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Lacuna Coil: Karmacode

Ah, hype is an interesting thing. Italy's Lacuna Coil have been surrounded by swirling whispers and statements of being "the next big thing" for a few years now, ever since the band exploded with heaps of praise at Ozzfest a few years ago and their last album Comalies selling in excess of 500,000 copies worldwide. Now, with the release of Karmacode, the band are once again on the tip of everyone's tongue, wondering if they will make the big time or not. Well, let's just say that the CD so far is selling very well (something that I am sure is making their label Century Media very happy) and the band have been on a sold out tour with Rob Zombie, which guarantee's being in front of a large crowd every night. So, things seem to be looking up for this Italian gothic metal band. How is the album you ask? Karmacode is one of those releases that on the first few spins doesn't really make much of an impact. I was muttering the "I don't really see what all the commotion is about" phrase more than a few times while trying to get a handle on the new CD. All of a sudden, after about the fifth listen, something started to click. Sure, the music overall is not much different than their previous albums, and it certainly is a bit more commercial, but damn if I didn't start to get pulled in by the intoxicating vocals of both Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro, who really have the best male/female vocal attack going. Many of the songs here just kind of reach into your soul and slowly grab you, and either force you to start to headbang or lull you into some sort of psychedelic trance. There's nothing groundbreaking here mind you, as the heavy songs are somewhat in the vein of Korn minus the maniacal vocals, and the mellower tracks are not too much different from what The Gathering are doing, but overall you can hear the talent that lies within this band. There's plenty of downtuned guitars, beefy bass grooves, pounding drums, a smattering of keyboards, Scabbia's soaring vocals and the aggressive style of Ferro.

Cohesive, addicting, catchy, and certainly rocking. These are just some of the words to describe Karmacode. Lacuna Coil are poised to make their big move, and this new release should be the one to help make it happen for them.

Track Listing
1. Fragile
2. To The Edge
3. Our Truth
4. Within Me
5. Devoted
6. You Create
7. What I See
8. Fragments Of Faith
9. Closer
10. In Visible Light
11. The Game
12. Without Fear
13. Enjoy The Silence (Depeche Mode cover song)

Added: September 29th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Lacuna Coil Website
Hits: 4877
Language: english

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Lacuna Coil: Karmacode
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-09-29 07:06:45
My Score:

Karmacode is the long-awaited follow up to Lacuna Coil's ground-breaking Comalies album and at first listen you will find that while this is a great production it is not exactly the same Lacuna Coil that we loved on the record that garnered them so much attention. As a fan of that album especially, I felt that the band was aiming a little more at the audience that follows Evanescence and there is some of that vibe happening in the music as well. Given that bands absence from new material when this hit the streets this was perhaps a good decision to make in order to fill the need for this style of music. I really enjoyed Comalies and it's always hard to compare a follow up to an album that did so much for a bands career and became so endearing. Remember, it was released in 2003 and then found a special edition release with tons of bonus stuff in 2004. With Comalies they showed a lot more intensity and drive while this Karmacode seems to take a safer route and focus less on dramatics and more on atmosphere. "Closer" and "In Visible Light" in particular showcase this premise for me. I did not find the production to be as eerie as "Comalies" nor as much in your face. Tracks like "Fragile" and "To The Edge" are nice, but did not hit me with the same level of impact that "Heaven's A Lie" did. Yes there are a couple of numbers that have the expected vibe such as "Closer" and "The Game", but overall the whole release seems like the band was trying different things with some of the songs on this one. There is a surprising cover of "Enjoy The Silence" and while the band is adept during their version, Cristina's voice is too pretty and high for this number. It's a moody-Goth-Pop track that is better suited to a deeper male vocal register. The "big" chorus in this one is unique but I don't think it fits all that well. Despite my feelings on the album there are no real bad songs on it, just different from what I was expecting. Instead of going darker and heavier they went a little more accessible and melodic/atmospheric.

The booklet includes great portrait shots of the individual members along with lyrics. It is also an enhanced CD that offers some other features when you play it in your computer and includes a mini-poster of the band. It is definitely a solid listen but it took me a couple of turns until it caught me.

Lacuna Coil: Karmacode
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-05-29 19:30:30
My Score:

With The Gathering going in the opposite direction of metal and Nightwish's future uncertain, it's up to female-fronted bands like Lacuna Coil to carry the metal flag. Since the Italian band's American breakthrough in 2001, Lacuna Coil has been building toward an album like Karmacode a metal tour de force, equally melodic, progressive and dark. Don't dare call this band gothic, though; it has moved way beyond that, approaching commercial status with an Ozzfest stint, television appearances and radio airplay. More power to 'em, I say. Indeed, if you want someone to experience intelligent modern metal with an equally smart female singer, spin this Coil.

Karmacode sounds more like a complete album than any of Lacuna Coil's previous work. Andrea Ferro and Cristina Scabbia have found the perfect combination of male/female vocal styles, but the band's four other members are far from background players. Their workhorse performances propel the heavier tracks and ground the softer ones. Ferro's aggressiveness comes through loud and clear on the pounding Middle-Eastern swirl of opener "Fragile" and the next track "To the Edge." Scabbia, meanwhile, lets her commanding voice go where the music takes it on songs like "Our Truth," "You Create" and "Closer." She even evokes Madonna on the Depeche Mode cover "Enjoy the Silence." Perhaps Karmacode's most memorable track, though, is "Without Fear," featuring beautiful Italian-sung lyrics that give credence to Ferro's claim that the album's title "attempts to balance our modern, overwhelming, self-centered, fast-paced lifestyles and the desire we all have to lead a more spiritual, compassionate and fulfilling life."

Hype? Believe it.

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