Lacuna Coil - Shallow Life (2009)



Usually known for their dark, gothic tones, Italian metal group Lacuna Coil has brought their sound to a whole different direction. Their newest album, entitled "Shadow Life," entails more hard rock melodies and catchy refrains. They still keep a dark image to the album but it isn't delivered in the gothic style that they've grown accustom to. It's got some really strong points that stick out and carry you through the motions. However, there's a couple of weak parts that really question what the band was trying to go for, sound wise.

"I Survive" is the opening track that starts with some monstrous distorted guitar riffs that chug away to the drums, immediately catching your attention. Lead singer Cristina Scabbia comes in the her gorgeous vocals in the verse and lures you right into the chorus. Back up vocalist Andrea Ferro sings the chorus with his raspy clean vocals. The melody is very catchy and will probably have you singing along by the second or third time hearing it. Meanwhile, heavy guitar riffs fill in the background with explosive drums and loud cymbals. Following this song is "I Won't Tell You," which has a lot of similar elements to the first song. Scabbia takes care of the verse with eerie melodies while Ferro jumps in during the chorus. Scabbia has a lot of talent, but I feel she's held back in this album, as Ferro is given a lot more parts to sing.

She's given the spotlight in the song "Wide Awake," which slows things down with its acoustic sounds. Scabbia really gets to show off some of her magnificent vocals as she belts the chorus beautifully. The piano and acoustic guitar riffs really brighten her voice and give a deep, emotional feel. The song paints a beautiful picture with its meaningful lyrics. Unfortunately the following song, "The Maze," barely has her in it at all. Other than a couple melodic chants in the beginning and a line or two in the chorus, everything else is sung by Ferro. Also, the music is pretty basic with repetitive chords strumming over and over again, layered with a simple kick-snare pattern through most of the song. This is another song really reaching for that mainstream sound.

If it wasn't for Scabbia in "I'm Not Afraid," you would think it was a Linkin Park single. The refrain is Ferro screaming "I'm not afraid" like Chester Bennington screams "Crawling in my skin" from the Linkin Park song "Crawling." This just isn't Lacuna coil. However, it's definitely a radio hit for mainstream music. "Spellbound" had great delivery in the chorus and the guitar riffs were electrifying. This song falls right in between who they were and who they are turning into. It's catchy, the lyrics have gothic tones, and the instruments are heavier and darker. It's definitely a song to check out.

Being a fan of Lacuna Coil makes it difficult to judge this album  because they've changed their style and sound, which most Lacuna fans aren't used to. It's not a bad record, it's just not the Lacuna Coil we all know and love. They definitely leaned more towards a mainstream sound with "Shallow Life." I'm curious to see where they go next.

6.5/10

Official Site - http://www.lacunacoil.it/index.php
Myspace - http://www.myspace.com/lacunacoil