotional tide the music creates. The polished stronghold of guitars along with the pounding resonance of the drums, backed up by Andrea help to bring in a sense of harsh reality. It may sound grandiose, romantic and outwardly reaching, but really is still timid and feeling isolated in its world. Still our old Lacuna Coil, through and through…
It’s still not the best album of this style, but stands well in Lacuna’s catalogue and should please long term fans. The songs do sometimes feel underdone with the arrangements needing a little more fixing up. “Self Deception“ seems to set its sights higher and wants to build up to something in the middle but it tails off back into the chorus. “The Ghost Woman and the Hunter” and “Entwined” also sticks out in this respect. However, the first two tracks, “Swamped” and “Heaven’s a Lie” have their catchy fervour to let them off the hook (hah, puns ahoy!) and are difficult not to feel the power surging out of from the start. But I’ve always been most partial to the ending title track, which encapsulates most of the strongest aspects of the album in one space. Strong and broad use of keyboards and comes the closest to the older sound.
Though it’s not hard to see they now tread a fine line between the Euro gothic metal scene that nurtured them and a potentially much wider audience. They might be able to survive okay there without too much trouble, or may shun the advances of the dollar sign, if we’re lucky. I’m still thinking that it would be nice to find them closer to home which would certainly make for an improvement on this unsurprisingly well done chapter but one that comes up a little short. Those who want something to really get their teeth into should go for “In a Reverie” first.
I didn’t know anything ‘bout Lacuna Coil, until I bought and listened to Comalies. And wow! It has some amazing qualities. I actually listened to it almost every night for a couple weeks as I had sleeping problems. And it proved efficient every time. Ladies and gentlemen, Comalies is a sleeping pill. I won’t guarantee that it’s free from side effects though. Alas, I have never been so indifferent to an album before. Right, catchy choruses, just chords, no riffs, no blast-beats, curtains of synthesizer effects. Does it sound metal? No, it doesn’t. Does it sound good? Well, that one is harder to answer as the disc doesn’t really hit me in the face exclaiming its superiority, nor do I feel physically ill while listening to it.
The problem is that this pop song structure together with a synth rock sound and shitty vocals pass me by, merely noticed. The two best (and heaviest) songs are placed in the beginning of the record, forcing the listener to travel the slope of quality – downhill. And even so they weren’t more than average songs anyway. Lacuna Coil mixes female and male vocals – without succeeding. The female vocalist (Cristina Scabbia) has more use on a magazine cover than as a singer. Range? No. Technicality? No. Any special thing about the voice that make it more enjoyable? Definitely not. It’s just a whiney, shrieky voice that fails both in singing and conveying emotions. The other vocalist is at least more emotive, but alas, besides his incredibly ugly looks he’s a lousy singer. As I was dissing Cristina’s singing, it’s hard to find words to describe Mr. Ferro.
And all over the compositions, there’s this wrapping of synth effects. It’s hard to tell whether it’s there to hide the other band members’ shortcomings or not. I do however suspect so is the case. Lacuna Coil has two guitarists – but where are they? Any averagely skilled musician should be able to do these parts at his own. One wouldn’t think that there was more than one of them unless one knew. And even so, one wouldn’t find this guitarist any special. Usually a band using these amounts of keyboards do it in order to create atmospheres or replacing another instrument. Well, I can’t find much of atmospheres here… There’s literally no need to buy this album since it’s nowhere as good as their former albums. And even then I didn’t enjoy them that much. Unless you need the perfect sleeping pill, stay away. It’s not bad, not good, not average either… Just mainstream indifference.
Never before has a band well knowingly released an album that sounded as if they were in a coma. What I mean is, they are lying to themselves and their fans. Earlier releases exhibted more variation and higher musicianship. Here, they just fiddle around with the same binary structure for 13 tracks.
The opening track really sets the tone for this basic binary form. Sure the song is catchy and has a little crunch, but when you find out that 12 other songs resemble it, you sort of wonder what got you into this? Was it the female vocalists constantly prancing around? The funniest thing happened, I thought this was a 6-piece, not an one-woman band. Guess images deceive.
So back to the first track "Swamp". It has some nice guitar work and some alright vocals. Overall, it is an average track. However, the thing that bothers me is the mic volume for Cristina's voice. I have always been a critic of her voicing saying it has no power or identity. Well, this all but justfies it. This is my main problem with the band. When you are going for this clean vocal female thing I really expect a Soprano or Alto voice. Well, I got neither. Instead we have this chick pushing, breathing, and even moaning out the lyrics. Sorry, but if you need to force yourself to sound good, you really do not sound good. I said the same in my In Flames review for Reroute to Remain, if you need to force yourself to play jazz, then you cannot play jazz. Well Cristina is doing just that. Forcing herself to sound good, when in reality, she does not. You got away with it for 2 full-length albums, the gig is up! Practice, get some talent, or get out!
Of course the voice is not the only problem, it is the strong structure. Female opening-male verse-female chrous and repeat all. Not very fun. It is rather predictable. Yes Lacuna Coil wants to avoid the whole Beauty and the Beast vocal scheme of other bands, but when you look at it, that Beauty and the Beast theme works quite well. Why? You got a Soprano voice dueling with death growls. Here you just got a Metallica-whine with a female-moan. Yes I am on the voice again, but this has a lot to do with the structure as well. Everything sounds alike. No change of pace, no vocal variation. Just a flatline of melodic tunes.
The drumming and guitar playing make me wonder if this is the same band that released In a Reveire. It is. This is the band lying to themselves. You have the musicianship, use it!!! Instead we have basic highschool playing. Cmon guys, you are signed on a label, selling albums around the world, at least show some artistic creditbility. On top of that, the bass sounds nonexistant. Actually sounds like the bass is being done through guitars playing from a bass amp.
The only thing that comes out strong is the keyboards which ironically goes unstated in the linear votes. Just cut the bassist and make him a full time keyboardist.
The last thing that bothers me is how this is classified as Goth Metal. That is a great big communist lie! Just because you have a female vocalists does not make you goth! So stop calling them that. They were maybe 5-6 years ago, not any longer. To me this is modern hard rock with a dark edge, but hardly gothic. Calling this album gothic is like calling NIN industrial, you only kill the genre by telling the masses it is something that it is really not.
Funny how the album has the word "lies" in it, cause that is all this band is selling!
Lacuna Coil’s Comalies a perfect example of women taking place in metal. Cristina Scabbia is one of metal’s female icons, with her incredibly high range voice; she definitely is a metal goddess. Lacuna Coil was the first band, that had a female as vocalist, that I ever listened too. And I was not disappointed at all when I first heard this album. The moment the first song begins, I was blown away by Cristina’s capability of reaching those high notes. Not only did Cristina have nice vocals on Swamped, I enjoyed the Andrea’s vocals too. A bit more growls would have been appreciated, but the song was well executed.
There is the eternal debate (as for many bands) about classifying this band. It is agreed that it is gothic metal, however, as seen on Comalies, Lacuna Coil’s sound sounds a little popish. Some compare this band to Evanescence, I would not go as far as saying that they play the same genre of music, but I agree that they do have a little of pop influences. Nonetheless, Lacuna Coil is an awesome band and Comalies is a solid album. The heavy guitar riffs mixed with Cristina’s clear vocals renders the songs amazing. There is also a nice and slow song on the album: Aeon. It starts off with a nice acoustic riff on the guitar and there is a clean electric guitar riff that comes in not long after, which is great. Then there is something weird, the song jumps, the song was recorded as if the CD was jumping in the CD player. I don’t know what that was about, but anyhow the song is still great.
There are a few tracks that really stand-out from others, such as: Swamped, Daylight Dancer and The Ghost Woman And The Hunter. Overall the album is great, there is not really a bad track, but the songs can get repetitive. Well I enjoyed it the first time I heard it and still enjoy it each time it plays. I give it 90/100, there are not many metal bands that have a female singer, but Lacuna Coil’s Cristina Scabbia does an excellent job.
Now THIS is how gothic metal should be done. Lacuna Coil start this album off just right by displaying Cristina's flexibility with her vocals. She has a gorgeous voice, and she puts a ton of emotion into it without it sounding cheesy. Not to mention she's great to look at. The male vocals are just as great. They appear less, but when they do they're goddamn powerful and they dominate that particular part of the song. I also enjoyed all the small symphonic touches, such as violins, they really add to that beautiful/mysterious feeling in the songs. The guitars are quite impressive considering this is gothic metal. The riffs are always hard and crunchy and they add a bit of an edge. The bass sound is nice and thick, though the actual bass parts aren't all that extravagant. The drumming on this album is pretty cool, nothing overly complex, but there are quite a few neat drum parts that I enjoyed thuroughly.
Best Tracks: Heaven's A Lie, Angel's Punishment, Swamped, and The Ghost Woman And The Hunter.
Lacuna Coil captivated me from the first album. Unleashed Memories astonished me, but this album has knocked me out. It's just fantastic.
Swamped, opens the album. A great theme where Cristina's voice bewitches the listener, efectivly enhanced by the voice of Andrea Ferro, who leaves aside the growls to show us a nice and melodic, dark voice. Bass line throughout the song is superb, playing around with chords and some very short but great solo parts. Sharp, attacking guitars follwed by the keyboards give the surroundings.
Heaven's a lie, follows. Opened with a nice keyboard part, the guitar backgrounding is great. Then explodes into a sad, tortured Cristina Scabbia releasing her lyrics. Here guitars are a little less sharp but more weighty. Andrea comes forward in the chorus to give the male counterpoint. Keyboards also do a great backgrounding work. Cristina manages to get even to a point innocent at times.
Daylight Dancer, the third track has at a start some electronic element, with Andrea again at his clear voice, demonstrating he is a great singer indeed. Cristina comes in not long after showing a nearly angelic voice, even etheral up to a point. Drumming is superb in this track, and bass guitar pounds away with great rythym.
Humane, fires off with keyboards, giving a sort of "outerspace" atmosphere so that Cristina Scabbia can enter with some very well controlled and nearly imposible to keep in tune, wailing. Ferro comes into introduce the song, and Cristina follows with some very melodic tunes. Some of the best I've heard in this style. Again nice sharp guitars and fantstic keyboard composition work. To my point of view one of the best songs of the album.
Self deception is triggerd with a very frail guitar and the drums, for Cristina to enter with some background chants. Ferro again shows us that he's a great singer, very melodic but poweful at the same time, very disciplined and elaborated work. Catchy chorus sung by Cristina, who shows herself angelical in this theme.
Aeon. Instrumental begining. Astonishing elapsed ending of the instrumental introduction which breaks one up when Crsitina starts singing. Short but just the right time not to be boring.
Tight Rope. Great sound effects to start with the bass pounding, great drumming at start to. Keyboards give a great winding sensation. Cristina's singing is some kind of tortuous but beautiful. Outstandig drumming and offbeat percussion.
The Ghost Woman and the Hunter. A great ballad. Melancholic guitars, slow drumming, no male vocals on this one. Bass guitar is superb, adding a dark but sensual point to the music. very envolving and bewildering song. Special attention to the choirs performed by Cristina on her own vocals. Incredible.
Unspoken. Nice powerful song, bass line is perfect. Nice "horse ride" guitars, and plenty of cymbal sounds. Vocals are very beautiful, much innocence and even a counterpoint of sensuality put in them. Andrea's voice in this track is limited to the choirs in the chorus, but are well combined together.
Entwined. For me, the best song of the album. Great guitar riffs, fantastic keyboard orchestration. Cristina's vocal melodies are just charming. Andrea Ferro's choirs are outstanding. A song that really touches deeply.
The Prophet Said. The best of this song is the drumming, sort of offbeat at times. Also to mention the changes the song suffers as it goes on. Hard parts, vocal solos with keyboards, slow, fast, very impressive. Again Cristina does some great work on choirs.
Angel's Punishent. Strange song, with some sort of church like choirs. Cristina speeches over these, and then suddenly Ferro stars his growls, and very sharp distorted guitars. Straight after that, Cristina starts speeching again. These spoken parts are full of pain and despair. Very good indeed, strange and different, but fantastic.
Comalies is the track that give title to the album. A great song which blends italian lyrics sung by Cristina, and english lyrics sung by Ferro. A great combination which gives the song some kind of exotism. She alo sings part of the lyrics in English, and these parts are so melodic and shining that makes you want to hear the song over and over again. They have created a fabulous manner of blending different rythyms in one sole song. On of the best tracks if the album.
In short, an album that everyone should have, and listen, and listen . . .
Personally I'm addicted to it.
Oh my god. Lacuna Coil had and still have a lot of good reviews in Italy since the very first eponymous EP, who was top album on Metal Hammer. I must admit that the first stuff was ok, I mean... sure nothing to do with Theatre of Tragedy or The Gathering or Tristania masterpieces, but ok. But since the second album they started to play a fucking annoying powerpop in the style of Evanescence (ok, they are later, but the style is very similar). And I have to say Evanescence are way better than this crap. I'm not an Mtv-addicted, I'm a metalhead, and if I should listen to a band for the beauty of the singer I better listen to Christina Aguilera. These songs are cheesy and catchy as a hit single from Gigi D'Agostino could be. The male singer is a ridicolous fucking tortured cat. Cristina Scabbia has in no way personality in singing, with a very little extension. The rest of the band is technically very bad, without balls, playing everything soft and simple. I don't understand why Italy should be famous for this commercial crap instead for bands like Necrodeath, Cadaveria, Spite Extreme Wing, Novembre or old Opera IX. As it's written somewhere in that page, watch a porno instead. And stop being mocked by labels.
After they had blown the world away with their totally super album "In a Reviere" they just had an EP released before doing it again with their other masterpiece "Unleached Memories". Before this new album "Comalies" they had many hits like "My Wings" and "When A Dead Man Walks". But this time they have made it - The ultimate album. All thirteen songs on the album could be taken for hits. Songs like "Heaven's A Lie" and "Angel's Punishment" proves this.
Comalies carries you through hell and up to heaven and back again. It holds songs for all moods. Cristina Scabbia's voice is really great on this album. The band has deceided to lift her forward in their music and cut down on male vocals, which is both good and bad. In fact, that is the only reason why this album doesn't reach full pot. I for one misses Andrea Ferro's voice that used to scream both here and there. The few parts on this CD where he acctually sing is with clean voice, which is okey, even though I rather listen to his grunts.
An all over great album.
-The Pharao 21/20 -02