Lacuna Coil - Dark Adrenaline
Lacuna Coil have had a strange and, some might say, disappointing musical progression (in the loosest possible sense) since coming to prominence, with their last couple of albums showing an alarming move towards commercial blandness and creative stagnation while Cristina Scabbia's sultry sex appeal adornes magazine covers and posters on the barest of pretences. Thankfully, sixth album Dark Adrenaline bucks the trend and sees the band crafting a record full of gothic elegance and melodious magic and whilst it still fails to reach the lofty heights attained by Comalies, it is at last a record older fans can again get their teeth into.
Lead single and opening track 'Trip The Darkness' sets the tone as the hard-edged verse dances a duel with the infectious chorus, showing off both Lacuna Coil's darker, heavier side better than in recent memory, and Scabbia's spine-tingling vocal acrobatics. And they just keep coming, as 'Against You' and 'I Don't Believe In Tomorrow' are equally as pleasing to both the metalhead and pop fan within. The likes of 'Upside Down' show that they haven't quite given up the worship of Korn that has so marred recent work, but given that they often do it better than many of that ilk, it becomes a minor quibble.
One horrible black spot blights the entire album: a truly atrocious cover of R.E.M.'s 'Losing My Religion'. Speaking as someone deeply in love with the song, this version is nothing short of an utter tragedy as Lacuna Coil turn it into some sort of 80s synth-pop travesty, with a few distorted guitars thrown in, completely sucking out the pain, anguish and personal torment poured into the original. At least with their cover of 'Enjoy The Silence' it started out this way, but here they go too far. Album highlight 'Intoxicated', with Ms Scabbia seemingly doing her best Anneke van Giersbergen impression, and the driving 'Fire' distract with their ample charms. The last dance of 'My Spirit' sees the band in a wonderfully dark and introspective mood, a sombre yet uplifting song with a foreboding sense of finality.
Despite the rather large blip in proceedings, Dark Adrenaline is a very welcome return to form for a band whose musical credentials have oft been overlooked in the face of photogenic pleasures - the shot in the arm Lacuna Coil and their fans needed.