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I was ready to go against the grain. I hadn’t listened to this album in years, casually heard Lacuna Coil’s version of “Enjoy The Silence” within a shuffle, and decided that I just heard some pretty cool shit and it was time to repay this album a visit. I was already working out synonyms for ‘underrated’ in my head before I even started listening to it. Even the album cover took on a new relevance. “It’s mummy wrappings inside a man instead of the other way around! The meaning of this must be so deep and esoteric that I’m not even going to try to figure it out” I told myself while downing a few pints. So I took the plunge. Finally, after I finished hearing the album again for the first time in ages, all I could think of was “Oh yeah…that’s why I never play this thing.”
In the past, Lacuna Coil wasn’t particularly averse to down-tuning their instruments to D on occasion, but with Karmacode they drop to C level and apparently revel in their new tone since the first three songs in a row feel comfortably rooted there. In fact, an overwhelming chunk of material here basically repeats the first song’s aspects with only minute variations in structure. Unlike their previous releases, the bass is right up front in the mix and distorted like an unusually fat ass. Other than that, the production as a whole is not unlike their last outing in that it does a monumental job in capturing a reasonably heavy yet accessible sound, which in essence doesn’t mean much since I find much of this album a difficult listen simply due to the songwriting itself. Along with the loopy little industrial flourishes introduced during Comalies, there’s now some Middle Eastern vibes scattered throughout the disc, with Cristina warbling away like a pissed-off belly dancer. If there was still any speculation as to where the band wished to trudge for this outing, the groovin’ drums are the dead giveaway in that they came to a conclusion that the nu-metal genre was not only still kickin', but a thriving and resilient higher plane of financial benefits and perks (they basically saw Evanescence and wanted in). Toss in some goth trappings and a couple of atmospheric ballads to appease the chicks with purple lipstick, and that’s essentially Karmacode in a nutshell.
On an album this poorly conceived, it's easy to pick out the highlights since there aren't a hell of a lot. "Within Me" is one, not just because it doesn't remotely sound like anything else on the album, but that its waltz-like rhythm and borderline folk-ish lilt contains an appealing vocal melody in the chorus that owes more to Renaissance Faire trollops than 'flygirl' posturing. It's not a great track, but on this album it comes across like an innovative revelation. "You Create" is a mellow, Eastern inflected piece that actually captures a bit of pseudo-Gothic atmosphere, although it is in fact just a short interlude and gets hijacked near the end by a Darth Vader impersonator. You know that treading through an album's musical journey is rough going when one of the best tracks is a fucking intro. This dittie unfortunately segues into the chugging slab of rubbish called "What I See", in which the Disturbed worship is so apparent that I was practically expecting David Draiman to chime in with some of his signature 'choking on a chicken bone' dog barks. Truth be told, between this pandering dreck and the last track there is really nothing much of merit. I knew the final song was quality, and it was not just a chore, but bloody torture getting to "Enjoy The Silence" that I felt like I deserved a Purple Heart by the time that familiar Depeche Mode melody soothed my ears. I'm almost surprised the cover turned out as well as it did, considering the Korn-aping mentality of the band at this point. Seriously, most of the vocals smeared on the rest of these tracks had to have been inspired by that Korn singer's note patterns, which in turn undermined the talents of both of Lacuna Coil's vocalists. Such a waste.
I do have some ideas as to why the band went this route. During their early days they opened shows for the likes of Opeth and other unarguably metal acts. After the gradual success of their Comalies disc, the band found themselves touring with bigger names that catered to the nu-metal crowd. Karmacode could have been a survival technique to adapt to the changing audience thrust upon them, or perhaps they just liked that thumpy shit and enjoyed wavin' their arms in the air like they just don't care. Either way, as I learned once again, my initial impression years ago was right and still stands. I'll hold onto a couple of tracks and ditch the rest.
I'll try to keep this short, as most of what is wrong with this album has been said by others: This is nu-metal, specifically Korn. I don't know whether it is due to the band's possible greed or just their general lack of taste. There are a few last glimpses of good music here, but it all ends with this album.
Fragile, To The Edge, Our Truth, Devoted, What I See, Fragments Of Faith and The Game are all terrible mainly to their mosh-y, Korn-y riffs. These are the songs that get Lacuna's foot through Hot Topic's door. I won't waste time discussing them further.
The reason I gave this album at least something of a score is because there are a few really great songs on here. Granted, they are more mellow, but they're dignified and emotive songs, not mallgoth fodder. Within Me, Without Fear, Enjoy The Silence, Virtual Environment* and Without A Reason*. Within Me is very radio-friendly, but that doesn't detract from it being a nice song. It's very simple and has a catchy chorus. Without Fear is in a similar vein; it is mostly sung in Italian (...and beautifully too. I have a weakness for their Italian-sung songs), and the catchy chorus is what makes this song come to life as well. It is actually one my favorite songs from LC, along with Senzafine and Comalies. Enjoy The Silence is a well-done cover (I won't comment on how it compares to the original). I originally mistook it to be a "bonus track" kind of song tacked onto the end, but it works very well as the album's closer. *The last two I mentioned aren't even on the album at all - they were shoved aside onto two separate singles (not chugg-a-lugg enough, I guess), which is a shame because they are some of the band's best material and I included them in this review because they definitely deserve a mention. Virtual Environment manages to hit the five-minute mark, and it is one of the rare songs that Andrea doesn't ruin with his presence. His voice is also essentialin Without a Reason. Both songs sound fairly pre-Comalies.
For the songs I didn't mention, I consider them half-decent filler. However, the album desperately needs them in order to (somewhat) offset the number of bad tracks.
It's sad to see the band go down this path, but what good band doesn't anymore (I'm 99% positive Darkspace will someday become the next Slipknot, the way things are going)? Lacuna Coil's newer releases are even worse, complete with a backwards 'N' in their logo to reinforce that fact. But I am not going to lose hope. Cradle Of Filth seems to be exploring their roots again after a few crappy albums, even Theatre Of Tragedy produced a worthy successor to Aegis after completely shitting on their career with Musique/Assembly. So maybe someday this band will realize that it's time to take off the Tripp pants, stop writing fist-pumping, chugging anthems for 15-year-old fashion victims, and take the time to put some feeling back into their music.
I read a lot of the reviews for this album, most of them saying it was horrible or disapointing, comparing "Karmacode" with their previous works. I on the other hand though I have been meaning to listen to LC's earlier material, have only known "Karmacode-Lacuna Coil" and "Shallow Life-Lacuna Coil", and I think this album is highly underrated. "Karmacode" is an album that is complex and very diverse, and I find it, to say the least, quite tasteful. The sound is powerful, heavy, moving, and catchy. Crinstina's vocals are amazing and powerful, and next to Andrea, her voice sounds even better. But that doesn't mean her male counterpart is a bad vocalist, just at times can be somewhat irritating, but the two voices do compliment each other nicely.
The thing I must talk about more are Andrea's vocals, because that is the biggest flaw but can also be a strength. Andrea lends less singing to this album and more yelling or speaking, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's bad, like in the opener "Fragile", his parts give this power that is also catchy, it stays with you. But then, his actual singing can be horrible, the verses in the fourth track "Within Me", his singing at times seems so harsh and out of tune. Then of coarse there are the songs when his singing (not yelling, singing) is actually good. The Fifth track "Devoted", he actually sings well, though his part in that song is small it sounds really nice.
The music is a good background and foundation for the voices. The guitar is always there and is actually pretty heavy, the riffs are memorable and crisp, but can be blurred at some times. The guitars are accompanied by keyboards that give nice atmosphere, like in the ninth song "Closer", but at some times, they are the thing you heare the least out of. The bass is usually, for the most part audible, its presense is always there. The thing that took me a while to get over was the bass's loose sound, it sounds very...I don't know, "twangy", like everytime the bass player plucks you hear a "twang" or a "doing". It can be annoying at times. But the music isn't bad because of it, just took a while to get used to it. Then the drums, the drum part for this album is usually just used to keep time. There is nothing creative about it or catchy but the guitars and bass do a good enough job that it doesn't really matter.
So to recap, this album is heavy, powerful, and catchy. The musicianship is pretty good, but the bass sound in general can be annoying at times. Cristina and Andrea can make a great duet, but Andrea should work on his pipes more. Cristina's vocals are a highlight, it's so clean and strong. And I feel that people shouldn't compare the album to earlier albums, if they didn't do that the album can easily stand on its own, and it's highly underrated. Listen to it!
Highlights: To The Edge, Our Truth, Devoted, What I See, & Closer
Italy’s most well known band, Metal or otherwise, return with their fourth and most controversial album to date. This album is by far the bands heaviest, but it also shows the band going for an even more commercial sound. It’s hard to say if the band themselves have opted to change their style or if Century Media is trying to milk this cash cow for all its worth (most are inclined to believe the latter).
The production value alone on this album is breath taking. The songs contained within thrive as a result of this. The guitars are heavy and accessible while still retaining a fair amount of their roots. The leads are plentiful and there is one solo. The bands unique usage of chords and rhythms is still very much intact.
The bass is the biggest let down of the entire release as it draws HEAVILY from Korn drowning out the guitars in some places. The bass is still original in its delivery however and doesn't follow the guitars very much (thankfully), as it does its own thing for the bulk of the album. The drums are good as always, perhaps pushing them a bit farther than before. Also, as always, there is some electronic noise in the form of ambient keyboards and samples.
Christina is once again the star of the show here, pushing her already brilliant vocals to even further extremes. She gives this album a lot of the sensual and somewhat sexy atmosphere. Andre is still hardly there making one wonder why he is still in the band with the virtually nonexistent air time he gets. The two in tandem are excellent as always. The lyrics, while mostly in the same vein as what we've come to expect from Lacuna, are perhaps a little more light hearted and fun. Perhaps the long absence from the studio brought about several life affirming changes that have given them reason for a more celebratory view of existence.
This album is a rocker for all intents and purposes. There is a very tribal feel to the music. The vibe is a mixture of love and despair mixed with bliss and darkness. This is however, the bands worst recording. It’s somewhat apparent that they will probably continue down this path however. Only time will tell if we are ever to get our Lacuna Coil back.
I bought this album primarily because I regularly make very bad decisions. The only real value this album has is in being hilarious in concept. Evanescence rips of Lacuna Coil mercilessly, and to compete, Lacuna Coil turns into a nu-metal band that apes Evanescence in an effort to obtain a similar level of mainstream success. That's a pretty funny idea and it's somewhat funny for the first two minutes of this album when you slowly realize what's happened to the band, but after that you can probably turn it off with a smug grin because man there's nothing to recommend for this. It just sucks.
So yeah, this is essentially a modern nu-metal/alt rock album minus rap influences. The clean vocals are still present but the guitars just shuffle and chug away while the drums thump through a series of rock beats and keyboards dominate the melodic spectrum with cheesy modern rock pokings. Lacuna Coil was always a poppy band but this is really full-fledged pop music, and not even particularly well-composed pop at that. It's stilted and predictable and offers nothing that you can't hear for free by turning on the radio. Even painfully overrated Cristina Scabbia's vocals are pushed way down into the mix so you can here more aimless jumpdafuckup riffs courtesy of a band who totally doesn't care at all.
It's all exclusively midpaced and droning and I can't honestly remember a single track off the album once it's over. The album could be a single song and have the same effect. The production job is nice and full and all but the music still sucks and it's about as void of artistic talent as you can get this side of Eminem. I recommend you don't buy this if you have even a shred of taste, because this is pretty tasteless all around. Also the bass is ugly and too loud.
Karmacode by Italian pseudo goth band Lacuna Coil is honestly like a guilty pleasure for me. This isn't "gothic metal" but more on the terms of Nu Metal/Mallcore. Infact you can't classify this in any other real metal genre. Most of the tracks feature extremely simple and catchy mallcore riffage with downtuned guitars. But there are some parts worth mentioning, for example the intro sample and the small section towards the end of "To The Edge" or that main lead that is played on the chorus of "Devoted" .
If there's anything to be praised highly on this album it would be the vocals. Both of them do an incredible job. Cristina Scabbia seems to have a pretty distinct yet straight forward approach to vocals and it seems to fit with the music. She's very natural and doesn't try that opera/mezzo style for example Simone Simons who tries too hard and ends up butchering her voice. Andrea Ferro does an excellent job of accompanying the main vocalist but they should have given him a bit more time in the album.
I know I'll lose my "trve" status but I actually enjoyed the mallcore riffs too especially when Cristina overlays her voice with it. Tracks like Fragile. To The End and What I See feature some kind of dance style drum rhythms which is catchy as fuck! After the track "Closer" the album doesn't do much until the final track which is a cover of Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence". It's worth listening to if you liked the original.
What makes this album bearable is the effort put in by the vocalist and those goddamn dance beats on some of the tracks (you gotta secretly love them). Top that off with catchy chorus and clean production and you got a good mainstream friendly album.
Favorite Tracks: To the Edge, Devoted, Fragile, Within Me, You Create, What I See.
After the considerable success of Comalies, Lacuna Coil are back with their anticipated offering to date; Karmacode. As one of their fans I am readily convince that Lacuna would produce even a better record than the previous releases… Or so I think!
When I first bought this album, my expectation was sky rocketed due to the fact that the band themselves told the media that this would be their best full length to date. I began to scour the browsing catalogue and eventually Karmacode was already available for pre – order. I popped the CD into my stereo, hoping that there would be even more surprises from them. The opening track “Fragile” was cool and catchy. Although I began to get distracted from Ferro’s aggravating vocals that blatantly undermined Scabbia’s performance. Well, he had a fair share in this album. Unlike in Comalies where Cristina dominated every verse here and there while Mr.Ferro just added to the heavy atmosphere. But halfway through the album, I noticed something had gone terribly wrong with this album; there were some nu metal craps that trickled down their music. Isn’t that obvious to mention that the band had employed Korn like bass riffs? I never was a fan of Korn and in fact that band sucks a lot. That Twisted Transistor had influenced Lacuna Coil, proselytized them to embrace nu metal elements in their Gothic laden piece. To some extent, it is alright for a band like Coil to progress so that they will not be stagnating long enough and get bored. But this kind of progression really brought down the band’s triumphant reputation as one of the best Gothic metal bands in the arena. I would not go and say “Fuck Korn, fuck nu metal and all their fucking garbage!” I never judged others to that extreme believe me.
So, basically Coil wanted to gain even wider audience in the mainstream, perhaps that what Century Media aimed the band to do exactly to please their glamour craving inclination. But it was wrong for a band like Lacuna Coil to dispose off their Gothic elements for the sake of sales and profit. What we have now is an Italian nu metal band that uses Gothic constituent as camouflage. The production was clean but had certain weaknesses in it. The bouncing bass riffs sounded rather thin and Mr.Ferro vocals were too loud in the mix. Most keyboards were nicely arranged and still maintained their stylistic trademark; one of the good things in this record. Some lovely moments include Cristina’s haunting chants in the song “You Create” followed by the next track “What I See”. At one time, the latter was moderately enjoyable, especially the choruses where Cristina vocals were much clearer and enchanting. But when Ferro started to materialize he destroyed the beauty of the song. By the way, I almost forgot about the song “Our Truth” which was featured as a soundtrack to the film Underworld: Evolution. I watched the film as well, and it was one hell of a movie. How about Our Truth? Well the truth is out there and honestly the song sucks hard. I would rather listen to Not Too Late or Silent Hill soundtracks.
Nothing much left to say about this particularly weak record. Even though there are some nice songs but they are easily forgotten and not memorable as compared to their older materials; In a Reverie and Comalies. Despite my utter frustration about this album, 50% will be just fine enough for it. To all Lacuna Coil devoted fans don’t break down in despair. Because sometimes we’ve got to see great bands rolling downhill in their path, just like what happened to Metallica during their mainstream approach with the Load and Reload up to St. Anger. Let’s just hope that Lacuna Coil will return to their original style. Mediocrity will show up once in a while within the band’s career so it is true that nobody is perfect. All they need to do is putting more effort and try to do the best.
Lacuna Coil has faded. All that's left are memories. At first I was really excited to know that Lacuna Coil released a new album called Karmacode five years after releasing their masterpiece Comalies. Despite the album's awful name, I thought it might be a follow up to the one preceding Comalies. In a rush I got the album (thank God it wasn't an original copy). Listening to it for the first time had me shocked in a negative way for sure, and I realized this wasn't the follow up to Comalies. This wasn't Lacuna Coil at all. The band turned out to be influenced by pop and nu-metal, not gothic anymore. Nothing's here to compare with their old songs such as the metallic sounding "Swamped" or "Heaven's a Lie". The album is commercial to the point that even fans of Slipknot, Korn and Madonna will like it!
First of all, Ferro has one of the worst voices that you want to hear in a gothic metal labeled album. They are a mixture of Jonathan Davis (Korn), Serj Tankian (System of a Down) and even some rappers! Cristina faded away from her gothic style and turned to be a pop star singer with nothing deep and attractive in her voice anymore. It's like she's only accomplishing a job, no feelings, nothing attractive at all. Horrible and sucky guitar riffs are played loud and faster than usual without any effect. The drumming sucks as well with 'just making some noise' being the appropriate term to describe it. Bass is overrated as usual. Another important change is Lacuna Coil's sound. There are less keyboards, a thing considered an advantage in some metal genres. Unfortunatly that's not the case in gothic metal where keyboards should exist in a powerful way, unlike the way they were in Karmacode (playing a very low profile). I can't give credits to any of the album's songs, not to mention that they cover a song by Depeche Mode, so don't be surprised if they cover Britney Spears on their upcoming release!
Lacuna Coil can't be considered dead since they are able to impress a whole bunch of nu-metal lovers with their latest release, in addition to the majority of pop and rock lovers. On the other hand, their reputation is constantly fading away to metal and gothic listeners who can't expect anything good from the band anymore. I don't advise any metal or gothic fan to buy the album. But try it if you want only if you are curious enough to meet the new Lacuna Coil!
We know very well the successful adventure italian gothic wannabes Lacuna Coil had in 2004 when they went to ozzfest and were very well accepted for the U.S. music fans. Well, as a "thank you for filling our pockets with more money than the one we'll ever gain if we dedicated to some really productive activities", they released this album. And my review title says it all.
It's kind of a crossover, but with each and every sucky nu-metal U.S. band inbetween. Since the beggining (fragile), and the horrible guitar riffing from "to the edge" passing around the midly-slow and mellow "within me" and "you create", the extremely sucky nu-metal-ish riffing and way to make music still lives in songs like "what I see", "in visible light" and "the game". My god, even on 90% of the songs the bassist sounds like the one from Korn!! The album It's like a Korn-Papa Roach-Disturbed-Godsmack-Alien Ant Farm-As I Lay Dying crossover. A lot of bands? yes. A lot of styles? not really. Any of these bands is good? Hell no.
That's mainly a general view. Now on for some pointers:
First of all, it's better for these guys to sing properly. My god, have you listened to Ferro's vocals on Fragments of Faith? Sounds like if he wanted to rap like a ghetto public enemy fan. That's where I don't get it. These guys at Italy have music schools and conservatories, why is there a fucking need to rap?
Secondly, that Depeche Mode cover... alright, how do you expect to make good cover songs from another artist/band when you can't even make good original music? They obviously wanted to fly before they learned to walk.
A summary of the songs might be (90% accurately) like this:
"Rock" songs (Fragile, To the Edge, Our Truth, What I See, Fragments of Faith, Closer, The Game): a useless, non-original, and crappy nu-metal crossover.
"Mellow" songs (Within Me, You Create, Without Fear): Evanescence wannabe songs.
"The decent" songs (Devoted, In Visible Light, Without a Reason): kinda sounds like the old Lacuna Coil we love so much to listen to.
"The bonus" song (An acoustic version of Swamped): I can't really say if this song is bad or not, I fell asleep after the first minute of listening to it. A lame and boring one.
All the work Lacuna Coil put together after 4 years of silence resumes in one word: SELLOUTS. You've thrown your style to the garbage, in order to achieve big sales. You're just admirable...
The Good: Devoted, In Visible Light and Without a Reason.
The Bad: everything else.
The Ugly: Lacuna Coil turning into a nu-metal band in order to be millionaires.
The Sad: Lacuna Coil = sellouts =(
Might I start off by saying I am a great fan of Lacuna Coil. I have been for the past three years. I absolutely love the different things they bring to the table-- ethereal atmosphere, the contrast between Cristina and Andrea's voices, and so on and so forth.
When "Our Truth," the first single off this album, was released, I was quite excited. The vocals sounded great, there was an interesting ethnic vibe, and goodness, was it extremely catchy. Sure, it sounded very commercial, of course, but what first single off a breakthrough band's new album doesn't?... Sadly, I didn't know that the whole album would sound the same.
Karmacode is a great change in Lacuna Coil's overall style. They've traded in their great display of musicianship and (moderately) complex songwriting for chunky guitar riffs and catchy little songs that'll make you want to get up and dance. The lyrics have also taken a great downfall on this album. It was said by the band themselves that the concept was to show the contrast between things such as technology and spirituality. However, the lyrical expression of this theme has fallen flat. I've never listened to Lacuna Coil for their lyrics, but I can say that most of lyrics sound exactly the same. (Count the number of times that phrases include the words "inside," or "feel," and you'll get my point.)
As for the songs themselves... most of them are very monotonous, going in the same pattern over and over again. The majority of them are all very fast, upbeat, with chunky guitar riffs, and some lovely vocalization here-and-there. Songs such as "Fragile," "To the Edge," "Devoted," and "What I See" sound so alike that it's sometimes very hard to diffentiate them. Songs such as "Fragments of Faith" and "The Game" could be bragged as being their heaviest songs (which is a strong "NO" in my humble opinion). There's a ballad that fits into the album too, because god only knows, you can't have a metal album WITHOUT a ballad. "Within Me" is that such a song, where you can catch what it's trying to dilver, although it ultimately fails.
The songs that I find most enjoyable would have to be "Enjoy the Silence," "Without Fear," and "In Visible Light." "Enjoy the Silence" is a cover of the popular Depeche Mode song. Having heard the original by Depeche Mode, I'd have to say they did a great job with covering this, just as they had covered a Dubstar song in the past. "Without Fear" is a nearly-all Italian song, which really shows off Cristina's ability to sing at extremely low pitches and still sound amazing. "In Visible Light" is quite slow, but ultimately the heaviest track on the album.
But not all of the change is horrible. The one positive is that Cristina and Andrea's voices have never sounded better. It seems that Cristina has finally found her nich in singing-- she's meant to be a deep, powerful singer. Also, Andrea's vocals are a bit more, eh, bearable (it was said that he had been taking voice lessons recently). The different ethnic vibes that they bring into play are also very interesting.
In all honesty, I can say that this was one of the biggest disappointments of 2006. Lacuna Coil should stop trying to imitate popular nu-metal bands and get back to their roots-- where they sound best.
This album, in order to have a proper review, needs to be taken in two perspectives. First off, we have comparisons to Lacuna Coil’s previous works. By comparison, this album is not nearly as unique and original as their previous albums. This album, on the surface, sounds just like any typical alternative rock album, where the previous works had some gothic undertones as well as some unique approaches to alternative rock.
However, to say that the album is completely different and unoriginal as compared to previous Lacuna Coil works would mark an injustice done to this album. Thusly, we have to consider this album as a completely separate entity from previous works.
Taken on its own, we see that the album does have a sense of repetition to it. After about halfway through the album, all the songs do begin to start sounding the same. Each individual song is good. Listened to straight through, though, the whole album sort of drags on because of the fact that most of it has a single, unifying sound that gets somewhat boring throughout.
Of course, that single, unifying sound of which I spoke is a sound that tends to sound a little like KoRn, or some other similar band. In other words, the sound of this album makes me feel like I’ve heard it all before. And where I’ve heard it is being pummeled down my throat on active rock radio. However, this album does manage to do some unique things within the alternative rock formula that make it a worthwhile listen. There are synthesizer riffs throughout. Further, the drummer makes use of syncopation throughout the album that most alternative rock bands don’t have the ability to do.
We also have Cristina Scabbia’s voice, and though this is probably her worst vocal performance, it’s still better than most alternative rock singers. Male vocalist Andrea Ferro does not get nearly enough time on the album. He is a vastly underrated singer because of the fact that he doesn’t have the angelic voice that Cristina has. However, his voice manages to fit the heavier moments of the album quite well.
One thing that I find interesting is the choice of singles. The second single in the U.S., as well as in many places, was the Depeche Mode cover “Enjoy The Silence”. This says a lot about the original songs on the album, I think. Isn’t it also funny that this cover is the song on the album that sounds most like older Lacuna Coil?
Overall, the album is a disappointment, especially coming from this band. It’s not a bad listen at all. There are plenty of good songs on here. However, the pervasive feeling of “I’ve heard this way too many times before” sort of hurts the album. If you’re into more gothic metal, don’t get this. If you’re into more radio-friendly alternative rock, you’ll love this album.
Many say Karmacode is nu-metal. It’s not, but it is nu-metal friendly. However, it’s NOT gothic at all. What Lacuna Coil wanted to do on Karmacode was to mix the Euro-metal sound with the US-metal sound, and they did just that. Some tracks(“Closer,” “The Game,” “Enjoy the Silence”) sound purely European while some(“Fragile,” “To The Edge,” “Devoted,” “What I See,” “Fragments of Faith”) sound totally American. Still other songs(“Our Truth”) have both American and European influences. All the American tracks sound very KoRny(not that it‘s bad). I’d like to repeat that even though it sounds much like KoRn, it is NOT nu-metal. As for the European tracks, they just sound like old Lacuna Coil.
Now, I’ll talk about individual performances. The guitars bust out with harder, heavier, and rawer riffs. The bassist produces thud-pounding basslines reminiscent to funk-metal acts Incubus, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Rage Against the Machine except slower, darker, and slightly grittier. Throughout Karmacode, the guitars and bass do their own thing. Cristina does distant-sounding Mid-Eastern singing to give the heavy songs an exotic, ethereal atmosphere. The male vocalist improved a lot. He doesn’t try anything new on the album; he just sings better.
Karmacode is a well-made album that tried to mix European and American metal genres. Lacuna Coil didn’t know of any other bands doing this, so they decided to do it. Even though Karmacode has its flaws, I’m proud of Lacuna Coil doing something new. The biggest disappointment was that there was only one guitar solo on Karmacode, and that was in "The Game." Also, their cover of Depeche Mode’s "Enjoy the Silence" was boring. Despite these low points, I’m glad Karmacode made an effort to cover uncharted audible territory. Whenever, a band does something new, there will always be mistakes, but I respect bands that take that chance.
I’d like to repeat that Karmacode is NOT a nu-metal album. Many find it hard to believe that something can be influenced by KoRn, and yet not be nu-metal. Well, let me give you an analogy for better understanding:
Linkin Park:Evanescence::KoRn:Lacuna Coil
Linkin Park is nu-metal/rap-rock/rapcore, but Evanescence is none of those. Yet Evanescence have some sonic similarities with Linkin Park. The comparison between KoRn and Lacuna Coil is the same.
For those interested in Karmacode, keep in mind that one song doesn’t represent the entire album. If you hear one song from Karmacode that you didn’t like it, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike the entire album. It’s a shame many people will be deterred from Karmacode just because it’s categorized as nu-metal.
I have never seen the fascination with Lacuna Coil. I tend to find their music bland and repetitive and this release is no different; however, at least their former albums showed some talent. Lacuna Coil has completely ignored the metal element in Karmacode. In my opinion, Lacuna Coil has never been known for their metal side, but this release certainly clouds any hope of ever being associated with metal.
In all reality, there is nothing wrong with popularity, but as many metal fans like me would agree, the chances of our bands gaining public attention is very slim. Unfortunately, and in return, some bands have been known to sacrifice their sound to fit the media’s mold. Lacuna Coil has done just that. In a recent interview, the band has stated concerning metal’s popularity, that metal can be popular- Korn is popular. With that thought in mind, we can clearly see what Lacuna Coil was going for.
The keyboards have been tuned down a bit from their last album, but instead we receive many nu-metal riffs. Many of the songs’ riffs seem to come directly from Korn songs. Fortunately, I have not heard many Korn songs, but from what I have heard, they could easily be clones. Every song sounds like the song before it; there is no variety, albeit quite unfortunate consistency. The vocals are split evenly between Cristina and Andrea. While Cristina’s voice may not be innovative or emotive, it is far better than the screeching of the male singer, Andrea.
I would not recommend this album to many people. I believe that many fans will secretly be disappointed that Lacuna Coil has turned into another commercialized band.
Although I wasn’t planning to write any review to this album, after listening to it once I decided to put down a few lines. I couldn’t help myself, I just feel like this is the end of me as a Lacuna Coil fan and something that made me think this way deserves to get explained a little.
First of all I would like to say that I agree with MacabreDivinity’s review, so I’m not going to write about things which are mentioned in it.
I always admired Cristina’s voice, it sounds really great and makes Lacuna Coil what it is. Or has made? Well, to tell the truth, you’re not going to find many parts where Cristina sings clearly and alone on Karmacode. That’s probably what I miss the most. In older songs she had her own parts and only sometimes there was someone who seconded her (well, I’m not saying I liked the way the singer sang that time), but on Karmacode it seems like they did everything to put Andrea (the singer) everywhere it was (im)possible. I can imagine myself enjoying some songs on the album (yeah, I’m not kidding), just if I wasn’t like “omg shut up, let her sing alone!” everytime it seemed to be getting better.
Cristina’s vocals are great once again, but there are some parts which I find "unnatural" – maybe that’s the best way to call them. Sometimes she adds odd elements to her singing and I’m not growing to like them.
To tell the truth, I got used to “Our Truth” somehow (before the Karmacode release), although the first time I listened to it I was wondering if it was Lacuna Coil. This never happened with any other song on Karmacode, unfortunately. Well, I expected them to change their style of course (some tracks on Comalies were a warning for me), but I really haven’t thought they would do it this way. But I was wrong, obviously.
Whole album is just… everything but not metal and not Lacuna Coil (or at least not as people liked them). I wouldn’t probably recognise the band if I didn’t notice that the female vocals are done by Cristina Scabbia. I don’t want to rate the guitars and instruments since I really don’t know much about it (maybe I should be glad…), but I don’t find them so annoying (there are some parts, but overall I don’t consider them that bad). What I really hate about Karmacode is putting the second singer everywhere… But well, I’ve mentioned it above.
Lacuna Coil started as a perspective band in gothic metal world, but I think they’ve finally made it to some… well, let’s call it “other style” and now they seem to be trying to attract fans of those “other styles”… Well, why not, isn’t there just more of them then in gothic scene? Gothic metal is beautiful music (when done right of course) and one of its advantages is that there are not many people knowing about it, so it stays quite only for those who can really appreciate it. But it isn’t enough for Lacuna Coil… So let’s just wish them luck in commercial world or where they are heading to, won’t we…
If this wasn’t a review written for metal website, I think I would give Karmacode higher rating, but unfortunately it’s not a real situation. There are some (2, maybe 3) highlights on this release, but I think that good album should contain less bad songs then good ones. They're getting 40/100 from me... hope that I'm not more generous than I should be.
Sorry to say it, but I simply don’t like Karmacode and "new" Lacuna Coil, but they know what they're doing... I hope.
Lacuna Coil have returned, and with a release that's bound to surprise fans and critics alike. They've taken up a new style; gone are the slow heavy goth melodies that made up their old style. It's been replace with a fast-paced, formulaic and very noticeably American style.
Before I begin, I'd like to state that yes, I am a fan of the band. And I myself was surprised and rather disappointed with this new release. I expected to have an album that took up where Comalies left off, but instead Karmacode was made, a completely different release where the band is barely recognisable. To be honest, if it weren't for Cristina's and Andrea's vocals, you probably couldn't even tell that this is a Lacuna Coil album.
The album begins with Fragile, a song that is noticeably fast-paced compared to their earlier work, and even more noticeably, has very nu-metal-like riffs. One thing you can immediately notice with this track is how much Cristina has improved as a vocalist; that's one of the highlights of the album. Her voice isn't as droning as it has been in the band's older work. It's much louder and fuller and has much more energy.
To the Edge and Our Truth continue in the same vein as Fragile, although Our Truth has a much more original and memorable melody, and is overall just a more lively song. It's another high part of the album.
Within Me is a slower, more ballad-like song. However, because of the droning melody and constant chorus repeats, it becomes dull and boring easily.
Devoted is a sudden change from the ballad-like atmosphere Within Me created, and immediately starts out with an intro with heavy riffs, and once again the nu-metal/American influence shows through, and nowhere else as heavily as in this song.
Then You Create comes in, a mostly instrumental track, and Cristina's vocals are absolutely sublime in this track. Her voice really helps the album, carrying it over its low points. This would be a very nice track if it weren't for the male voice speaking near the end. It almost completely ruins the track, or at least the end of it; it sounds completely out of place. The track then leads into What I See, which follows in the same vein as Devoted; it starts off with nu-metal riffs and is fast-paced and very American.
Fragments of Faith then begins, and despite its nu-metal riffs at times, it turns out to be a very enjoyable song; the way Cristina's vocals are so varied in the chorus really harmonises with and compliments the music of the song. Once again, her voice saves the album.
Then there's Closer, which surprisingly has an intro with lot of synth-like keyboard work; this isn't a bad thing, but it doesn't exactly fit in with the music well. This song repeats the chorus to the point of exhaustion, and because of that it quickly becomes boring and predictable.
In Visible Light then comes in, and is probably one of the best songs on the whole album. It starts out rather slow and quiet, and then becomes heavy as the chorus comes in, the chorus being the main highlight of the song, with Cristina's and Andrea's vocals complimenting each other very well. And in this song, you can actually hear a string accompaniment; something completely novel compared to the rest of the album.
Then there's The Game, which has a synth-like intro rather like the intro to Closer. Like the rest of the album, it's fast-paced with a lot of nu-metal riffs, and is formulaic with a catchy chorus. Not very original.
Without Fear begins, and it breaks away from the usual tradition of the album. It's mainly a slow song with some heavy elements, and it's quite nice as Cristina's and Andrea's vocals once again compliment each other very well.
Finally, there's Enjoy the Silence, which is completely amazing and definitely one of the best songs on the album. It's entirely different from the rest of the album, and is simply incredible. Cristina's vocals are just perfect here and completely compliment the song in every way. This is probably the most original song on the album. Despite being a cover, it ends the album perfectly, and really picks the album up. I've never heard the original song by Depeche Mode, but I don't even need to; this is just a great song in itself.
Overall, this album isn't bad; it's just very commercialised and very American. You can hear nu-metal influences everywhere on this album, which is not a good thing. The band has more than likely done this because they've realised that they have the potential to really break into the US market. It's such a shame. I do hope they decide to return to their old style and release an album where they left off with Comalies.
The high points of the album are: Our Truth, You Create, Fragments of Faith, In Visible Light, Without Fear, and Enjoy the Silence. I'd recommend this album to anyone who likes Lacuna Coil very much or bands similar to them, and is willing to tolerate some nu-metal elements. If you have have patience and tolerance for some nu-metal influences, you can probably find some songs on this album that you really enjoy, as I did.
You read it right. This is no joke. Lacuna Coil has done a complete butt-rape of everything that made their music good, and in the process, embraced the legions of mallcore with open arms... It is my sad duty -- as at one point a rabid and loyal fan of this band -- to deliver the news to you all as if it be the death of a loved one...
Before the review of the album, I suggest we get all the lame "KoRn" jokes out of the way before everyone else makes them when listening to this new album from a once promising "goth" band. There's LaKoRna Coil, Lacuna KoRn, LaKoRna KoRn, KoRnaCunaKarma--SHUT THE FUCK UP! Okay? Okay. Now, on with the review, kids...
The beginning riffs really speak volumes for absolutely everything to come on this album, here. They're chunky, un-inventive, and very, very familiar... and there is the inspiration for the theme of this review -- IT'S KORN. Dear GOD in heaven, Lacuna Coil, WHY?!
The song's opening vocals and mystical background vibes are quite nice, though, but really nothing new or special. This is, unfortunately, followed by Andrea Ferro's voice to open the beginning verse (the reason why some children cry at night). Don't get me wrong, the guy's never been a great -- or even really "good" singer -- but he has somewhat improved, compared to even, say, Comalies... Unfortunately, that's about all the improvement you get with this new release.
The mud-fart riffs continue on throughout the entire song, providing a very confusing atmosphere to Lacuna Coil fans (which I most definitely was, up until hearing this)... Cristina's vocals are pretty good but they lack emotion and power to pull the song out of the ditch it drove itself into... The marketable nu-metalness only continues to infect...
"To the Edge"
... What? It's a different song? What the FUCK? Is this "Fragile, part II"? Absolutely nothing has changed: mud riffs, drowned atmosphere, and Cristina/Andrea harmonies that I just heard for four minutes! I think the chorus is even the same!
For those of you who heard this before the album's release, either on the Underworld: Evolution soundtrack or online somewhere, consider this your first and very sobering warning. No -- this was not an “experiment” song -- the whole album actually sounds like this! It's just... ew.
The only thing that makes this song stand out is the actually somewhat enjoyable harmony of Andrea and Cristina -- a sound I used to be so fond of... Trust me, there's nothing more to be said about this song...
AHA! ALL HOPE IS NOT LOST! I know all the "metal elitists" who do nothing but sit in mommy's basement all day, jacking off to Iron Maiden and insulting anything that's "OMGOTHIC!" will absolutely detest this song. But as a fan of what Lacuna Coil USED to be, this slow and mellower song is a breath of fresh air from the unholy mallcore assault of the first three tracks... It's short, and not incredibly interesting, but the riffs aren't terrible, and the melody is quite nice. I now have hope! GO, LACUNA! GO TOWARDS THE LIGHT AND AWAY FROM THE EVIL CLUTCHES OF MUD RIFFNESS!
... Oh, god dammit, they went back to the crap-riffs. Oh well, this one's at least better than the others of its kind on this album. Andrea starts the song with the promise of a somewhat creepy melody that builds with Cristina's addition to his vocals. The accursed tune of the guitars obviously hurts this song, but for what it is, it's all right. The chorus -- while being pretty much the same as all the others so far -- is pretty catchy... But the repeat of the phrase, "deep insi-eee-iiiide!" before it, kind of makes me want to vomit... It really only goes downhill from there...
... Huh? Wha? Oh, wow, sorry, I was trying to drown myself in the toilet because of the ending riffs of "Devoted" -- but hey, Cristina's singing... and it's actually quite nice. Wow. Hey, I could kind of get into -- WHAT THE FUCK? Who is this douchebag talking? WHAT ARE YOU DOING? NO! NO, GET AWAY! STAY AWAY FROM HER!
"What I See"
... Oh, I see. "You Create" was just a lead in for this song, and that voice was Jonathan Davis, whispering to Cristina, "It's time to fuck up the music again! Hee hee! Listen to moy -- yes -- MOY, kid, I'll take you places! TRUST IN MOOOOY!" *Sigh* -- another potentially good new Lacuna Coil song down the drain. Nothing more is to be noted here.
"Fragments of Faith"
It just won't END, will it? Well... at least the background atmosphere is cool. Maybe there's hope for this song after a-- WHAT THE FUCK? ANDREA IS RAPPING! OH MY GOD! OH, MERCIFUL LORD JESUS, NO! Wait! Cristina’s back again in the chorus. This would be the shining ray of hope in this song, if it wasn’t drowned out by the mallcore curse embedded deep within the music (possibly the result of a voodoo priestess -- I can’t say for sure). Repeat this process for a few more minutes, and there you will have "Fragments of Faith" ... though I must say, my faith is just about gone after this one.
... Okay, so, crappy bass line intro, electronic keyboard lead in, and then... MALLCO-- wait. Nope. I misspoke. There’s no muddy, KoRn-like riffs, and no “gangsta Andrea”! OH, THERE *IS* A GOD! This one is actually quite good I have to say -- at least for this album. It's not "metal" but at least it's rock... just with some poppy electronic melodies. MUST WE BE PICKY, THOUGH? LACUNA COIL, COME BACK TO US! PLEASE!
"In Visible Light"
At exactly 0:41, the madness resumes... On the bright side, the harmony is good. Imagine that -- GOOD mallcore! That's kind of how I'm starting to view this album, sadly enough: "Well... it's better than 'A Dark Halo' or ... 'P.O.D' at least! VIVA LA MALLCORE!" I do love the violins later in the song -- the only real "gothic" thing about this album, to me. I'm talking GOOD gothic -- not the "OMG 666 ANGEL BLACKWHORE!" crap -- I mean dark elegance and beauty. Lacuna Coil USED to signify such things... but hey, at least there's... violin! That’s better than P.O.D. ... right...?
... Isn't that the name of a Disturbed song from their first album? Coincidentally, this song kind of sounds like that -- old school Disturbed. But, again, the harmonies do help it from not sucking completely. What we have here is some decent singing over chug-a-chug riffs that only lead into -- you guessed it -- MUD RIFFS! But on the bright side, there is a solo... sort of. Andrea, Cristina, fire the guitarists. The ending of this song just fucking sucks...
Hmm... This is actually very good -- at least for this album. No, it's not metal, and no, it's not even remotely heavy... However, when "heavy" to Lacuna Coil means the type of guitar work they’ve been displaying so far, this is definitely a blessing. In fact, I wish the whole album were like this. The singing is very nice -- on both accounts. Again, I think Andrea has improved... Unfortunately, it took the utter destruction of the rest of the band for him to do it.
At around 2:51, there is a pretty modest "solo" that's somewhat soothing in an Opeth type of way... Unfortunately, it has neither the length nor substance of an Opeth solo...
"Enjoy the Silence"
I must admit, I've never heard the Depeche Mode version of this song, so I can't judge whether it "lives up to the original" or not... but in terms of comparison to the rest of this album, it's definitely at least a step up. Maybe Lacuna Coil should cover more bands. -- Anything that takes them away from this "new style" of theirs... My GOD.
The vocals and music are nothing special. Even Comalies was better than this track, really -- but hey, I'll fucking take it. Just please, please, please don't make me listen to "Fragments of Faith" again...
So... in closing... *breaks down in the corner and cries* WHYYY?!
The only reason I gave this album a 35 rating and not lower is because of the singing. The singing actually caries this lump of shit over the river Styx and makes it so it's at least listen-able once... but not worth buying. Then again, I'm not one of the aforementioned elitists, so it may even be worse to you than this...
Lacuna Coil has fallen from grace with this album, and to many, their fall was all-too expected after Comalies. I actually didn’t mind Comalies -- albeit, a more commercial sound, I’ll admit. But THIS? This is taking it to far. The guitar-work is atrocious, the melodies have no real substance, and the “concepts” the album boasted, for me, did not live up to expectation. This is a downward spiral into mainstream monotony... They might as well go on TRL now. The transformation is complete.
If you want to hear some good music from this band, I’d recommend Unleashed Memories, personally. It was at least one thousand times more original than this. It was before the Amy Lee-bred generation of $uccess via the whoring of “goth”, and before Lacuna Coil’s guitarists lost all knowledge of how to play...As much as I hate to say it, kids... the dream is over.
KoRn-acode ... Believe it.