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Cristina & Co. settle into a 'mode' - 73%

Liquid_Braino, February 29th, 2012

At this stage of Lacuna Coil’s career, the band was honing a singular and distinctive sound that would basically define them for the next few years. Unlike certain gothic metal acts, this group weren’t laying on thick the bloated synthesized orchestras and Latin spouting choirs. The female/male vocal dynamic was heavily favoring the female, and the male vocals actually involved singing as opposed to toneless growls and screeches. Musically they had adopted a four chord pattern structure for the verses with a mid to slow gait and one guitar providing open power chords while another layers jangly melodies over it. The drummer would sometimes flesh out the sound with some nice rolls and even provide some occasional double bass action as if he were throwing a bone to appease the harsher metalheads in the crowd. Thanks man. An assessment as to the band's influences at this point seem to form a balanced merging of gothic, doom and alternative metal.

Some fans of the group consider their prior album as a band trying to find itself, in which they finally zoned in and crafted this work as the first full length effort bearing the ‘Lacuna Coil blueprint’. I do agree in that they did capture the desired sound they were looking for, but it results in being a double edged sword. To me, In A Reverie wasn’t the result of a band trying to figure out who they were; they already had their foundation down and were being adventurous within their chosen genre and style. With Unleashed Memories, they gain a tighter focus boosted by an improved production, but repeating the same formula over and over eventually kills momentum and eventually devolves into a chore to deal with, like eating pepperoni pizza every single night.

I do believe that pizza on occasion tastes quite delicious, just like the opening track “Heir of a Dying Day” and Cristina Scabbia with her assured smooth vocal skills. The main riff, as in a majority of the other tracks, is composed of a four chord sequence. The opening crescendo has a nice foreboding atmosphere and the note progression utilized for the main riff has a somewhat sinister vibe that brings a bit of tension and desperation to the ambience. Cristina’s sensual rock-based vocals are like the pepperoni on the pizza, with Andrea aptly providing backing vocals. It’s a cool song, but not one that needed to be replicated with minor variations on numerous occasions throughout the LP.

Fortunately there are a couple of other numbers that rise out of the shackles of ‘sameness’ to adorn Unleashed Memories with some much needed variety. First and foremost is the barely revamped version of the Italian language track “Senzafine” first released on the Halflife EP. It's fueled by some busy drumming and dons a slight amount of industrial embellishment amounting to one of Lacuna Coil’s most pure “gothic” sounding tracks. It also doesn’t remotely follow the template that drags some of the lesser interpretations of the opening track into the quagmire. The other standout track to me is “1:19”, which at least attempts an energetic pace and brings to the table elegant guitar-work padded with some full-fledged heaviness. Andrea even blurts out some straight up growling, which surprisingly doesn't negatively affect the song. In fact, by this album he’s really starting to develop a sort of self-identity to his vocalizations rather than aping Metallica’s Load & Reload era. "Cold Heritage" is another interesting dittie that seems to aim for an alternative gothic rock impression with a robotized "When The Levee Breaks" drum beat making a decent soundtrack for swirling arms on some gloomy dancefloor.

Otherwise, it's a daunting task for me to sit through this entire release without bathing in caffeine. Despite some stellar moments regarding the last batch of tracks such as the thunderous and majestic break within "Distant Sun", the meandering and solemn aura combined with a penchant for repeating ideas reduces me to such a mopey and fatigued mood by around track eight that I soon develop a strong urge to stop listening to music altogether, hit the nearest pub and drink myself to the point where I'm blabbering to strangers about how Giada is one hell of a chef. If there was just a few more ideas or something off this heavily beaten and weathered path to keep my interest afloat, this could have been their best album. Individually, some of these songs are admittedly excellent, especially the impressive opener. However, as a whole, although Unleashed Memories does eventually emerge as having some quality nuances after numerous listens, reaching that state is something only fans of female fronted metal acts may wish to consider.

Their most inspired work - 92%

Dulthasil, April 23rd, 2008

Unleashed memories is one of those rare albums that sounds good regardless of the quantity of listens. It is an album you can frequently come back to and discover something new each time, it is very refreshing to have an album where filler is absent. Each track has its own individual appeal.

The overall feel is relatively morose and minor but for some reason it is oddly uplifting and inspiring. The guitar work on the album is the one part I feel should have been more prominent, if listened to intently it becomes clear that Lacuna Coil use the ideas of counter-melody and syncopation very effectively; the lead guitar really should be higher in the mix.

The whole album is full of purpose and direction but still surprises you with sections that cut across the rest and give that sensation that only truly brilliant albums do. “When a Dead Man walks” is one of the finest songs Lacuna Coil has written, it really is difficult to fault this album if you are looking at it from a gothic metallers perspective. I’m sure a lot of basement dwelling black metalheads would have a problem with this, but their opinion is hardly objective on the subject.

The vocals are an improvement on the original, it is clear that Christina Scabbia has a truly unique and beautiful voice and it adds allot to Lacuna Coil. The male vocals are used sparingly and to good effect providing a good contrast to Scabbia's vocals. This is one of the high points of the album and although many say Andrea adds nothing and would prefer just Christina, he does add colour to an already colourful formula.

This contains variation, something that for a while in metal has been a somewhat dirty word. From the soft "Purify" to the heavy "Sezafine" this album goes beyond what’s 'expected' using ideas previously rare in metal, it is to say, a blast of fresh air.

It is unfortunate that Karmacode does not reserve the soul of Lacuna Coil, the production itself is not brilliant but this adds to the music as over production causes the music to lose feel. It is a thoroughly enjoyable release and one of the finest of the gothic metal genre, a classic.

Doom! - 100%

grimdoom, March 29th, 2008

Beautiful, depressing and undeniably Doom are the best words to describe the masterwork know as 'Unleashed Memories'. The vocals and instruments meld in such a way that one cannot help but stop and listen to this album as a whole, every time they listen to it.

The production is very good, certainly above their last album and unlike their last album this one expands on its ideas. The guitars aren't incredibly heavy throughout, but are when necessary. Mostly they are melodic and harmonious. There are several leads and even a solo amidst a deep atmosphere of unique yet relaxed chord progressions.

The bass does a pretty good job of keeping things interesting, however it does follow the drums more than it should. The Drums are incredibly well done and extremely creative. Between the four musicians very intricate and fragile songs are created. (There is also some random keyboard thrown in to good effect from time to time).

The vocals are of course spectacular as Christina fully comes into her own. Her sultry voice is both powerful and coy at the same time. Andreas vocals are cleaner than they were on 'In Reverie' but they work well. He is slightly less prominent as well.

This album is very laid back and given its intensity thats an accomplishment all by itself. The music is pure Doom Metal, where the "Gothic" tag comes from is unknown. The riffs are slow and down tempo, the lyrics are despair ridden and the vibe is killer.

Beautiful and relaxing. - 70%

Alcohol, August 19th, 2007

This is a really wonderful album, it really is. It breaks my heart to listen to knowing that the same band put out Karmacode and Comalies. What the hell happened?

Now, the first thing I'm going to say is, this album as far as I know isn't any genre of metal, and if it's metal it's not heavy at all. There's hardly any distorted guitars here, and when they are it's usually to provide background chords to add to the strength of a particular passage. The guitarwork on this album is typically Opeth style fingerpicking progressions, but far less boring. The beats are sometimes industrial sounding, like a strange mix on an electric drumkit, and also sometimes acoustic.

The clear highlight of this album though would have to be Cristina's vocals. She has pipes of gold, but doesn't flaunt them unnecessarily, which is a great trait. Her vocals here are pleasant, atmospheric, haunting, gloomy, and quite simply incredible. Her voice is just so pleasing to listen to (well it used to be, she's an annoying bitch on Karmacode). Andrea's male vocals are a bit unnecessary with Cristina in the band. Sure he's not bad, but she's just so stellar and in comparison makes him sound terrible.

The song structure on this album is also far better than their later works. The songs aren't typical chorus / verse style structures, but diverse journeys through an atmosphere of musical wonder!

There's not a tad of nu-metal on this album, it's pure gothic atmospheric rock, and it's beautiful. Definitely different and far superior to their later works. I recommend it if you like mellow shit and can appreciate beautiful female vocals. Sure it's a bit poppy, but it's quality stuff.

I liked it a lot more than I thought I would! - 83%

PowerMetalGuardian, May 11th, 2003

Well I liked this album more than I thought I would. I am not into the whole goth/gothic metal music, so I can't review this album in a gothic perspective. In fact I find this album really hard to review, because I haven't heard anything like Lacuna Coil! It's very different!

Here is my attempt to review the music! Riffs, solo's, drumming, etc. isn't noticeable. The one thing I didn't like about this album is that it isn't heavy enough. Sure there is some distortion, but not heavy enough to actually make me headbang, or want to for that matter. It kind of reminds me of Opeth, the music is based on mood, soft at some parts and heavy at others to either get you pissed off or happy!

The singing is probably the best part of this album. Cristina has a very beautiful voice, even for this style of metal! Andrea also has a very beautiful voice, that is when he is singing in clean style (which is most of his parts on this album). He does go dm style on the song 1.19 which kicks ass. The other times he sings with to much aggression, it sounds like some one smaked him on the head with a beer bottle, and now he is pissed off at you. But who would have thought, a girl and guy singer?! The greatest part about this duet, both singers blend in togther with grace!

Mood and setting, that is what this album has to offer the most! It is like a gothic poetry convention! The lyrics are deep, either graceful or full of anger. The music blends togther wonderfully, making a great sound. I would recommend it to anyone, just for a try. It's almost like those cd's to help you relax, they have all the nature sounds and storm sounds, the cd relxes the listner with its beautiful sound of melodic metal!