Lacuna Coil - Karmacode review
|Release date:||April 2006|
02. To The Edge
03. Our Truth
04. Within Me
06. You Create
07. What I See
08. Fragments Of Faith
10. In Visible Light
11. The Game
12. Without Fear
13. Enjoy The Silence [Depeche Mode cover]
Lacuna Coil…who remembers this mellow and shy young band releasing their first EP when they had barely any exposure in their home country? Anyone? Well, I'm sorry, I guess Lacuna Coil only stands for a mainstream Nu Metal band known for the attributes of its lead singer now. It's disappointing to verify that this is the current reality, but here it is, the so awaited fourth album by one of the most successful Italian bands of the moment is out and they do nothing to change that. And here I am, reviewing it, after a wannabe Gothic Evanescence/HIM fan friend of mine tells me their second album has leaked on the internet. "Thanks," I replied, "I've been waiting for it since their "Comalies" debut." What more could I say?
No matter what, four years is definitely a long time, and I still consider myself a fan of their music, which is, after all, what really matters. It was almost a given fact that a new "In A Reverie" was out of question, the tendency has been to update the sound with more alternative or, if you prefer, modern influences, and, if "Comalies" was already too much for some to handle, "Karmacode," let me tell you, goes even further. Actually, Cristina Scabbia has always said she was a fan of such music and her taste for bands like Korn is well known, so this really comes as a natural evolution at long announced, even on a musical level, a 50-50 Gothic/Nu mix that is not as absurd as some make it out to be, and that is displayed with great confidence here.
What has stayed from "Comalies" are, most notably, the structures. Start with one of the strongest songs, a more catchy and single-like comes close, a melancholic and slow is fourth, the sixth is an instrumental introduction to a heavy seventh, several different ones follow until it's all over in an emotional, partially Italian spoken, closing. All in all, the only thing "Karmacode" loses here is a solid bounds-breaking track like "Angel's Punishment" which was one of my favourites on "Comalies," to be honest. But by structures I'm also talking about the songs themselves. "What I See" is "Tight Rope" with new clothes, "Without Fear" and "Comalies" could go on the street and be called twins by one of those old women that keep on trying to talk to you about their grandchildren at the bus stop. Yes, this point might be arguable because there's not much to invent here, but you just can't help noticing the pattern.
Being genre and songwritting the departure points for any album, the rest are mostly technical differences that come with them. The guitars are downtuned to a new level in Lacuna Coil, the drums lost that natural sound, the bass is even more surprisingly close to Korn than what I was expecting, the keyboards could have been made as samples, and the production doesn't allow any kind of clear atmosphere to be developed. I was, however, surprised with Andrea Ferro's small role; Scabbia clearly dominates and she's still in great shape.
Yet, despite all this, I can't dislike "Karmacode." Of course that I also don't mind any of the genres present in it, and that surely is a major point, but it seems that Lacuna Coil will still manage to get most of their fan's attention. It's really not hard to like songs such as "To The Edge," "In Visible Light" or "Within Me" - this last being the only that would fit in any of their previous works, it's sad, simple, mostly acoustic centred, with few focus on the guitars - because they still partially capture a lot of that laid back Gothic Metal essence that made Lacuna Coil so appealing in "Unleashed Memories," for example.
To me, in the end, where the album loses some points is in the one simplest point of all: inspiration. After "What I See" it's mostly fillers. "Fragments Of Faith," "Closer," and "The Game" did nothing for me, they are average, with nothing interesting to grab your attention. Considering everything, I think that that's what ends up being frustrating here, not that they changed style or that they are bigger, that's only in our heads, but that I can't listen to this from start to finish because they didn't focus enough, and now I have to press the "next song" button, something I never do when listening their other full lengths.
When all is said, "Karmacode" is not bad, but it is still Lacuna Coil's worst to date, and for the wrong and most unexpected reason. At home I have a shelf with my favourite records and a single tall pile next to it for the more average ones I get. "Karmacode" is not very far from the top of the pile, but I also don't know if I'll have the patience to lift the ones above it many times. And when I have "In A Reverie," "Unleashed Memories," and "Comalies" so conveniently laced in the shelf… well, the choice gets easy.
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