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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Lacuna Coil

Comalies

Review by Gary Hill

Comalies is the third full-length album from the Italian Lacuna Coil. As on their other releases the band combine metal, Goth and pop with a sense of layering and style that is impeccable. The combination of two lead vocalists - one female (Cristina Scabbia) and one male (Andrea Ferro) works remarkably well. Of course the fact that Scabbia has one of the most incredible female voices in the business doesn't hurt. The band is very creative, and this disc certainly serves to entertain. The only complaint is that there is a certain format to the song structure of much of the material. Although they get creative on the arrangements and texturing, they seem to take too few chances with the actual writing of the material, and this tends to cause a lot of it to feel the same. Still, they are a great band with some awesome sounds, and more of that can't be half-bad.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2004 Year Book Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Swamped
With an intro that feels a little psychedelic, a lot dark and backwards tracked, as the cut shifts gear the first vocals soar out in a rousing chorus. It drops to an almost rap-metal texture for the verse, then alternates between these modes to make up the cut. The backwards sounds return to end this one.
Heaven's A Lie
Piano starts this, but quickly the band join in. As the intro reaches its most frantic it's in the form of a symphonic metal number. This drops back to a sparser arrangement for the verse, but then moves back upward as it goes into the chorus. This one even includes an awesome neo-classically-oriented segment as a brief interlude.
Daylight Dancer
Feeling at first like a music box, as the first verse runs through, it's in a stripped down metal version, but almost immediately after the layering kicks in heavily. This band really knows how to weave an intricate tapestry of sound that works like a charm. It includes a progish complex movement that then leads to a mellower leaning segment for a time.
Humane
Keys start this one and carry it forward for a while. Eventually a great groove comes out of this to rock forward. This one doesn't wander far, but is a great rocker in the Lacuna Coil tradition.
Self Deception
This one is a rather frantic metal cut. It gets a little generic and seems below the ability of the group.
Aeon
Starting with a cool mellower riff, the group start an echoey building overtop, almost feeling like a jam band. This gives way to a weird start and stop section that drops to a mellower verse. This is very prog rock oriented, actually feeling a bit like Renaissance at times. It doesn't stick around, though, giving way to some strange looping. This cut is less than two minutes long, and that looping takes it into the next number.
Tight Rope
The loops that ended "Aeon" begin this one, and the band stomps out from there in a great Goth prog metal approach. This ends with looping as it began.
The Ghost Woman and the Hunter
The backwards tracking shows up again to start this one, guitar eventually joining this texture to continue the building. As this intro ends, a fairly sparse arrangement consisting mostly of Cristina Scabbia's vocals over percussion takes over. As the chorus kicks in, so does the intensity, the band ramping up the power rather than changing up the music. After this it reverts back down. This includes a cool section where Christina sings over loops of her own voice, providing her own accompaniment - how cool.
Unspoken
A rather basic rocker, this one is not all that special. Still, Lacuna Coil manages to pack in enough interesting items to make any arrangement work pretty well.
Entwined
Starting with just vocals and keys, a hard-edged guitar punctuates this before the piece moves forward in an almost prog ballad form. The group work on this theme after a time, expanding and intensifying it.
The Prophet Said
This one comes in feeling like frantic classic Queensryche. After the intro it cuts to a more stripped down and heavy progression. This one is a driving fast paced killer rocker.
Angel's Punishment
Coming in with dramatic mellower tones, hints of heavy sounds appear, but the cut doesn't explode as it feels like it might. Instead a fast paced technoish pattern serves as the backdrop for spoken words much in the vein of Otep or My Ruin. The cut bursts out into death metal fury for the chorus, but drops back to its origins afterward. An ambient section with lots of "slice of life" sound bites shows up later before the band burst into another smoking chorus. Industrial ambience ends this.
Comalies
A fairly pretty mellower tone starts this, then the band fire out into a smoking melodic prog metal stomp. They drop it back to the more sedate for the verse. The arrangement on this one gets pretty lush at times, and they manage to heavy it up from time to time.
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