Release DetailsLABEL Century Media
RELEASED ON 4/4/2006
posted on 4/2006 By:
Successfully employing (for the most part) a safe and simple formula that blurs the lines between mainstream radio rock and bona fide underground metal, little strategic musical change has been made, or even needed for that matter, in the Lacuna Coil camp through the eight-plus years since the release of their self-titled debut EP back in 1998. On 2002’s acclaimed Comalies, however, the Italian sextet all but completely crossed over into MTV-friendly, post-alternative territory with their most stripped down and accessible outing yet. With album sales in the hundreds of thousands (a milestone never before charted by any Century Media alumni) and consecutive spots on the ever-popular Ozzfest tour, the band was at the top of their game, not to mention the leaders of the rising goth rock scene. On the verge of unveiling their fourth full-length effort, Karmacode, fans and critics alike are anxious to know - Does this latest entry in the Lacuna Coil discography measure up to the nearly faultless Comalies? Honestly, it doesn’t even come close.
Though Karmacode starts off on a seemingly strong right foot, by the time the lead single “Our Truth” rolls around only three tracks deep into the disc, the listener may sense that they’ve already heard that song, or at least parts of it. Ultimately they have. Both the opening number “Fragile” and “Our Truth” feature far too familiar quasi-Korn guitar riffs and almost identical intro vocals from Cristina Scabbia. Such repetitive riff recycling occurs several more times throughout the album's forty-seven minute playtime. For further proof, compare also “Devoted” and “Fragments Of Faith”. Still not convinced? See if you can identify each of the pieces in the Comalies cut n’ paste revival known as “In Visible Light” that blatantly borrows from “Angel’s Punishment”, “Humane“, and “Heaven’s A Lie”. Highlighting Karmacode are the band’s impressive rendition of the Depeche Mode classic “Enjoy The Silence” and the previously mentioned “Fragile”. Acting as the peaks that surround a very deep valley of garbage, these two songs set a standard for the album that is never really met.
Despite the fact that Cristina Scabbia has a phenomenal voice, the same couldn’t be justly said about her male counterpart, Andrea Ferro. Andrea is and always will be the weak link in Lacuna Coil as far as I’m concerned, and this time around is no exception. The few songs on Karmacode that actually show hints of potential will probably be overshadowed and overlooked due to his often-times off-key delivery. For example, while “Within Me” evolves into quite the alluring ballad once Scabbia takes command of the pre-chorus and chorus sections, it’s challenging to get past the accent-thick murmurs of Ferro at the beginning of said track. With it’s solo heavy interlude, “The Game” suffers the same unfortunate fate.
Possibly the most disappointing aspect of this album is that such an anticipated release is so uninspired and has such an absolute lack of adventure. Essentially, Karmacode is a made for mainstream (definitely premeditated) mess that will likely only be embraced by the general mindless masses that keep the mediocrity machine’s gears lubricated by feeding it their hard-earned allowances for records that maybe have one or two decent songs. The very same who discover new music via trendy movie soundtracks (in this case Underworld: Evolution) or even trendier magazines (Cristina Scabbia was the Revolver cover girl for the March issue). The very same that will dispute any part of this review in an attempt to defend not the band, but the illusion that they have history with the band’s back catalog. You know who you are and we have your IP address.
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