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Sunday Old School: Lacuna Coil

Photo of Lacuna Coil

Band Photo: Lacuna Coil (?)

Italy may not be the first country one thinks of when it comes to metal music, given its warm climate and reputation for being one of the spiritual homes for both football fanatics and dedicated followers of fashion. However, the Mediterranean has produced a number of noteworthy groups such as Bulldozer, one of black metal's pioneers, along with Death SS, Cripple Bastards and Rhapsody Of Fire. The nation also gave the world one of the first metal stars of the new millenium, a Gothic metal band from the famous city of Milan named, Lacuna Coil.

The band was formed in 1994 by vocalist Andrea Ferro and bassist Marco Coti Zelati, under the name Sleep Of Right, recruiting guitar player Raffaele Zagaria and drummer Michaelangelo Algardi soon afterwards. The quartet recorded two demos, "Bleeding Souls" and "Noise of Bolgia" before adding second guitarist Claudio Leo and replacing Algardi with Leonardo Forti. While recording another demo, the group asked friend and singer Cristina Scabbia to perform background vocals, which led to her becoming a full time member. It was also around this time that the group changed their name to Ethereal and attracted the attention of Century Media Records, who offered the band a deal which they accepted, though they soon changed their moniker once more after discovering that a Greek band was using the name Ethereal, settling instead on their now familiar name, Lacuna Coil.

Their first release under the Lacuna Coil banner was a self-titled EP which came out in 1998 and was popular enough to earn them a spot supporting Portuguese gothic metal favourites, Moonspell. Despite this, there was a major shake up within the ranks after Raffael Zagaria, Claudio Leo, and Leonardo Forti all left the band and were replaced by Cristiano Migliore and Cristiano Mozzati on guitar and drums respectively, before recruiting a second guitarist named Marco Biazzi. With the new lineup in tow, the band entered the studio to record their debut full length album, "In A Reverie," which was met with a very strong response from both critics and gothic metal fans.

After hitting the road in a co-headlining tour with British folk metal pioneers Skyclad, the quintet recorded a second EP, "Half-Life," which included a cover of the Dubstar song, "Stars" as well as the song, "Senzafine," which also appeared on their sophomore album, "Unleashed Memories," which was released in the following year of 2001. It became their first album to chart, reaching the number 72 spot in Germany and included the "Half-Life" EP as a bonus on the North American release.

Only a year later, Lacuna Coil released their third album and perhaps their biggest to date, "Comalies." The record saw the band explode into the limelight with such singles as "Heaven's A Lie" and "Swamped" and charted in the several countries including the United States and France, becoming Century Media's biggest selling album in the process and allowing them to headline tours in the United States for the first time, where they were supported by Dog Fashion Disco, as well as appearing at Ozzfest.

Touring for "Comalies" kept the group on the road for quite some time and as a result, it would be another four years before Lacuna Coil's fourth album, "Karmacode" was released. Though it wasn't received quite as well as "Comalies," with some fans finding the Middle Eastern sounds on the record unenjoyable, it nonetheless sold very well, reaching the number 28 spot in the United States and charting in such countries as the United Kingdom, Greece, Canada and Japan for the first time, as well as becoming a top twenty album in their home country of Italy. The success of the album also led to the band releasing their first DVD, "Visual Karma (Mind, Body and Soul" in 2008 and appearing at a number of festivals including Wacken, Download and Graspop.

Fans didn't have to wait as long for a new album following the release of "Karmacode," with the fifth Lacuna Coil album, "Shallow Life," hitting the shelves in 2009. It was something of a concept album, dealing with modern day materialism and fashion obsession, the latter of which is quite prominent in their home city of Milan. It also continued their experimentation with Arabic sounds and attracted some controversy for the group's choice of producer, Don Gilmore, who had previously worked with more pop orientated rock bands such as Good Charlotte and Avril Lavigne. Despite the backlash, the album saw the band appearing in other countries charts for the first time including Spain, Belgium and Switzerland and spawned such popular singles as, "Spellbound" and "I Like It."

For their next album, "Dark Adrenaline," Lacuna Coil utilised different medias, creating a series of short films entitled, "Dark Passengers," which saw each band member star in a different short. The album itself was received quite well and earned better reviews than "Shallow Life," with many citing a return to their older, more Gothic sound as a positive. It featured another song which has gone on to become a live staple, "Trip the Darkness," as well as a cover of the R.E.M. classic, "Losing My Religion."

It wasn't long before Lacuna Coil returned to the studio to record their seventh album, "Broken Crown Halo." It saw the group taking on a darker sound, owing in part to the influence of the Italian horror movie legacy, with Suspiria and Deep Red being particularly influential thanks to the scores provided by the progressive rock band Goblin. The album also included the song, "Nothing Stands In Our Way," which has been taken on by the band as their anthem so to speak, as well as such tracks as "Zombies" and "Die & Rise."

"Broken Crown Halo" marked a significant change for the band, as guitarist Cristiano 'Pizza' Migliore and drummer Cristiano 'Criz' Mozzati decided to retire from the group in 2014, leading the band to continue as a quintet with new drummer Ryan Folden, formerly of The Agony Scene. Then, just as the group were preparing to enter the studio, they were dealt another blow when Marco "Maus" Biazzi quit the band, causing bassist Marco Zelati to handle the bulk of the guitar duties on the new album, "Delirium," though numberous session musicians and guests contributed to the guitar parts of the album as well, including Alter Bridge frontman Myles Kennedy.

The resultant album, "Delirium," received rave reviews from critics, with many citing it as their best record in some time and praising the concept of the record, which dealt primarily with mental illness and sanatoriums. It reached a number of high chart positions across the globe including the top twenty in Italy and Australia, topping the vinyl charts in their home country. The band are now on the road supporting the album in what has so far been a very successful trek, selling out venues consistently. After eight albums and becoming perhaps Italy's best known metal export, Lacuna Coil are assured a place in rock history, especially when one thinks of the metal stars of the 2000s.

Lacuna Coil - "Falling Again"

Lacuna Coil - "When A Dead Man Walks"

Lacuna Coil - "Swamped"

Lacuna Coil - "Our Truth"

Lacuna Coil - "I Like It"

Lacuna Coil - "Trip The Darkness"

Lacuna Coil - "Nothing Stands In Our Way"

Lacuna Coil - "Delirium"

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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2 Comments on "Sunday Old School: Lacuna Coil"

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GORECUNT's avatar

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1. GORECUNT writes:

I was 14 when I first heard them. If I ever felt nostalgia (I don't), they'd make the list

# Nov 27, 2016 @ 11:47 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

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2. Blindgreed1 writes:

Well done Oz. I've been hoping they'd find their stride again after Comalies, but it hasn't happened yet. At this point i'm skeptical that they ever will... She's still fun to look at though. \m/\m/

# Nov 28, 2016 @ 9:00 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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