REVIEW: LACUNA COIL – “Black Anima”
Some would argue metal has become stuck. That it has wavered from the path, losing many of its greatest characteristics. Becoming populated by masqueraders more in love with its brutish aesthetic rather than its pained and angry heart. Bands whose only strength lies in chugging as many notes into a riff as possible, taking over the community quicker than hipsters can take over your favorite bar. And fans are feeling it. Thankfully there are unequivocal lights in the black. Shafts of hope illuminating the soul at the center of metal’s dark matter, reminding us of what it’s all about. Infusing vulnerability with strength, anger with joy, past with the present, hinting of a way forward. ‘Black Anima,’ the upcoming new record from Lacuna Coil, does exactly that.
Having used their music to encompass, and communicate, everything from the wistfully melancholic to unbridled savage rage, ‘Black Anima’ finds Lacuna Coil going deeper again. It’s not that Lacuna Coil have divine rights on thoughts and feelings most of us would rather leave unseen, it’s more that ‘Black Anima’ views them less as dressing and opens up a vein in search of their unspoken depths. Take ‘Restless,’ which see vocalist Cristina Scabbia sing “to hell with all the innocence” and mean it, tackling the desire to indulge in things which we shouldn’t and like it. Sung against some of the band’s heaviest music to date, demonstrating the purpose and point of ‘Black Anima’ pretty close to perfect. A point made musically in several other ways. ”Anima Nera,” translated as Black Soul, beautifully ushers in the record’s opening moments with a dark, eerie lullaby that unnervingly transforms into a witch-like chant. Creating a cavernous atmosphere extending to numbers such as “Sword Of Anger” and “Apocalypse,” the latter an open invitation to let loose with its gang chants and soaring chorus hook.
Throughout ‘Black Anima,’ Lacuna Coil demonstrate their uncanny ability to masterfully harness core ingredients while pushing at the boundaries. Blending Gothic with groove, melody with brutality, the simple and the refined, the final result is richly textured and layered. Best recognized in quintessential songs such as the leading single “Layers Of Time” and single-worthy “Save Me”, as well as “Under The Surface,” which easily stand among the bands best work to date. Throughout, the characteristically juxtaposed vocals of Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro dynamically guide fans through this fresh, intense Lacuna Coil sound, carved out by bassist Marco Coti Zelati, who brilliantly produced this impressive batch of songs.
Nothing can stand still. It either grows or dies. ‘Black Anima’ sees Lacuna Coil growing as a band, looking at the less desirable, yet all too real side of the human condition. A warts and all exploration of that which lives just under the surface. Rather than grabbing metal by the scruff and shaking it, ‘Black Anima’ is steeped in a love of the genre, subtly suggesting some new pastures for growth. Which is where Lacuna Coil have always lived, setting trends rather than slavishly following them. Epic, intimate, and luxuriant, ‘Black Anima’ is a tour de force. Making metal wiser and richer for it.