Lacuna Coil // Dark Adrenaline
Rating: 1.5/5.0 —Banal.
Label: Century Media
Websites: | |
Release Dates: US: 01.24.2012 | EU: 2012.01.25

Lacuna Coil - Dark Adrenaline

Lacuna Coil is a band that I used to like pretty well. I’ve seen them live a few times and I thought they put on pretty good shows and I have a lot of respect for them as a hardworking touring band. Musically, though, I think they’ve been pretty hit and miss. While I enjoy In A Reverie, Unleashed Memories and liked a few songs off of Comalies, their modern sound has developed into something that is really quite derivative of the American “nu-metal trend” and specifically their last record Shallow Life was produced in a way that sounded exactly like Linkin Park and was entirely unlistenable to these ears. So I have to say that it was with consternation that I elected to start listening to this album in the first place. 

But it’s important to remember that Lacuna Coil has three records that I enjoy, as well, and opening track (and single) “Trip the Darkness” shows why. While male vocalist Andrea Ferro drones on in his redundancy, Cristina’s chorus parts are really fantastic and the song has hooks and grooves that are enjoyable. The production is a huge step up from the last time around, as well. While thick, it isn’t overly based on a slappy, trebly bass sound and the guitars sound chunky and meaty as hell and seem more active (hell, there’s even a guitar solo in “Against You,” when did that happen last?). I was actually very encouraged by this track because I really enjoyed it pretty well. It’s not as strong an opener as say “Swamped” was, but it certainly was listenable.

Dark Adrenaline as a whole, however, is almost binary in its character. On the one hand, there’s Cristina Scabbia who I really love, she’s got a fantastic voice, dark presence and an excellent melodic sense. Sometimes she gets this great sharp tone or even harder edge that kind of reminds me of Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs that I really dig (like on “Fire,” “Intoxicated” or “Upside Down”). Her vocals lift songs that are not particularly interesting musically with fantastic performances and beautiful melodies. Lacuna CoilThe two aforementioned tracks are examples of this, but her verse performances on the otherwise banal-as-hell “Don’t Believe In Tomorrow” offer sprinklings of color into the drab gray of the track. Without her, this band could never, ever survive.

On the other side is the ridiculously banal and irritating Andrea Ferro who is more of a disservice to the band than anything else I can think of. His melodies and performances are totally skippable. Not only that, but he seems to get stuck with the worst of the ESL and childish lyrics and some of these get super embarrassing (“I cross the line / the walk of shame / I hear the church bells through the acid rain,” though, in his defense, Cristina has her fair share of lyrics not fit to have been written by adults). Musically, the band seems to live or die with whoever is singing over them. When Cristina is singing, I forget about them, and when Andrea is singing, I can’t stop thinking about how boring they are. What they’re doing has its moments, some cool ideas, some great hooks, but a lot of the hooks feel forced (at best) and the music is simplistic as hell.

Dark Adrenaline offers you nothing you’ve never heard from Lacuna Coil before and, honestly, it does it way less convincingly than the band’s first three records. While I recognize that we’ll never get screamy vocals back and that these guys have more success now than they ever would had they continued in that vein, I can’t help but be amazed by how a band that has become so remarkably uninteresting is still so popular! While it has its good parts and tracks like “Fire,” “Intoxicated” and “Trip the Darkness,” these moments are offset by the filler, the crappy lyrics and a ridiculously terrible cover of REM‘s classic track “Losing My Religion”. If you don’t know what you’re getting into, pass on this one. If you do, well, you’ve been warned, better than the last record but .. well, not good.

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  • Such a shame. I loved Comalies.

  • This album was better than the last one, but that’s not saying much. It’s a shame that they continue to give Andrea Ferro a job, because Lacuna Coil would be a much better band if they got rid of him.

  • Anonymous

    Heard some tracks on youtube and I thought it was pretty awful. Oh well, there’s always Steelwing’s latest, “Zone of Alienation”, to cheer me up!

  • Kevin Bigda

    I would consider giving this album as high as a 3, but mostly because I just love Cristina. It’s truly unfortunate that she’s stuck with what has become such a mediocre band because she has such a distinct and outstanding style.
    I absolutely agree with some of the ridiculous lyrics and Andrea’s incredibly uninteresting vocals. I thought he worked in older albums where he was used more sparingly and sometimes used an almost black metal-ish scream.
    Honestly, I think the best track I heard off of this album was Soul Inmate. It sounded a lot like a mix between Unleashed Memories and Comalies, and the chorus was more than just Cristina and Andrea singing really loudly (which seems to comprise most of the choruses on this album).
    I think it’s time Lacuna Coil stops attempting to pander to it’s audience (darker and heavier!) and start remembering who they are and what actually made them so good in the first place.

  • OzanCan

    I want my money back! >:(

  • nate bova

    As a fan of this band since the first EP came out, I’ve heard them at their best (Unleashed Memories) and worst (KORNacode).  But honestly, I think this album is much better than people have said thus far, IMO their best since the better tunes off Comalies.  Yes, the big-time producer influence is still there….but it sounds WAY more like Lacuna Coil than anything they’ve done recently.   I am enjoying this quite a bit, but admittedly Christina has a ton to do with it (she always did).  

    As far as cover songs go – I’m not sure what their obsession with including one on most albums is (though i think their cover of “Stars” back in the day was fantastic).

    Listen, I’m not blind to the fact that their best material is behind them, but I can honestly say this record will get 100 times the spins either of the last 2 did.   As the goth/female vocal genre gets muddier and more terrible by the minute, I’m glad these guys can still put out a pretty quality release.

    • Kevin Bigda

      I completely agree and I actually started enjoying the album the more I listened to it. I was able to mostly pinpoint the only big thing that turns me off about this album and that is Andrea’s completely uninteresting vocals.

      Lacuna Coil albums (particularly old ones) have always had fantastic vocal melodies, but there’s too many moments that could be great that are completely ruined by Andrea stepping in. I wish they would shove him to the background in more of a support roll like in the first several albums.All the same, I completely agree that there best stuff is behind them, but this album actually recalls a lot of Unleashed Memories and Comalies moments. 

  • Ben

    This is EXACTLY how I felt about Dark Adrenaline.  Good, but will NEVER match up to when they were “more talented”.  I don’t necessarily mind Andrea too much.  I always thought he was part of the style.  I am more concerned with the fact that the band is changing their sound to a mundane, almost drop-d`ish, lazy sound.  I said something to this nature on her official facebook, and she got really defensive, and didn’t welcome the constructiveness at all.  She basically pinned the whole thing on me for not liking their direction.  You shouldn’t do that to your fans; ESPECIALLY the ones that have been there since the beginning.  Only true fans will call you out if they think that your band is going down the shitter.  Hopefully record sales will show that, since that seems to be all they’re about now.  Shame.

    • well,you have a point,but,in the end,artists make music for themselves,not for us particularly.

  • Cassandra Turgman

    you people are so ridiculous. who gives a shit what you guys think, you still keep buying and listening, so in the end, they win the battle. they have made music they like, and although it has changed over the years, it remains true to their roots. andrea is a great part of the band, he gives them the edge that no other band has. this review isn’t written very well. terrible cover of REM? how is it so terrible? i thought it was great! it was different, they didn’t copy the song’s style at all and made it their own. childish lyrics? haha, oh god. reviewers are terrible! just give up and go do something else that isn’t criticizing people’s work. if bands stay the same copy as they were 10 years ago, what the hell is the point? accept good, new things and move on.

    peace out.

  • Terminus77

    I see Dark Adrenaline as a step in the right direction for Lacuna Coil. Clearly Karmacode and Shallow Life were attempts at expanding their fanbase which fell flat to their core audience. That being said, many bands experiment and try to capture the attention of more mainstream audiences and in the process lose some of the uniqueness which made them relevant to begin with. I’ve never spoken to anyone who didn’t like Comalies and earlier work. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with trying to make some money. It’s a hard life and when you work as hard as they do, it’s amazing they were able to come to grips with what was going wrong for nearly 10 years, and produce an album which in my opinion is quite good. DA is full of emotion and it definitely has the type of energy that I want to hear from them. The lyrics are just imagery to convey the emotion in the music. If you want to get some king of intellectual revelations out of your music, look elsewhere… They deserve a wider audience and this is the type of album that could do just that and get people to listen to the earlier work to appreciate how amazing they really are. I saw them in San Antonio with Within Temptation and it was an amazing show which had people that had never heard them buying t-shirts and cds. They don’t have the machine behind them as WT does, but they held up quite well; and WT is a sensational act.

  • I really, really want to love Lacuna Coil, but boy, are they making that a tough task!

  • Tony Morrill

    I really really want to love this band but WHY do they have to ruin Cristina’s amazing vocals with Ferro’s off-key noise? They DO NOT NEED HIM near a microphone, or at ALL for that matter.

    Who cares that he was there first… I’m begging the band! Please dump Andrea Ferro!! I will buy every song you make once he is gone!!