Friday, May 18, 2012

Dark Adrenaline | Lacuna Coil

Last January, Lacuna Coil released their sixth studio album, Dark Adrenaline. Though I adore many bands associated with this band, Lacuna Coil's work has been a bit hit-and-miss for me, but I was still curious to see what they had in store (especially considering how cool the album's title sounds).

"Trip the Darkness" is the first track as well as the first single, and I loved it. Though it starts out almost electronically, the sound doesn't take long to explode into your ears. Both of their singers take important parts within the song. In this track, Andrea takes the verses but Cristina takes the chorus, nearly chanting, "Follow me, follow me..." At this point, I like the direction the band has taken.

The second song is called "Against Me," and the eerie intro leads into heavy guitar riffs. Cristina's voice is colder in the verses, reminding me a bit of Aya from the band Unsun. Unlike the last track, Andrea sings the chorus, and he's at his best. Though the verses are dark, the chorus feels lighter, like rocking out in the summer. For this reason, this part of the song feels nostalgic to me. But, it's followed by an epic bridge that features a cool guitar solo; completely fresh to my ears. Despite the guitars start to lead the song to a strong end, the song includes a string part in its last seconds. A very worthy listen.

Next comes "Kill the Light," a song that's sure to get a live crowd jumping as it is both relatively catchy and heavy. It's not what I would consider a masterpiece or anything, but it's not bad. "Give Me Something More" follows, and it's much more mellow than the rest of the album at first, but the guitars and memorable drums kick in once the chorus comes and don't go away. Cristina's vowels are a bit wide in the bridge, but, it still isn't a bad song since that's my only complaint.

"Upsidedown" begins with guitar bits that will shuffle from one speaker to the other - an effect I've always loved. Andrea's vocals in the verses aren't the best sounding since they're completely frantic, and they're blown away by Cristina's amazing chorus. The bridge has a guitar solo before it leads into the final section, where Andrea and Cristina seem to unite. I liked this one much more than the previous two.

Just when you think the tempo slows down in "End of Time," guitars come pounding shortly before Cristina's first verse. Still, it's practically a ballad in comparison to the other songs, with sweeter melodies and lyrics that are most raw. This being said, it's probably the most powerful of the album, even as the strings fade at the very end. The seventh track is "I Don't Believe in Tomorrow," and once again the guitars shuffle in and out of each speaker, making my ears more than happy. Though the verses are catchy, the chorus doens't do the most for me. The best part of the song is the bridge, where the guitar riffs explode into something unexpectedly heavier for this song. Again, this song isn't bad, but it's not a masterpiece.

"Intoxicated," on the other hand, is one of the few songs on this album that is an immediate standout, primarily because of Cristina's vocals (especially in the chorus as it overlays the guitars yet blends all the same). However, I must mention that Andrea did his part very well, too, and together they made for a very awesome and memorable track. It isn't as jumpy as a lot of the other songs on this album, but it's still something you can bob your head to since it's a far cry from a slow song. But, the next track, entitled "The Army Inside" brings the return of the norm for this album. It's more upbeat but still meaningful, yet not a standout track.

Like many, I discovered Lacuna Coil from their cover of Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence" on their 2006 album, Karmacode. Though Lacuna Coil's original songs are hit-and-miss for me and tend to blurr together, their covers are exactly the opposite. The tenth song on Dark Adrenaline is "Losing My Religion," originally by REM. I loved REM's original of this fantastic love song, but I may actually like Lacuna Coil's version better. Both Andrea and Cristina convey each lyric so well, but Cristina really sounds like she's believing what she's singing as I hear the emotion in her voice. Plus, I love the instrumentation of this revamped classic. Honestly, I think this is my favorite from the album.

"Fire" comes next, and the guitar riffs remind me a lot of "I Won't Tell You," a song from their previous album, Shallow Life. This short song is possibly my least favorite from Dark Adrenaline. But the opening riffs of the final song, "My Spirit," grabbed my attention. Andrea's verses definitely aren't the best part of the song, and Cristina steals the show again in the chorus. The bridge is most unique with its narration in a language I do not know (it's probably Itallian, considering Lacuna Coil is from Italy). After that point, the song began to give me chills with its dark harmonies. The album closes with a final guitar solo, finally leaving us with a choral synth that's bound to leave an impact.

Dark Adrenaline is a pretty decent album. None of these songs bother me in any way, and there were a few excellent tracks that came from it, such as "Trip the Darkness," "Against You," "Upsidedown," "End of Time," "Intoxicated," "Losing My Religion," and "My Spirit." But, my only problem with it has been my only complaint with this band in general: Some songs will leave an impact on me, but many do not. As I mentioned, too many of their songs often blurr together and remain unmemorable to my taste.

Fans that loved Karmacode and Shallow Life entirely will likely enjoy this new release, too. As for me, I liked this album better than those previous two releases; I think Lacuna Coil is headed in a positive direction. This album is dark but it'll get you pumped, and though some tracks may blurr together in your memory, the ones that stick out will be in your head for a long time.

3.5/5 Stars

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