Lacuna Coil – Dark Adrenaline

February 8, 2012 in Reviews by blackwindmetal

Lacuna Coil
Dark Adrenaline

Undoubtedly one of Italy’s biggest exports along with olive oil and pizza, alternative metalers Lacuna Coil have long been one of the biggest names on the scene, as well as the darlings of their label, Century Media Records.  Dark Adrenaline is their seventh full-length release since In A Reverie in 1999, and their discography also includes two EPs.  They’ve been around forever!

To say that their previous album, 2009’s Shallow Life, was a disappointment would be an understatement.  It followed up the relatively milquetoast Karmacode, which itself followed up what I consider to be LC’s musical triumph, Comalies.  Yes, I am of the belief that LC peaked musically in 2002 when Comalies came out and offered us crushingly awesome songs like “Heaven’s A Lie” and “Swamped.”  I do not want to speculate about what happened after Comalies; there really is no point.  But as a long-time fan, I am comfortable positing that Lacuna Coil has been a band in decline since that release.  And what a damn shame.

But I don’t want to turn this into a polemic, so I’ll try to stick to the subject at hand, which is Dark Adrenaline, released on January 24th.

The short story: it’s not bad.  In fact, it’s better than Shallow Life.  It’s heavier and darker for sure.  I don’t think it’s anywhere near as bad as this reviewer thinks, though I do understand his points.  It’s not exactly the most exciting record I’ve heard or reviewed lately, but I’ve heard and reviewed worse in recent weeks, too. Cristina sounds incredible as usual; she’ll be 40 in June and she sounds just as dynamic and powerful as she did 10 years ago.  Same with Andrea Ferro.  The talent of this band is still obvious.

It’s just that their overall product now seems relatively uninspired compared to their pre-Karmacode days. While Dark Adrenaline didn’t make me want to cry the way Shallow Life did, it was rather sigh-inducing because once again we have fairly simplistic song structures combined with lyrics that don’t really have much edge or meat to them.  Lacuna Coil used to have great lyrics; look at “Heaven’s Aa Lie”, or look even farther back to In A Reverie and the song, my all-time favourite by the band, “To Myself I Turned.”  There seems to be a lot less thoughtfulness now.  From the album’s first single, “Trip The Darkness:”

What a day
I can barely keep my eyes wide open
I don’t wanna see straight
What a day
Feels like my breath is heavy again
And I’m totally faded

Come to me
Come to me
I am waiting for you
Come to me
I can’t wait

Follow me, follow me
As I trip the darkness
One more time
Follow me, follow me
I awake from madness
Just in time

Compared to “To Myself I Turned:”

I was born in another world
Strictly connected to a piece of my mind
Nothing more than a little land
It is a small cradle where I’m a kid
I am the princess in there,
Nothing wrong in my fantasy world

I am the king, the nation,
No dictators or religions
No laws laid down for me
I have my own liberty inside of me
Nothing to lose, I want to live here

As you see I’m the only survivor in this land…

There are 12 tracks on Dark Adrenaline.  One of them is a cover of REM’s “Losing My Religion.”  I remember this song from when I was…younger.  After the bands cover of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy The Silence“, I was curious about this REM cover because the reviewer I linked to above totally trashed it.  Unfortunately, he has a point.  Lacuna Coil completely stripped the song of any of its emotion, it’s sense of desolation, and turned it into something relatively emotionless and lacking in resonance.

Lacuna Coil is a lot like Sirenia, in my mind.  Both once paragons of their genre, at one point both of them shifted focus and started to turn out more mediocre material, trying to, perhaps, attract a younger, less discerning crowd of fans, or perhaps bowing to the pressure of money-hungry record executives who need a sure winner for the good old bottom line.  Whatever the case, it’s the end product that suffers.

In the end, Dark Adrenaline definitely improves upon Shallow Life, but I don’t think it’ll go down in history as anything particularly remarkable in Lacuna Coil’s discography.

Allyson’s Rating: 2.75 out of 5