Lacuna Coil - Dark Adrenaline
Century Media
Pop Metal
12 songs (45:12)
Release year: 2012
Lacuna Coil, Century Media
Reviewed by Cory
Major event

Well friends (and strangers that just pop in from time to time), here we are with a new Lacuna Coil album. Yes Lacuna Coil, those plucky Italians with a flair for catchy tunes that in more recent times have begun to entrench themselves in the massive public spotlight that Evanescence once occupied and is not likely to get back. Even as I write this, I can hear that oh so familiar sound of knives being sharpened, pitch forks being raised, ropes being readied, and the always laughable accusations of “selling-out” and so forth being tossed around, as bloggers and forumites prepare to roast the new album with an enthusiasm on par with, if not exceeding, the joy one has for listening to a band they actually like. If you want the short version of this review, for the sake of saving time, here it is: Dark Adrenaline is basically Shallow Life 2.0, slightly improved and maybe even a bit heavier, but stylistically the same. Feel free to stop reading here and move on to the forums to begin your assault!

Now if you are still here and looking for the review then you are in luck because I am in the reviewing mood, so here we go. Dark Adrenaline, follow up to 2009’s Shallow Life, is proof that Lacuna Coil have found their golden goose and are sticking to it. The early days of In A Reverie, Unleashed Memories, and Comalies in all their gothic tinged glory have been mostly left behind along with, thankfully, the Nu-Metal experiment that was Karmacode. In their place Lacuna Coil have evolved into a far more commercially acceptable entity with a formula that breeds radio friendly hits by the truckload, kind of like a metal version of Nickelback (though I have far more respect for them than that band). Now when I say they are commercially acceptable, I do not mean that in a bad way. Being commercial, in and of itself, is not the killing blow to a bands credibility, and there are plenty of decent bands on that front that serve as a doorway for eager listeners to heavier and more intense metal. The truth is there is plenty of merit to be found in this album so long as you treat it like ear candy (pleasant to listen to, but not fulfilling in the long run and ultimately forgettable). The back and forth vocal exchange of the talented Cristina Scabia and her male counterpart Andrea Ferro work well, backed by mind numbingly catchy choruses and strong melodic hooks that are really the main selling point of the band. Musically speaking, everyone plays at a relatively simple level without ever truly being allowed to prove the extent of their talent. The fact that there are two guitarists is somewhat surprising and wasted, given how little they do to really distinguish themselves (Maus is listed as playing lead guitars, but there are only perhaps three instances on the album that live up to that distinction). Production wise, this is exactly the polished product you would expect for a band catering to the general public, with a sound that is perfect to the point of nearly losing its identity, though not quite. It appeals at the surface level, but leaves little to discover beneath it.

Individual tracks are divided into roughly two categories: those that are very good and those that are decent but forgettable. Against You, Kill the Light, Upsidedown, I Don’t Believe In Tomorrow, and The Army Inside are all good songs worth your attention, with Kill the Light being the ultimate winner of the bunch. Remaining tracks attempt virtually the same formula, but fall short for various reasons. Cover tune Losing My Religion, the classic R.E.M. song, is done within the Lacuna Coil mold but does very little justice to the original (not that I really believe anyone could successfully cover that particular track, given how unique and iconic it is. Some songs are just not meant to be covered). When it comes to the songs, I believe what ultimately makes them appealing to a broad audience (track lengths ranging between 2:54 and 4:10 with repeating melodies and catchy choruses) also limits their long term viability. Even those tunes where the music breaks free of the formula with a solo or interesting musical passage (Upsidedown is a good one, but clocks in at a measly 3:03) are over with so quick that you barely have time to savor what you enjoy about the track, before being ubruptly thrown into the next. That is fine for a style like Thrash, in which there is so much going on within that period, but here it just leaves a feeling of under-development. This is not a unique complaint, given that it is the very nature of Pop music, but I guess ultimately that is what we have here with Lacuna Coil: a Pop Metal band playing very good Pop Metal. The question is whether or not you can over look that and enjoy it for what it is.

So the end of this particular tale is this: Lacuna Coil is very good at their chosen formula, and they are sticking with it. Dark Adrenaline is pleasing to the ears and a safe purchase for anyone that was already on board to begin with, but those that have been waiting for this band to turn some proverbial corner into a “legitimate” metal band are just going to be left gnashing their teeth. A decent album, but probably not a very long shelf life.

Killing Songs :
Against You, Kill The Light, and Upsidedown
Cory quoted 72 / 100
Other albums by Lacuna Coil that we have reviewed:
Lacuna Coil - Broken Crown Halo reviewed by Joel and quoted 82 / 100
Lacuna Coil - Shallow Life reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Lacuna Coil - Karmacode reviewed by Marty and quoted 80 / 100
Lacuna Coil - In a Reverie reviewed by Jay and quoted 80 / 100
Lacuna Coil - Comalies reviewed by Jack and quoted 90 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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