without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Tackling a band’s discography for review purposes can turn out to be a rewarding experience in that for the sake of completion I would have to listen extensively, or at least a for a reasonable amount of spins, to certain albums in the chosen band’s catalog I never gave any attention to in the past. As a result, I found myself discovering certain releases or individual songs that have wound up in heavy rotation since then, and for that it was worth trudging through the band’s less appealing works. Still, it can be disheartening when the quality of the band’s output continues to dip by personal preference standards to such levels where holding on to that sense of motivation to persevere becomes a questionable venture. After somehow successfully crossing the dismal landscape where a creature known as the Karmacode dwells, I knew it wasn’t time to celebrate yet since I had an idea of what lurked ahead.
After a long rest I nervously sauntered forward until I arrived at the Lake of Eternal Misery, where at its center a tiny isle can be seen in which upon a pedestal a shimmering glass hand grenade rests. But enough of the fantasy shit.
To be honest, the prospect of even listening to this album, let alone reviewing it seemed like a bad idea and a pain in the ass, but for the sake of continuity I decided to ‘man up’ and give it a chance. I soon realized while listening to it that I had the soundtrack I needed to get through this ordeal. The lyrics for the opening track, and quite a few others, are life-affirming, fist pumping, get out there and WIN anthems. It was as if vocalists Cristina & Andrea were coaching and inspiring me to survive the experience. “Don’t worry, bite that fucking bullet and do it! Don’t give up listening to our album no matter how much horseshit and alternative dreck we’re throwing at you, YOU WILL FIGHT AND YOU WILL SURVIVE!” Needless to say, I did survive the challenge, and in fact it wasn’t nearly as rough going as I was expecting. After the nu-metal morass of their previous album, and the fact that Shallow Life seemed regarded as an even worse opus, I was expecting nothing short of an abomination that could swear me off music forever, but instead I was subjected to a cranked-up Paramore with post production industrial embellishments generously sprinkled throughout the release. Sounds awesome, right? So, yeah, it’s obviously still an abomination, but a tolerable one because this album is actually quite unintentionally amusing and entertaining.
Aiming for a larger audience, most of Lacuna Coil’s metal tendencies by now had been supplanted by a melodic hard rock swagger, and just about any trace of gothic qualities to their music had been nipped in the bud. If this album were any less gothic in nature, it would’ve boasted a track called “Goth Fucking Sucks”. The production is unsurprisingly polished to ridiculous levels, which does wonders for the musicians and yet exposes the accents of the vocalists moreso than in earlier efforts. “Not Enough” would have been a nice Coldplay-ish rock track thanks to Cristina’s sweet chorus, but Andrea’s macho verses combined with his redwood thick accent seriously hurt any potential this tune had in that he sounds like he got struck by a bat to the noggin before arriving at the studio. Yet, I must admit, I thought it came across as pretty amusing, so I can’t really hate something that brings a smile to my face.
While Andrea struggles with his linguistics, Cristina plays it pretty safe on this album, like some sort of session stock crooner. Competent, but unadventurous except for some headache-inducing yelps during the opening of “Wide Awake”, although on some occasions she does sound like she was having fun during this recording, specifically on a couple of the more upbeat tracks such as “I Like It”.
Speaking of which, “I Like It” is probably my favorite track off the album with its unabashed goofy pop-rock exuberance with a catchy hook and thematic “Nothing can stop me” lyrics. “Underdog” is another riotous corker with its “You are going down!” chorus and sense of muscular bravado while actually sounding as dangerous as a fat bunny. The only actual tunes that give off any sort of full-fledged metal vibes would be the opener and “Spellbound”, a fast paced number that doesn’t capture my interest but does add more variety to the album’s stylistics.
I guess that’s why I actually find this album a more appealing listen than Karmacode…the sheer variety. Instead of utterly repetitive nu-metal morbidity, we get alternative rockin’ “climb that fucking mountain” inspirational claptrap. It’s absolutely perfect music to accompany the Woman’s Beach Volleyball Championship. So yes, despite not having any song at the same level as “Enjoy The Silence” from their last album, as a whole it’s a much more entertaining listen without actually being good. I suppose there’s something to be said for having extremely low expectations.