Lacuna Coil - Karmacode
Century Media
Modern Gothic / Atmospheric Metal
13 songs (47'27)
Release year: 2006
Lacuna Coil, Century Media
Reviewed by Marty
Major event
Formed in 1999, Italy's Lacuna Coil has continuously delivered their music to the masses with exhaustive touring schedules and literally hundreds of club dates worldwide; paying their dues the hard way, and not the trendy video and marketing approach of the American copycats Evanescence. Earlier albums like In A Reverie and Unleashed Memories saw a more gothic and atmospheric edge to Lacuna Coil's music. With the band's third album Comalies, more modern American influences were brought in to help shape their "new" sound. It sold 500,000 copies worldwide and became Century Media's biggest seller. Touring for over two years in support of Comalies, the chance to play on the main stage for 2004's version of the annual Ozzfest tour was a huge break for the band with many heralding them as the next big thing to hit the metal scene. With Karmacode, the band's fourth album, we see an even further departure from the strong gothic edge of previous work and a continuation of the path laid out with Comalies. Utilizing a very Americanized almost nu-metal approach, de-tuned guitars and a more simpler approach to the song writing, their music still retains all the rich vocal melodies of Christina Scabbia as well as her trademark duets with male vocalist Andrea Ferro. The result is an album that although may be met with mixed reaction by fans of the band, seems to have it's sights set on kicking the door open to the American market.

Christina Scabbia's voice sounds as strong and angelic as ever but the big change with Karmacode is the infusion of very chunky de-tuned guitar riffs into their music. Big booming modern metal riffs, catchy melodic hooks and huge choruses seems to be the formula of choice for this album and with the opening track Fragile, we get a big taste of that right away. Haunting Eastern-flavored vocal chants are featured on this track as well as Our Truth, the first single from the album and a track that was also featured on the Underworld:Evolution soundtrack. With a slight gothic flair, the rich choruses remind me of some of the early 70's vocal groups that ruled the airwaves way back then. Heavy riffs with a funkier and jazzier edge are found on To The Edge with Within Me being a an excellent, melodic and haunting acoustic flavored male/female duet featuring Christina's soaring vocals and some light orchestration. The Eastern feel is once again seen for the intro instrumental segment of Fragments Of Faith; a track that features Andrea's voice with Christina being relegated to layering her voice over the pre-chorus and chorus sections. Another album highlight is their cover of Depeche Mode's Enjoy The Silence. Using an orchestrated yet heavy arrangement, Christina's voice once again soars over everything else.

The production is very crisp and very thick for Karmacode and sees Lacuna Coil sounding better than ever. Strong songs with great melodic hooks and big huge choruses are found with almost every track on this album. The amazing melodies and choruses remind the listener that despite all the nu-metal style riffing, this is still very much a Lacuna Coil album. I really didn't find any weak tracks but there are certainly a few that stand out over the others. Overall though, I noticed that the song writing tends to be a lot more simplistic and formulaic in approach. Vocal melodies start to sound similar as you get further into the album and there really isn't a lot of variety in the songs. It's an enjoyable album to listen to and one that although may alienate some long-time fans, will no doubt attract lots of new ones with this very "modern" gothic metal sound. It's still a great album in it's own right but it strays very sharply from the sound that they began with. With Evanescence facing the dreaded sophomore jinx (if and whenever we see any new material!) and Nightwish facing an uncertain future without Tarja, the type of album that Karmacode is and the timing of it's release is perfect for Lacuna Coil in order to fill that void in the realm of female fronted gothic heavy metal for the starving American market.

Killing Songs :
Fragile, To The Edge, Our Truth, Within Me, Fragments Of Faith and Enjoy The Silence
Marty quoted 80 / 100
Ken quoted 85 / 100
Al quoted 65 / 100
Other albums by Lacuna Coil that we have reviewed:
Lacuna Coil - Black Anima reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Lacuna Coil - Broken Crown Halo reviewed by Joel and quoted 82 / 100
Lacuna Coil - Dark Adrenaline reviewed by Cory and quoted 72 / 100
Lacuna Coil - Shallow Life reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Lacuna Coil - In a Reverie reviewed by Jay and quoted 80 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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