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Lacuna Coil - "Karmacode" (CD)

Lacuna Coil - "Karmacode" CD cover image

"Karmacode" track listing:

1. Fragile
2. To The Edge
3. Our Truth
4. Within Me
5. Devoted
6. You Create
7. What I See
8. Fragments Of Faith
9. Closer
10. In Visible Light
11. The Game
12. Without Fear
13. Enjoy The Silence (Depeche Mode cover)

Reviewed by on April 19, 2006

"Amy Lee and crew would be wise to take notes"

The epic and indeed pointless debate of Lacuna Coil versus Evanescence is sure to shift into high gear in 2006. Both bands will have a fresh album on the shelves, both will be touring relentlessly and likely even be competing for airspace on rock and pop stations. Karmacode is Lacuna Coil’s first album since the critically acclaimed and commercially successful Comalies. The band's latest offering tries with some success, to be everything to everyone. Amy Lee and crew would be wise to take notes.

With opening song “Fragile”, the band kick the album off abruptly with a menacing bass line and distorted guitars a la Chevelle. Vocalists Andrea Ferro and Cristina Scabbbia trade leads and lock harmonies throughout. This song sets the tone for much of what is to follow.

“Our Truth” the bands current single is a rock radio powerhouse. Though the song bristles with nu-metal syncopation, it adds some needed heft to a very addictive chorus. The overlapping vocals and chiming synths are a nice touch as well. “Within Me” finds the band revisiting their back catalog. It is a vocally driven ballad of epic scale and has every right to be a crossover hit. The song is completely devoid of American and nu-metal nuances making it a familiar and enjoyable standout. “Devoted” channels the grunge-metal voice and stomp of Drain STH while lumbering along at an Alice in Chains pace. “In Visible Light” is a promising track for those who enjoyed the grandiosity of Comalies standouts “Heavens a Lie” and “Daylight Dancer”. The twinkling guitar licks and synth flourishes give the song a richness even if the chorus hovers rather than soars. Lacuna Coil pay due respect to Depeche Mode covering "Enjoy the Silence". The band truely make the song their own, to such a degree I had to figure out how I knew the lyrics to a song I had never heard before.

Taken as a whole, this albums overall tempo is much slower in comparison to the bands previous work. The rhythm section are largely responsible for the ponderous nu-metal vibe. Songs do not rush as dramatically as “Circle” and “My Wings” from their 1999 record In a Reverie. Christina Scabbia never sounds as anguished as in “To Myself I Turned” and “The Ghost Woman and the Hunter” from previous albums, but she still delivers a stirring and confident performance. Andrea Ferro’s singing voice is more evident and remains a valuable fixture but gone are his impressive roars and growls as heard in “Angels Punishment” and “Halflife”. Guitars are riff-centric on Karmacode. Individual notes are rarely plucked as they were throughout In a Reverie and acoustic guitars are kept to a minimum. Lyrically the album comes up in spades, matching or outshining their previous work, the band rarely treads into cliched waters.

Highs: A well crafted collection of accessible tunes. Despite some changes to their sound and style, the band maintains their identity.

Lows: Nu-metal dominates this album. Some fans might long for the distinctly “Euro” feeling of previous albums.

Bottom line: Experience matters! This band has been honing their craft much longer than Evanescence, Flyleaf and Wicked Wisdom and it shows.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)