I’m sitting here now listening to Italian metal act Lacuna Coil’s latest full-length, Dark Adrenaline, wondering what the hell happened to the band that at one time I considered to number among my favourite bands. Lacuna Coil started life as a gothic metal act and they were a good one. Then in 2006, after a four year break between studio albums they released Karmacode and their sound changed to a more alternative metal direction. Ironically it was Karmacode that first brought the band to my attention, with the quite addictive song Our Truth, but upon looking into their back catalogue I realised to my surprise that in 2006 Karmacode was actually their weakest album to date. When the band followed it up with Shallow Life in 2009 I wasn’t much impressed. The album was no worse than Karmacode but it was no better either, and went even further in the alternative metal direction. If two albums of lesser quality in a new style to their old style wasn’t enough to go by, Dark Adrenaline comes across as the final nail in the coffin. No new ground or no return to the style they were good at, and not even another Shallow Life in that it at least wasn’t worse than the previous album. Dark Adrenaline is Lacuna Coil’s worst album, no contest.
Like with the last couple of albums we’re dealing with fairly typical alternative metal riffs. I wouldn’t say the guitars play a very big part in Lacuna Coil’s sound at all, and the guitarists are rarely given the opportunity to shine due to leads being a rarity. The music does nothing really to reward the more demanding metal fan, in fact to be blunt I think it’s pretty obvious that ever since 2006 Lacuna Coil hasn’t cared at all about pleasing metal fans, they’re out to please fans of commercial music, which this is, and while I’ve always considered myself quite vocal to support that the equation ‘commercial + metal != bad’ is true, this is a pretty poor attempt at merging the two worlds. Lacuna Coil has proved capable of being good at it in small doses with Karmacode and Shallow Life, but the problem with Dark Adrenaline is that it lacks any sort of highlights regardless of which audience I try to review this review in perspective to. It’s an utter disappointment to say the least.
My reviews are normally longer and more detailed than this but ultimately with this one there’s just really not much that can be said. If you enjoyed Lacuna Coil’s earlier material and have been disappointed since Karamcode then there is no reason at all for you to even consider Dark Adrenaline. It’s a much weaker more of the same album. And if you do happen to enjoy their alternative metal direction there’s still not much point in you considering Dark Adrenaline, because it’s a much weaker more of the same album. It offers nothing that Karamcode and Shallow Life didn’t do better, and just makes me wonder why the hell a good band would throw away everything they had going for them like Lacuna Coil did. Even frontwoman Cristina Scabbia sounds like she’s having an off-day with her vocals on this one and the instrumentation leaves a lot to be desired. I really have nothing positive to say at all.
(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))