Review : Lacuna Coil -­ Delirium

It literally takes seconds for the first WTF moment to register and requires a double take that this is indeed the new Lacuna Coil album playing. Early reports that this was going to be their heaviest album to date were not exaggerated, and when Andrea Ferro unleashes a guttural growl a mere 15 seconds into opener ‘The House Of Shame’, it’s game on. ’Delirium’ seems to be very much Ferro’s album as well as main songwriter and bassist Marco Coti­Zelati, who along with his normal duties, took on the mantle of producer, as well as handling the guitar, keyboard, and synth parts… busy lad. The album is darker and more sinister than anything Lacuna Coil have previously produced, and new drummer Ryan Folden plays an integral part in this, as his double bass work is something that perhaps the band have lacked, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Back to the opener ‘The House Of Shame’. The term to describe the “new” Lacuna Coil that seems to have been spawned by fans online is “Gothcore”, and that’s not too far off. It begins with a quiet orchestral intro, before Ferro gatecrashes with a roar that must have been brewing inside for years. It’s a shock to the system as he barks out his lines with venom, but the growls are never that harsh that they become indecipherable. Cristina Scabbia is on hand to give him some respite with an almost operatic performance, and her parts that play over a soaring keyboard arrangement are incredible. Folden’s drum work is relentless, and the new guy is clearly out to impress from the off. ”Gothcore”? Yeah, I’m liking that. ‘Broken Things’ continues the metalcore similarities, with Andrea again displaying an impressive change of style. If you look back on ‘Nothing Stands In Our Way’, from previous album ‘Broken Crown Halo’, then you will hear some growls from him in the background. Push them right to the front, and you have a rough idea of what to expect on ‘Delirium’. When Scabbia takes over the vocal duties, it’s more like traditional Lacuna Coil, especially on the “1,2,3..” refrain that forms part of the chorus. The title track is again more of the “classic” Lacuna Coil sound. It’s dark, brooding, and in places quite creepy (especially if you have cans on and you pick up the background noises). Scabbia handles most of the vocals, and her screams are as powerful as ever.The guitars are low key, instead it’s the drums and bass that do most of the work, and Ferro sings in his natural voice. There’s also what sounds like an Arabic musical instrument playing during the chorus, which adds to the creepiness factor. ‘Blood,Tears, Dust’ begins with an intro that, believe it or not, echoes The Prodigy. An electronic assault on the senses prevails before Ferro unleashes his growl again. I love the gothic keyboards that can be heard underneath Scabbia’s vocals. Very atmospheric. The Prodigy vibe continues as the band change tack constantly, and the track features one of the few guitar solos on the album, as Mark Vollelunga of Nothing More steps up and lets fly.’Downfall’ is all Cristina. It’s slow and atmospheric, with lashings of layered keyboards, and Andrea comes in midway with some deranged vocals that give way to a soaring guitar solo from none other than Myles Kennedy. ’Take Me Home’ is spooky as hell, as it begins with some kids singing a nursery rhyme. We’re not talking innocent little cherubs here, more like the spooky twin girls that freak me out in The Shining.
‘You Love Me ‘Cause I Hate You’ has a laid-back, almost spoken word, performance from Scabbia, then Ferro comes back barking out the song title. It’s almost like she’s trying to calm him down by speaking to him calmly, and he’s not wearing it. Along with the title track, this is perhaps my favourite on the album, mainly because of the sinister sound on it, but then again, I’m strange that way. ’Ghost In The Mist’, and ‘My Demons’ ramp it up again, with Folden’s drums taking a battering. The “Gothcore” dynamics return as Scabbia provides the clean vocals to Ferro’s growls. ’Claustrophobia’ is another flashback to a sound that you might expect from Lacuna Coil, with a very powerful keyboard sound, as both vocalists go for each other’s throats.’Ultima Ratio’ closes out the album with some more electronic samples and keyboard arrangements, which, mixed with Ferro spitting out his vocals, results in a track that crushes, and it’s glorious when Scabbia comes in and lifts it up to a higher place. Lacuna Coil probably could have played it safe and written the same album as the last, but instead they chose to take a risk by ramping it up and adding some aggression to their sound. It’s a sound that might be alien to some fans, but after the initial shock wears off, the realisation that the band made the correct choice will sink in. ‘Delirium’ is released May 27th from the usual outlets. Review: Dave Stott
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