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Nude gothic metal - 74%

gasmask_colostomy, November 29th, 2014

I just have to note this before I start: if you have a very attractive singer, then it is in all cases a good idea for her to appear naked and painted gold on the album artwork. I'm not such a good judge of male beauty, but Andrea Ferro sitting beside Cristina Scabbia is for the best I guess, and all in the name of equality! (...or something)

Anyway, Lacuna Coil are one those bands that I ceased to care about a long time ago, yet I don't think they are any worse than when I was a fan. I must say that for a band who popularised their sound to a large degree later in their career (we're talking post-'Comalies'), this debut album was made of remarkably good songs. Perhaps the first clue is that there's only 9 of them. It's a really good sign when a band with a slightly accessible sound doesn't worry about making a commercial album and just focuses on the thing that will actually bring them success - good songs. And without a doubt, 'In a Reverie' contains the strongest songs of Lacuna Coil's career.

The opening pair provide maybe the best advert for gothic metal that I've come across. Neither are puny in their heaviness or ambition: 'Circle' is riff-centred and driving and milks its great chorus line for all that it's worth, while 'Stately Lover' is slower and romantic, with nice guitar melodies throughout the song and a lot of storytelling power that shows off the male/female vocals in their best light. The rest of the album is strong, but can't quite maintain the high standard. There are a few lame vocals parts ('Honeymoon Suite') and the drifting, reflective nature of the album works against it slightly, since there is a lack of excitement and momentum in the second half, though the melodies are still decent. Basically, the album blows its load of heaviness early on and it doesn't return until the title track. My songwriting complaints then are a lack of heaviness and repetition.

However, 'To Myself I Turned' shows that the band can go slow and soft (mostly clean guitars, few drums) without losing any appeal. The Meditarranean guitars that weave throughout the verses are really something special and Scabbia's chorus line is one of the most curious I've ever heard. The lyrics are merely "As you see, I'm the only survivor in this land", but for years I thought it was just a melody or maybe a line in Italian, and that didn't stop me singing along with it and admiring the gorgeous flow of notes.

The instrumentalists are somewhat overshadowed by the strong presence of the dual vocalists, but there are some brilliant moments of individual skill that stand out. The quiet parts of 'Cold' give the bass a chance to flex its sinuous limbs, spreading out in a wide groove before Cristiano Migliore signs off a flowing melodic break that is utterly ripple free. I feel like the drums could have made the album a little more interesting, but again they aren't lacking merit, changing things up enough not to be pointless. The real draw though, is the guitar melodies, which sound like a less miserable Sentenced with a lot of time on their hands: they back the vocals very well and maintain an atmosphere that would be sorely lacking on later albums.

All in all, the best album from a decent gothic rock band, with good songwriting, pleasant melodies, and dominant vocal storytelling. It lacks a bit of punch, but fans of everyone from Opeth to Evanescence can find something to enjoy.

Pseudo-Aggressive Gothic - 89%

HanSathanas, May 28th, 2014

I think I’ve mentioned somewhere in my review for one of the albums by Lacuna Coil that I first got acquainted with this band after listening to Century Media’s Darkness We Feel compilation. That short but memorable introduction sets off my curiosity in full motion on all things Lacuna Coil. They are not that impressive to say the least but their music is beautiful enough to keep me interested for another listens. Well at least during the early days Lacuna Coil sound hell a lot better than what they are today.

This debut record shows significant overall progress compared to their single ‘Shallow End’ or the eponymous EP. From the very opening track “Circle”, Cristina Scabbia exhales some of the most enchanting yet powerful melodious air of noticeable talent. Yes. She is gifted with quite a decent vocal that fits for this type of music that borders between metal and rock. Instruments wise, there is nothing remarkably outstanding except for the fact that band members use quite one-dimensional approach to their sound in general.

Thankfully, Lacuna Coil are able to add some spices to their offering, employing decent amount acoustic plucking. For a young band from Italy to play in this style, it may not really take much to create a fairly standard Gothic art. However, the music proves otherwise. There is a lot left to be desired on this album except for Andrea Ferro’s minimally interesting vocal performance. Still, I feel his singing and pseudo-grunt make up for the backdrop in a much larger picture, a picture that is painted by Cristina’s highly oxygenated pair of lungs. Being a long time of Lacuna, it is sad to see that the band finally fall flat on their asses just like other metal acts that favored radio friendly singles instead of focusing on creating memorable, meaningful Gothic metal music.

The vibrant production allows enough room for each member to breathe in life to their weapons. Drums are quite in the mix, so do the cymbals and the guitars. Both however refused to overpower each other. Both eschew the egoistic need to take the center stage. Everyone is on top of their game here, which is a plus as well. Guest keyboards are performed by Waldemar Sorychta who has hell a long list of duties throughout his musical career. Maybe I need to clean my ears but I do not actually listen to any noticeable presence of keyboards on this album. The primary instruments are so powerful that keyboard got quickly drowned by the enthralling cacophony. Well, that again is good thing for me because a lot of purists tend to assault Gothic as mere faggotry driven by nothing but excessively cheesy keyboards to cover up band members’ lack of talents. Again, this record is not entirely keyboard driven. As I said, I am not sure where the keyboards are.

Most tracks are good and memorable. Decent performance not without flaws but still better than Lacuna Coil that we know today. Each song provokes visual hallucinations to those who can actually appreciate minimal but in-depth works of art. An overall enjoyable release by Lacuna Coil that incorporated hard rock elements into their Gothic outlook. If you like straightforward, fuss-free, simplistic approach to Gothic metal / rock, go and buy this full length.

Track highlights? None in particular. Each song is good enough for repeated listens. Still interesting after all these years which means the band had invested all their best to produce this decent record.

Cristina & Co. step things up - 84%

Liquid_Braino, February 28th, 2012

By 1999 I had temporarily lost almost all interest in metal music. After well over a decade of enjoying everything the genre had to offer, I was finally spent. Without yet discovering the merits of Napster and such, it was just too much of a hardship to pay import prices on CDs based on a good review from a magazine or a cool album cover graced with some Lovecraftian landscape. The scene itself felt saturated by rap-metal on the mainstream side of things and bloated symphonic black metal bands on the more extreme side of metal. There was some good underground stuff out there for sure, but I didn’t have the time or resources to explore, eventually discover hidden gems and drop a good twenty five dollars for each of them. Thanks to my goth-crazed sister I was given In A Reverie as a birthday present. It was the only metal album I obtained that year.

After hearing the rest of their catalog years later, in retrospect In A Reverie was a huge step up from their self-titled EP, and arguably the most adventurous full length recording of their career. Besides Cristina’s quality pipes, the first thing that grabbed my attention was the subtle embellishments that fleshed out these songs; things like the acoustic sounding note-picking twiddling away in the background of the opening track or the jazzy drum fills peppering “Stately Lover”. These little additives made all the difference to my ears and gave each song an identity of its own. Although one can consider the production a product of its time, it works perfectly for this particular brand of gothic metal. The guitars have some rawness to them and the vocals have just enough reverb to give Cristina that somewhat ‘ghostly’ effect that’s almost a necessity to captivate the right audience. The drums are mixed exceptionally well, not overbearing but reasonably clear with a nice low end rumble when double-bass drumming occasionally stops by for a quick wave.

Unequivocally the foremost reason I tend to find this LP to be their most entertaining is due to the higher level of overall variety amongst these tunes. “My Wings” remains one of their most energetic creations, and bests everything from their previous release by a long shot. Cristina’s sense of melody is an outstanding aspect of the band on tracks like this and Veins Of Glass with its memorable chorus. “To Myself I Turned” is a goth ballad in the truest sense of the word with a ‘doomy’ chord progression during the chorus and a general melancholy aesthetic. Then there’s probably my personal favorite track, “Stately Lover” which has prog rock leanings thanks to its swinging and constantly evolving time signatures. Another number, “Cold”, sports a pretty tasteful little guitar solo, and it surprises me that more weren’t sprinkled here and there throughout the album. Finally, "Falling Again" is a revamped and improved version of their debut Ep's "Falling" thanks to added guitars and percussion.

I’m not going to say I flat out love this album even with its nostalgia value of my years spent in Toronto, pleasing amalgamation of 90’s style goth rock (think Nosferatu) and metal, or Cristina’s assets to provide some sort of visual suggestion to complement the audio experience. Male vocalist Andrea still ranges from tolerable to hilarious with his “James Hetfield in a cape” intonations and a studded codpiece-donning gusto. At least his usage here is diminished to a mere supporting role. The title track, though ambitious in its length, feels stretched out and unfortunately doesn’t resonate with any interesting feature for myself to latch onto.

I have to admit that it’s a bit hard for me not to inflate In A Reverie's worth considering that it was one of the relatively few pieces of new music I received during a particularly noteworthy year, thus I gave the album enough spins for it to become the soundtrack to my existence regarding 1999’s latter half. Still, it’s only fair that I’m judging it on the basis of the compositions only, and not because hearing these songs conjures up memories of nutty brown ale, Asian women and three dollar sausages sold on a sidewalk outside of Ryerson University. There are certainly worse discrepancies than allowing personal history to affect an album’s rating scale, but I doubt anyone besides me fondly remembers devouring cheap sausages on a streetcorner whenever Cristina Scabbia mournfully wails “as you see I’m the only survivor in this land!” With that in mind, although there’s now such a vast array of music available at my fingertips that I may never get unusually attached to a singular output again, Lacuna Coil’s In A Reverie still holds up as one of the better representatives of the more accessible side of gothic metal, and I recommend it for fans of that style.

Arguably the Band's Strongest Work - 95%

andre10, August 13th, 2010

Lacuna Coil's initial self-titled EP, while showing some promising ideas, lacked polish and was somewhat scattered in it's presentation. However, this changed with the release of their first full length album, In A Reverie.

This album contains all the hallmarks of what Lacuna Coil has traditionally been associated with: poetic lyricism, ethereal and atmospheric effects created through interesting experimentation with guitars, and the beauty and the beast vocals from Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro. Interestingly enough, for a band that is considered to be one of the major bands of gothic metal, their is surprisingly little of the aggression often associated with general metal. This album definitely leans more to the "Gothic" portion of gothic metal.

The album is quite good from start to finish. Circle, the opening track, probably best epitomizes the sound of this band, combining the wistful and keening vocals from Cristina with a fairly unhappy, yet poetic, lyrics about being trapped in a spiral of regret. Stately Love, despite its title, is actually one of the most aggressive tracks on the album. Honeymoon Suit is one of the best tracks on the album, and it makes the best use of the dual vocalists to convey two sides of a broken relationship. My Wings is the most uptempo song on the album, but their are some lyrics in the this one ("Butterflys are flying right beside me"?) that might be off-putting to some. To Myself I Turned makes wonderful use of the unreliable narrator technique to create one of the more thoughtful tracks on the album. Cold is probably the song that would best fit in a literal definition of "Gothic Metal", as it is fairly aggressive while simultaneously describing the merciless ruining of another's life. Reverie, the titular track, is the most wistful and gothic song on the album, describing an infatuation that can only be fulfilled in the narrators dreams. Veins of Glass is the only weak track on the album, with rather weak and repetitive lyrics and song structure. The album closes with Falling Again, a redone version of a song that was on the band's initial EP, and ends the album on a high note.

When all is said and done this was a hell of a debut for Lacuna Coil. This album has all the polish and presentation that was lacking on their EP, while still retaining the style and lyricism that makes the band standout. Even after releasing another 4 albums, this is arguably the best work, and a good listen for anyone who is a fan of gothic metal.

Doomalicious! (well almost) - 90%

grimdoom, May 31st, 2008

The first full length by Italy’s favorite international Metal-heads is a mixed bag of good and bad. It’s apparent that the loss of the founding guitarists and change of direction was something that they struggled with on this recording but over all, it’s not that bad.

The production is what you expect from a Century Media act that the label was unsure of. This is Doom Metal pure and simple. The guitars have a slow and depressed feel to them. There are several leads and one solo. The guitars are mostly open chorded and they have a fair amount of dirge and darkness.

The bass is follows the guitars far too much, thankfully this would change on later releases. The drums are creative and fairly original. They are one of the standouts on this album.

The vocals are well done and a display the “beauty and the beast” style as good as any at the time. Andrea’s vocals are at their deathliest on this album. Its shame that he stopped utilizing them so early on in the bands career. Christina’s vocals are excellent as always, but she is still clearly trying to find her voice on this album.

Musically there are some very good ideas on this CD. This is a very original piece of music that no one can argue with. The down side to this CD is that it’s incredibly repetitive and lacks the maturity that would come on the following release. A lot of the riffs sound “local” as if played by the garage band down the street. One must wonder if this would have turned out differently had they spent more time on it.

Aside from the flaws on this recording it’s still a very good album and worth owning. It shows the band going from straight up Gothic Metal to straight up Doom Metal.

Good album, lacking effort - 80%

DL_Alexithymia, July 21st, 2007

Lacuna Coil has always been one of my favorite groups. Needless to say, they hardly focus on virtuoso musicianship, complex and intricate songwriting, or being a heavy band in general. However, they are still quite enjoyable.

Their '97 self-titled EP was a bit shaky, but 'In a Reverie' was when I would like to believe they got on the right track [their best effort in my opinion being 'Unleashed Memories.'] And as I said, even though they don't focus on complex songwriting, this 9-track album includes some of their most interesting songs to date.

Their music at this time was much more doom-influenced, easily heard in the electric guitar riffs, and much in the vein of The Gathering [who they even toured with occasionally at the time]. They can be called gothic metal, who many will argue with due to their contrast with other such female-fronted gothic acts as Tristania or Theatre of Tragedy.

Overall, every song is quite nice, much like the one that came before it. My greatest dislike with this album is it's [as the title states] lack of effort. If you were to cut out every repeat of a vocal line from each of the songs, each one would probably hardly span over a minute and a half. Not only is this repetitive, but with each repeat, there is abslutely no difference from the last time you heard it. When I first heard "Cold," I could have sworn that it was the same minute and a half on repeat with some different riffs thrown in in between. And don't be fooled by the length of the track "Reverie" -- it repeats the same 2-minute long song twice, then with a bridge and long outro.

Lacuna Coil's never been known for their amazing musicianship, either. The guitars and percussion are overall fairly simple, yet manage to keep your attention. As for vocals, we have the dual voices of Cristina and Andrea, Cristina's vocals being much more bearable. Cristina still doesn't use her voice to her advantage on this album, the only highlights being during the verses of "Stately Lover" and parts of "Reverie."

Aside from Lacuna Coil's repetitive and lazy nature with this, that will most likely forever plague their music, the songs *are* quite good. Some of them even include some Mediterranean sounds -- "My Wings" being the highlight. In others, you can clearly hear much more of a metal sound -- mainly heard in the guitars -- such as "Stately Lover" and "Reverie."

The two very stand-out tracks for this album would have to be "To Myself I Turned" and "Falling Again." "To Myself I Turned" is very much so in the vein of a ballad, with a driving chorus including some interesting voice-layering. Needless to say, it's one of the more interesting songs being offered, with some semi-interesting lyrics that Cristina compares to seperating in a relationship. "Falling Again" is indeed a redo of the song "Falling" off of their '97 self-titled EP. Apparently, their former band members insisted it be an all-acoustic song, and after they left, Lacuna decided to do it again the way they wanted. The only difference from the '97 version is a few lyric changes, some electronic drums [and actual drums] and background synths, and electric guitars. The song is a great close to the album.

So, if you're looking for some enjoyable light gothic metal with some pretty female vocals and a cool-sounding vocal line or riff every once and a while, this album is for you. However, if you're looking for something much more intricate, heavy, or perhaps you have Attention Deficit Disorder, this album is probably NOT for you. All in all, this album would have probably earned at least an 87% from me if Lacuna Coil actually got over their constant laziness and put more meat into their songs.

BORING - 55%

Symphony_Of_Terror, March 24th, 2004

This is one of those albums that...if you here the few good songs on the album, you will buy it. WARNING: there are a few good songs here that will make you want to buy the album if you hear it, but the rest are boring! Do not buy. The album reaches some great points...then fades away into boringness.

Basically, we have Falling again, To Myself I Turned, and My Wings which make up the good songs of the lot. These 3 tracks all have the same thing, gothic metal instrumental playing to support some nice and powerful vocals. Cristina has does do some nice vocal work here...its almost trance like, very emotional at times. As for the instruments, like I said they support the vocals, but when there are no vocals, on these 3 tracks they manage to be enjoyable, but they just make you want to here the vocals again.

For the rest of the songs, they are boring, and that includes the vocals. The instruments continiously fail to produce anything but pure boringness. There are no riffs that are good, there isn't any good guitar work at all. The drums are slow and out of place. I think I heard a bass in the album somewhere. Listening to this album is like listening to something unispired. It seems like on the good tracks the band had great inspiration drawing on their emotions to produce deep and moving music. The rest of the time they just needed 6 tracks to finish off the album so they produced medeocre boring songs.

The ep before this album is much better as in Unleashed Memories, ignore this mistake and just assume the band needed time to develope their skills. Get their other records before this one (don't get this one at all really).