Label: Century Media Records

Review by Jenna K. Barry

I happened upon Lacuna Coil by chance in late 2003; as it turns out, they were my gateway femme metal band, introducing me to the enticing world that is now my favored subgenre. I own all of their albums, including many lesser-known single releases and EPs. Needless to say, I was very eager to hear “Shallow Life” when it came out.I Survive” opens with a catchy foreign-flavored instrumental, followed by riffs that sound more rock-influenced than the usual metal. The distinct ethereal sound associated with the first three albums is no longer as prominent, but the vocals (more evenly distributed between Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro) are visceral and dominant, creating a whole new sound – though astute listeners can understand the progression here. The lyrics are direct; on the first three albums, poetic phrases flowed throughout the offerings, and abstract images and ideas were key to the style of Lacuna Coil. This directness can be heard especially on “I Won’t Tell You”, the hard-hitting “Underdog”, and the fresh, jaunty “I Like It”. I think “Spellbound” is a great single; I know that many fans have complained about the more commercial direction taken, but there is something to be said for music that is fun and accessible, direct and bold. “Shallow Life” – actually a concept album centered around, well, shallow lives of the rich and famous – is pretty mainstream in its appeal. The aforementioned single is a sure-to-be hit; it is addictive.  The circulating comparisons to Linkin Park are not entirely unfounded. The song I’m Not Afraid” made me think of that other band, as Andrea has upped the angst with his singing. But many other tracks, like one highlight song, “The Maze” and the eloquent “Not Enough”, are haunting in the tradition of early Lacuna Coil. The vox are an improvement over those on Karmacode”. Well, the overall production is better on this latest. But the versatility Cristina demonstrates is rather stunning; and Andrea is also very impassioned, expressing a great deal of emotion on each song. The male and female voices blend together seamlessly.
I like it, and I am spellbound.

Rating – 90/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Survive
  2. I Won’t Tell You
  3. Not Enough
  4. I’m Not Afraid
  5. I Like It
  6. Underdog
  7. The Pain
  8. Spellbound
  9. Wide Awake
  10. The Maze
  11. Unchained
  12. Shallow Life


Line Up 

  • Cristina Scabbia – Vocals
  • Andrea Ferro – Vocals
  • Cristiano Migliore – Guitars
  • Marco Biazzi – Guitars
  • Marco Coti Zelati – Bass & Keyboards 
  • Cristiano Mozzati – Drums


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