Century Media Records
Release: October 11, 2019
Two decades into their career, Italian metal high-flyers Lacuna Coil are still going strong. Over the last couple of years, the band released what is arguably their best album to date, “Delirium”, in 2016, the book “Nothing Stands in Our Way”, a chronicle of the band’s story, as well as the DVD “The 119 Show: Live in London” in 2018, to mark their 20 years’ anniversary. And on October 11, the band will release their ninth album, “Black Anima”, via Century Records, an album that will undoubtedly continue their reign on the metal scene. We are the Anima.
With a style that encompasses rock, gothic, metal, groove, and even traces of alternative, “Black Anima” picks off where “Delirium” left off, taking all the best aspects of the latter to a whole new level, while still being very grounded in their trademark sound. It’s a mixture of old-school European sounds and some modern metal melodies. The guitars are rumbling more than ever, the bass lines are as present and in the fore-front for a thicker sound, the sense of darkness seems deeper and more ominous than before, and the dual-vocal assault of Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro is more focused and melodic.
Sword of anger
Layers of time
Now or never
Under the surface
The end is all I can see
All these elements combined makes “Black Anima” a diverse, energetic and heavy offering. As for the title, “Black Anima”, “the two words tie together perfectly to define the concept, Anima is soul in Italian and the feeling throughout the record is dark, black so it was easy to pair the words together” says vocalist Andrea Ferro.
Despite the title, the mysterious “Anima nera” is a very sweet yet somehow dark introduction to the album. It feels like a ballad, with only Cristina’s vocals and some ominous undertones coming from a piano in the background. Very different from your standard intro track, which makes things interesting from the get-go. And from there on the surprises keep on coming. Since this is a coalescence of everything that Lacuna Coil stands for, we have some heavy cuts like “Layers of time” or “Now or never” with their industrial vibe and neat vocal juxtapositions, but also, not necessarily slower, but mid-tempo, melodic songs as “Sword of anger”, “Reckless”, and “Save me”, whose light, almost popish feel, counterbalances the overall darkness of the album.
Elsewhere on the album, we have the gothic / symphonic mix that is “Veneficium”, coupled with a Latin intro, that will remind listeners of old such accomplished band as Epica, the Delain-esque “Apocalypse” with its bouncy backing vocalizing (or maybe choirs?), hooky chorus, and amazing guitar solo, or the borderline rap section on the aforementioned “Now or never”, where Andrea’s death growls are brutal and relentless. The catchy “Under the surface” and “The end of all I can see” offers some more of the vocal juxtapositions that give not just to these songs, but also to the album, a very dynamic and robust feel, as Cristina’s light vocals play nicely off of Andrea’s deep gutturals and cleans. They have always been the backbone of Lacuna Coil’s trademark sound, and I don’t think their vocals ever shone brighter than on this record, especially “Veneficium”. The title track “Black anima” has some electronic overlays that give it a rather techno vibe, going back full circle to “Anima nera” and closing the album on a high note.
Where other bands go in a more accessible direction over time, Lacuna Coil do the exact opposite and go darker and heavier, and I can’t help but applaud this. As such “Black Anima” is a dark, intense and melancholic offering that seamlessly combines different aspects of the metal spectrum into a cohesive and fluid collection of songs, which feels both personal as well as universal. Deep emotions and hooky melodies are mixed with heavy guitars and melodic patterns to give you the ultimate metal package – an album whose lyrics speak to your heart while the music will have you headbanging in no time. Highlights of the album: “Veneficium”, “Now or never” and “Black anima”.
Rating: 9 / 10
Cristina Scabbia – Vocals
Andrea Ferro – Vocals
Marco Coti-Zelati – Bass Guitar, Keyboards & Synths
Diego Cavalotti – Guitars
Richard Meiz – Drums