Lacuna Coil – Shallow Life (2009, Century Media)
- I Won’t Tell You
- Not Enough
- I’m Not Afraid
- I Like It
- The Pain
- Wide Awake
- The Maze
- Shallow Life
Cristina Scabbia – vocals
Andrea Ferro – vocals
Cristiano “Pizza” Migliore – guitar
Marco “Maus” Biazzi – guitar
Marco Coti Zelati – bass, keyboards
Cristiano “Criz” Mozzati – drums, percussion
Producer: Don Gilmore
Total Time = 44:05
Lacuna Coil took the lead in the Gothic Metal genre when they released 2002’s COMALIES, an album that fused Cristina Scabbia’s beautiful melodic vocals with heavy guitars and double bass drumming to create a new standard. The follow-up, KARMACODE (2006), offered more of the same but added a Middle Eastern flavor to the music, making the overall album unique. Now we are in 2009 and female fronted Gothic Metal bands are popping up all over the globe. Some of these bands are not as polished as Lacuna Coil, and some are just not as good, but it’s safe to say that there is plenty of competition from bands like Leaves’ Eyes, Epica, Sirenia, Temujin and Nightwish. So has Lacuna Coil offered us anything new?
The focus again falls solely at the beautiful voice of Scabbia, tha band’s main assest. Her vocals are melodic and beautiful with plenty of range and she is also serves as the band’s main image in the press. There is no problem with her as she is one of the premier female vocalists in Metal. What I do find troubling is that the band basically gave us more of the same, kind of like a COMALIES Part 2. There really isn’t anything to set SHALLOW LIFE apart from previous albums like there was on KARMACODE. That doesn’t mean SHALLOW LIFE is a bad album, on the contrary, it’s very good…..it’s just boring…..I’ve heard it all before. Most of the songs sound basically the same: the same tempo, the same effects, the vocal trade-offs with male lead Andrea Ferro, the same guitar tone. There really isn’t anything to set this apart from their more popular mainstream counterparts Evanescence.
I’ve been a fan of Lacuna Coil’s since they released their self-titled E.P. back in 1998 and the thing I’ve liked the most is that they have stayed ahead of their contemporaries/peers by enhancing their sound with every release. Their progression as a band has followed hand in hand with their success and they have the reputation of being better than their mainstream rivals. Unfortunately, I think the band has regressed on this new album. There really isn’t anything that sets the new music apart from previous efforts and the songs start to sound the same after a while. SHALLOW LIFE is still a good album but I consider it a disappoinment when I listen back to KARMACODE, there is no progression and no new twists and turns to the overall sound. I don’t consider this to be a bad album, more of a disappointment, the sound is too commercial and uninventive. With other bands in the genre experimenting with their sound, Lacuna Coil is in danger of becoming middle of the pack.
Everything really sounds the same here but if I had to pick a couple I’d say ‘Survive’, ‘Spellbound’ and ‘Shallow Life’.