Lacuna Coil – Delirium – Album Review

Lacuna_Coil_-_Delirium_-_Cover_-_2016

Artist: Lacuna Coil

Album Title: Delirium

Label: Century Media Records

Date Of Release: 27 May 2016

I have been a fan of Lacuna Coil since the early days of ‘In A Reverie’ and ‘Unleashed Memories’, the latter of which remains a favourite to which I return quite frequently. I loved the melodies, the slightly Gothic atmospheres and the chemistry between the two vocalists at a time when the whole male/female combo was still something quite unusual. I have since followed the Italian band’s career, through the ups and downs over the years.

And so, I just had to review this new album, the band’s eighth over a near twenty-year career to date.

I’ve now had sufficient time to delve into the music and, unfortunately, I’m not that enamoured with it if I’m being totally honest. It has its moments for sure and it isn’t devoid of positives, but a classic it isn’t. Admittedly it has got better the more I’ve listened, but even so, it still falls disappointingly short in my estimations at the current time.

Lacuna Coil have always tinkered around the edges of their sound. The core principles have always remained intact but with each album, they have tried something new. In the beginning, it was lush atmospheres and sensitive melodies. ‘Comalies’ was full of really powerful and memorable heavy metal songs with big hooks, whilst ‘Karmacode’ disappointed me with an approach that flirted a little too much with nu-metal embellishments. And then, more recently, ‘Shallow Life’ veered into more mainstream ‘pop’ metal territory which I rather liked actually due to its infectious nature.

Since the last outing, 2014’s ‘Broken Crown Halo’, Lacuna Coil have lost a couple more members, meaning that only the trio of Marco ‘Maki’ Coti-Zelati alongside vocalists Andrea Ferro and Cristina Scabbia remain from the original band. In fact, for this album, Coti-Zelati handled his usual bass duties as well as the guitars and keyboards, with Ryan Blake Folden joining to play the drums. In addition, several guests offer guitar solos on various songs, including Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge) on ‘Downfall’ and Mark Vollelunga (Nothing More) on ‘Blood, Tears, Dust’.

Credit: Alessandro Olgiati
Credit: Alessandro Olgiati

Word had it that ‘Delirium’ might be the band’s heaviest recording to date and within the space of a few seconds, this rumour is proved to be true. The sounds of seriously heavy riffs and Ferro doing his best extreme metal growling assault the senses after a rather ornate Gothic and atmospheric opening to ‘The House Of Shame’.

Now normally, I like heavy. Heavy music and I have a definite kinship. However, I just cannot warm to the tone and execution of the riffs on ‘Delirium’. For my tastes, they are far too down-tuned, flappy and ‘metalcore’-sounding. It results in a constant saggy ‘chug’ that begins to grate on me. Again, I normally like a good ‘chug’ but I can’t shake the feeling that the riffs that go along with the chugging are relatively mediocre and generic. Nothing really stands out to me; none of the riffs offer anything unique. It’s almost as if the band were just thinking of the quickest and easiest way to get from the start of the songs to the choruses. This might be a little harsh, but you get the rough idea.

Speaking of choruses, this has always been the strongest asset in the Lacuna Coil armoury. Aside from ‘Karmacode’, which I honestly can’t even remember, every album contained a plethora of killer choruses with hooks to die for. And, whilst the choruses remain the most important factor for Lacuna Coil, there are simply not enough showstoppers to be heard on ‘Delirium’.

When they get it right, they still make a huge impact. Just take the title track or ‘Ghost In The Mist’ for example which has a lovely sprawling chorus that delights in spite of the uninspiring fodder in the verses. Then there’s ‘Claustrophobia’ which has to be my favourite composition on ‘Delirium’ thanks to the strongest hook-laden chorus and some amazing vocals from Scabbia in particular.

Additionally, I also still enjoy the vocal interplay between Scabbia and Ferro. There’s an almost telepathic understanding between the duo after so many years and they do really complement each other. Ferro has really extended his range and variety which is a positive and Scabbia can still melt hearts one second and crush them the next with caustic venom.

I wish I could remain positive but I cannot stand ‘Take me Home’ for example. It begins with an irritating vocal that is supposed to sound like a child in a playground singing a mocking ditty but it just annoys me. The remainder of the song is little better as it toys with a much more modern, plastic metalcore-meets-pop approach. I’ve heard the phrase ‘Gothcore’ being bandied about online and it is actually pretty close to the truth, given that the Gothic atmosphere is always lurking under the surface, either stealthily or more overtly depending on the track at hand.

‘You Love Me ‘Cause I Hate You’ has a grander feel to it but is simply unremarkable thanks to a chorus that’s lacking. Likewise ‘Broken Things’ has a decent chorus but it isn’t enough to redeem the massively overt and all-too-average chug-fest. ‘Blood, Tears, Dust’ employs modern electronic synth sounds which do nothing for me, except make me feel like the band are trying a little too hard.

The final issue I have is with the lyrics which are occasionally toe-curling. The album seeks to explore the horrors that we must face in everyday life, but as evidenced by the likes of ‘My Demons’, the result is just a little clunky and verging on being cheesy.

I really dislike having to write reviews like this, but from time to time, they are necessary. I will always be a fan of Lacuna Coil; we go too far back and I like too much of their back catalogue for this to ever change. However, the fact remains that ‘Delirium’ is not the new album I hoped for and simply doesn’t match the excellence of other releases. Sad but true.

The Score Of Much Metal: 7.0

If you’ve enjoyed this review, check out my others right here:

Big Big Train – Folklore
Airbag – Disconnected
Katatonia – The Fall Of Hearts
Frost* – Falling Satellites
Glorior Belli – Sundown (The Flock That Welcomes)
Habu – Infinite
Grand Magus ‘Sword Songs’
Messenger – Threnodies
Svoid – Storming Voices Of Inner Devotion
Fallujah – Dreamless
In Mourning – Afterglow
Haken – Affinity
Long Distance Calling – Trips
October Tide – Winged Waltz
Odd Logic – Penny For Your Thoughts
Iron Mountain – Unum
Knifeworld – Bottled Out Of Eden
Novembre – Ursa
Beholder – Reflections
Neverworld – Dreamsnatcher
Universal Mind Project – The Jaguar Priest
Thunderstone – Apocalypse Again
InnerWish – Innerwish
Mob Rules – Tales From Beyond
Ghost Bath – Moonlover
Spiritual Beggars – Sunrise To Sundown
Oceans Of Slumber – Winter
Rikard Zander – I Can Do Without Love
Redemption – The Art Of Loss
Headspace – All That You Fear Is Gone
Chris Quirarte – Mending Broken Bridges
Sunburst – Fragments Of Creation
Inglorious – Inglorious
Omnium Gatherum – Grey Heavens
Structural Disorder – Distance
Votum – Ktonik
Fleshgod Apocalypse – King
Rikard Sjoblom – The Unbendable Sleep
Textures – Phenotype
Serenity – Codex Atlanticus
Borknagar – Winter Thrice
The Mute Gods – Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me
Brainstorm – Scary Creatures
Arcade Messiah – II
Phantasma – The Deviant Hearts
Rendezvous Point – Solar Storm
Vanden Plas – Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld II
Antimatter – The Judas Table
Bauda – Sporelights
Waken Eyes – Exodus
Earthside – A Dream In Static
Caligula’s Horse – Bloom
Teramaze – Her Halo
Amorphis – Under The Red Cloud
Spock’s Beard – The Oblivion Particle
Agent Fresco – Destrier
Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction
Between The Buried And Me – Coma Ecliptic
Cradle Of Filth – Hammer Of The Witches
Disarmonia Mundi – Cold Inferno
District 97 – In Vaults
Progoctopus – Transcendence
Big Big Train – Wassail
NightMare World – In The Fullness Of Time
Helloween – My God-Given Right
Triaxis – Zero Hour
Isurus – Logocharya
Arcturus – Arcturian
Kamelot – Haven
Native Construct – Quiet World
Sigh – Graveward
Pantommind – Searching For Eternity
Subterranean Masquerade – The Great Bazaar
Klone – Here Comes The Sun
The Gentle Storm – The Diary
Melechesh – Enki
Enslaved – In Times
Keep Of Kalessin – Epistemology
Lonely Robot – Please Come Home
The Neal Morse Band – The Grand Experiment
Zero Stroke – As The Colours Seep
AudioPlastik – In The Head Of A Maniac
Revolution Saints – Revolution Saints
Mors Principium Est – Dawn of The 5th Era
Arcade Messiah – Arcade Messiah
Triosphere – The Heart Of The Matter
Neonfly – Strangers In Paradise
Knight Area – Hyperdrive
Haken – Restoration
James LaBrie – Impermanent Resonance
Mercenary – Through Our Darkest Days
A.C.T. – Circus Pandemonium
Xerath – III
Big Big Train – English Electric (Part 1)
Thought Chamber – Psykerion
Marcus Jidell – Pictures From A Time Traveller
H.E.A.T – Tearing Down The Walls
Vanden Plas – Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld

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