By Suzi ‘Elfie’ H
Alright then Lacuna Coil. Everyone remember when they broke my heart by producing an album of such utter bilge that I literally cried? It wasn’t as bad as that godawful Linkin Park album, but it was a close run thing.
Basically in my mind, Lacuna Coil haven’t released an album since Dark Adrenaline. I refuse to accept any other idea about their discography. They released Dark Adrenaline and then they went and took a nice long holiday to think about their art. Then they released Delirium.
As you might imagine, I was *quite* anxious about Delirium. It took
bribery and threats a small about of persuasion from our illustrious Editor to get me to listen to it. And then of course the question was – is it any good?
Before the waffle, let’s do the technicalities; Delirium is the
seventh eighth studio album from the Italian maestros of Gothic Metal. It’s their first self produced album. Marco Coti Zelato, the bassist took over producer duties. It’s their first concept album, and is widely touted as being their heaviest album to date. Due to line up changes, Cristiano ‘Criz’ Mozzati and Cristiano “Pizza” Migliori don’t feature on the album and don’t appear to have been a part of the album’s inception. There are 14 tracks, all written along a theme of mental illness, and the running time is 57:20.
First up is House of Shame which opens with a deceptively calm choral overture and then, WHAM!! Andrea Ferro starts growling and then invites you to burn him and oh my god, Lacuna Coil have released a track which is like being punched in the face by an angry werewolf! Until Cristina does that vocal wafting in thing that she does and all of a sudden the darkness lifts and you’re listening to a track that is almost transcendental in it’s beauty and melodic perfection. It’s a pretty damn good start, and that’s putting it mildly.
Next up is Broken Things which again is opened by Andrea and look – it is not often that I am gobsmacked, but this track leaves me gobsmacked. Mostly because when it starts playing, I cannot do anything sensible because the ethereal force of Headbanging takes over and that’s it for the 3:59 run time of glorious, absinthe-flavoured Gothic Metal Loveliness.
From there we segue into the title track Delirium opened by the wonderful Cristina. There are not enough good things for me to say about this track. It’s everything I want in a Lacuna Coil album wrapped up with a ribbon and with glittery sprinkles on top.
Moving swiftly on, we hit Blood Tears and Dust which has got a bit more zing to it than previous tracks, but still keeps up the hard and heavy pace that has been set. At this point, it’s fair to say that Ferro and Scabbia are doing the best harmonic vocal work they have ever done. Given they’re one of the best duo vocalists out there, that’s saying something.
(Side note- due to the departure of Pizza, the band had to use guest guitarists – Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge) features for the guitar solo on Downfall, with Marco Barusso ( Heavy Metal Kids) featuring for the solo on House of Shame and Alessandro La Porta (Forgotten Tears, Arms Like Anchors) featuring for the solo on Claustrophobia)
After Blood, Tears and Dust, we have Downfall with the glorious Myles Kennedy guitar solo. Which by itself is a thing of beauty. When you combine it into the general Lacuna Coil sound of the album, it becomes iridescent.
At this point we’re a little under halfway through the album and I’m sure you’re wondering when I’m going to stop with the effusive praise and start criticising the album. The problem is, I can’t. Certainly not at this point. 5 tracks in, and this is rapidly looking like an Album of The Year. And that feeling doesn’t dissipate with the eerie and frankly, fucked up, intro to Take Me Home. It’s creepy, and reminiscent of Lordi and Rob Zombie and then WHAM in come Andrea and Cristina and it’s a new, somewhat twisted, version of Lacuna Coil.
I had to take a break at this point in the review because I keep drifting away listening to the music. So by the time I looked up again I’d got through You Love Me ‘Cause I Hate You (we’ve all had that relationship at some point. If you haven’t yet, don’t worry, it will come), Ghost In The Mist (a gloriously angry song, complete with thudding drum lines, and Scabbia providing a melody that just gets you right in the gut). I came back to myself somewhere around the middle of My Demons and only then because I had to go break up a fight between a teenager and a six year old (us journos have well glamorous lives).
I should probably mention that lyrically this album is incomparable:
And I don’t know what to say
I’m thinking about you
It’s hurting without you
I never learn from my mistakes
I’m thinking about you
I’m choking without you
And I don’t know what to say
And that’s one track (My Demons). The entire album is full of gorgeous refrains and suckerpunch lyrics. This is a true masterpiece, and really does deserve the title of Concept Album.
Claustrophobia continues the standard of excellence laid out by the previous 9 tracks. It also has Alessandro La Porta‘s guitar solo in it, which, I’m not ashamed to say, brought a tear to my eye. I’m a sucker for a good guitar solo I really am. From Claustrophobia we swing into Ultima Ratio which is 4 minutes of headbanging glory, and then Live To Tell which begins rather creepily with some form of synthed intro keeps up the pace.
With two tracks left of the album you’d almost be expecting Lacuna Coil to drop the pace or at least shift down a gear or two. Oh no, my friends, that’s not what you get. Instead you get Breakdown which still contains the swooping melodies that Ms Scabbia has made a name for herself with, juxtaposed against the angry growling of Andrea Ferro.
The grand finale is Bleed the Pain. And it’s perfect. I’m not even exaggerating. It is SHEER PERFECTION. When it finishes, ending the album, you’re left with a sense of loss, and the sense that you just witnessed something truly magnificent manifest itself.
This album isn’t a sprint. This is an album you can listen to on repeat for weeks. Which is what I did after the first listen through. At no point is there a track that you want to skip through, or a point where you want to switch off. This is a MASTERPIECE. I even tried listening to the Lacuna Coil back catalogue to see if I was just being hyperbolic, but I’m not. Delirium is not only the best Lacuna Coil album produced so far, it demonstrates a growth and maturity, a serious undertone that has been lacking in their other albums. Furthermore, 8 months into the year, I’ve found my Album of The Year. It’s this one.
I’ll forgive Lacuna Coil for the almighty clusterfuck that was Broken Crown Halo because their follow up in Delirium is so good. It not only confirms their place as leaders in the Gothic Metal genre, it cements their place as a truly iconic band.