Well Worth The Wait

Lacuna Coil are back! Following up 2002's 'Comalies' with the eagerly awaited 'Karmacode'. The reason for such a gap is due to their last album taking off in the states and the band spending many months on the promotion trail. Unsurprisingly this length of time touring the US has rubbed off on them, as this new album is one which will certainly be pleasing to the ears of the American market.

On the face of it some may criticize this record for having mainstream American appeal production values but if you're going to spend that amount of time in one country, being exposed to music on the radio and TV, mixing in with local bands and seeing what makes the audience in that country tick then it is bound to have some effect on what you write, and so this is as much a representation of where Lacuna Coil currently are as a band, rather than them selling out in search of mega bucks.

A general rise in the band's profile is paying off in the UK too as the first single 'Our Truth' has recently become the band's first taste of chart success, squeezing into the top forty at, you guessed it, number forty...well everyone's got to start somewhere!

The success of their last album allowed the band a bigger budget for 'Karmacode' and this is certainly evident in the overall sound. They're still as heavy as ever but well placed additional keyboards and strings gives this a real expansive feel, it is well suited to being blasted through surround sound speakers should you have such things. At times you could imagine them being considered for Hollywood movie soundtracks as there is something of the blockbuster title sequence about 'Our Truth' and 'Without Fear' in particular.

The name which immediately grabs the attention from the tracklist is 'Enjoy The Silence'. It is, of course, a cover of the Depeche Mode classic from 1990, and was originally meant to only be played live and wasn't planned for the album. However it proved to be a popular song and has made the final cut and doesn't appear out of place as they have certainly turned it into one of their own. A cover should only be considered a success if the band re-recording it brings a new interpretation to the original, Lacuna Coil have without question done this. It seems a careful balancing act has been performed by putting it at the end so as to make sure a famous cover doesn't shadow any of their own material while still benefiting from including a live favourite on the CD.

Not only is there a strong climax to the record but a heavy and powerful opening too. 'Fragile', ' To The Edge' and first single 'Our Truth' get the record off to a flier. As far as future singles are concerned, Lacuna Coil have plenty of possible options. The temptation must surely be there to use 'Enjoy The Silence' as an eye catcher, but if they want to follow a similar path to the first then 'To The End' is a hit in the making. 'In Visible Light' also has strong commercial appeal and takes a different direction as it is one of the softer, mellower songs on the record. For somewhere in between 'Devoted' is another of many album highpoints.

There is a great mix of heavy and melodic throughout 'Karmacode'. 'What You See' has a gritty and raw rock edge to it, whereas 'Without Fear' must be one of the softest tracks they've ever done.

As ever the male female vocal harmonies between Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro ads to the band's distinctive sound and the passion in both performances is almost bursting through the speakers.

This may have taken a long time to emerge but the wait is well worth it as Lacuna Coil have returned with what should be considered as one of the stand out rock records of 2006.