ALBUM REVIEW – “Broken Crown Halo” by Lacuna Coil

Few recent singles have sounded as full of confidence as ‘Nothing Stands In Our Way’, the first taste of Broken Crown Halo. Coupled with suggestions by band members that a heavier direction was being pursued this time around, expectation levels for the new effort from Lacuna Coil were higher than they have been for a while. Moving in an increasingly commercial direction since breakthrough record Comalies, the Italian melodic metallers have done well to distance themselves from the rest of the female-fronted goth rock scene, even if their recent output has been somewhat inconsistent in terms of quality.

Fans hoping for a return to roots record will be left disappointed, as if anything Broken Crown Halo resurrects the chunky downtuned grooves of 2006’s Karmacode. The aforementioned lead single is a brash, piledriving opener that kicks off a strident one-two punch, completed by the bouncing chug of ‘Zombie’. Groove is definitely back on the menu, with both ‘Die and Rise’ and ‘In the End I Feel Alive’ pushing the heaviness into the red, though of course not without sacrificing the band’s trademark melodies. Producer Jay Baumgardner injects the grit that was missing from the band’s last two highly polished efforts, doing a great job of maximising the impact of each riff.

While much of the album does live up to promises of heavier stylings, there is more mid-tempo, atmospheric pop rock than initially implied. Some of these more nuanced songs are more successful than others, the orchestra-laced ‘Hostage to the Light’ and deathly slow, surprisingly restrained six-minute final song ‘One Cold Day’ representing the best of them. Cristina Scabbia understandably commands the majority of these slowburners, but co-vocalist Andreas Ferro turns in an unexpectedly strong performance on the heavier tracks, a few growls and some more reserved melodic singing showing more versatility than recently.

Broken Crown Halo is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Occasional misguided moments ruin otherwise strong songs (including Scabbia’s petulant sounding bridge on ‘Victims’ and the laughable “burn baby burn” Ferro slips into ‘In The End I Feel Alive’). What’s more, it lacks a real standout track as good as‘Our Truth’, ‘Trip the Darkness’ or even ‘I Won’t Tell You’. Nonetheless, it’s the most consistently inspired and confident-sounding Lacuna Coil album since Karmacode and provides an effective facsimile of their more recent efforts without coming off as an imitation. It seems unlikely they’ll achieve similar heights to their Comalies/Karmacode heyday again, but are moving in the right direction with Broken Crown Halo.

Rating: 7/10

[Michael Bird]

‘Nothing Stands In Our Way’

‘Die and Rise’

LacunaCoil2014

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [Photo Gallery] Lacuna Coil, Kyng, Eve to Adam, and Cilver – 4/23/2014 – Baltimore, Maryland | RichardThinks.Org - April 29, 2014

    […] Also, if you haven’t already check out Michael’s review of Broken Crown Halo! […]

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