When a band hits a certain level of fame, usually it gives them free reign to do whatever their innermost muse guides them to create without fear of their label dropping them. They can craft new masterpieces to guide the listener to unknown lands, and hold them there for the duration of the album’s captivating length. They can also lull the unsuspecting fan into a false sense of security before bludgeoning them to a wet, slushy pulp. In other words, no matter what the band does, it’s guaranteed that their label will back them up, as they are proven to sell like virtual gang-busters. If you’re Iron Maiden, you captivate and explore. If you’re Carcass, you bludgeon with surgical precision. If you are Italy’s Lacuna Coil, well, you release the same fucking album over and over and over. Hence, their newest exercise in creative bankruptcy and unabashed worship of all things nu-metal, Broken Crown Halo.
Opening track (and first single), “Nothing Stands in Our Way” sounds vaguely familiar, with its opening programmed synths, bouncy Korn guitars, simple drumming, and good female vocals/bad male vocals… and that would be because, well, they’ve been doing this shit to death since 2002’s superior Comalies, and it’s utilized ad nauseum et infinitum on Broken Crown Halo. There is quite literally nothing new under the roof of this beat-up Lincoln Town Car. Also, the lyrics? “Blood stained/Stock crash/Mistakes/Heart breaks/Nothing stands in our way”? Anyone else ever have their heart broken by a blood-stained stock crash? Jeeeeeeezus, guys.
And it doesn’t get much better, folks. I gave Lethe a bit of grief in a prior review about one song sounding like it could be on the Twilight Official Motion Picture Soundtrack, and yet “Die & Rise,” and its ode to lycanthropy fucking IS Twilight. “Victims” starts to sound promising, a little like a modern-day Paradise Lost, before going to shit thanks to an ill-performed spoken word part by the usually-captivating Cristina Scabbia. “Cybersleep” wins by default as it has very little of male vocalist Andrea Ferro on it.
So what are the good parts, you may ask? Well, there’s no covers at all on this record. I swear there’s an actual guitar solo in “Zombie.” Not a memorable one, but it’s a start. However, once again, Scabbia’s angelic voice is the star attraction of this band. The big problem is that she’s in the wrong group. If she and the rest of this band would step up as musicians and songwriters, this would be a much better group overall. Instead, I’m picturing what she would sound like if she were to join, say, Shores of Null as a co-vocalist to the vastly-superior-to-Ferro-in-every-conceivable-fashion, Davide Straccione.
Of course, no matter what I say, this will sell like Duck Dynasty memorabilia in the Bible Belt. It has to be said, though… if you lament what this band has become, go back and listen to Comalies and earlier for your LC fix. However, if you’re a die-hard LC completist, think Twilight is edgy, or you really really miss the songcraft of Ben Moody and Amy Lee, then… seriously, what’s wrong with you?!