Review Summary: Despite it's mainstream shortcomings, Lacuna Coil has found where it belongs.
The road to successful goth music has been a bumpy one, and some may say that Lacuna Coil’s Karmacode does nothing to alter the path. The music, however, ultimately speaks for itself. The ever-present synthesizers combined with Cristina Scabbia’s beautiful vocals create an exotic experience that is, quite simply, not present in mainstream radio. Cristina's vocals often soar into the complex beauties of the Indian/Arabian scale almost as if it's natural. Even the cranked up bass guitar helps further the exotic atmosphere that is so often prevalent in Lacuna Coil’s music.
When listening to Lacuna Coil's music, it puts you in a nearly mythical trance while the distant Arabian vocals cascade over the sands of Egypt. While Cristina's beautiful power behind the mike may be enough to entrance, Andrea Ferro's backing vocals provide a rude awakening. With his gruff, doom influenced singing, it brutally collides with Andrea's voice providing a beauty and the beast outcome. This approach is commonly found in gothic music, and is in no ways out of place.
The change to playing nu-metal may seem strange at first, but after a few listens, it is apparent that the formula works. Without the excessive use of synthesizers, their songs are quite simple in design. A perfect example of this would be ‘Our Truth’ which boasts intricate synthesizers throughout the entire song, as well as relatively simple drums and guitars. It is still an enjoyable listen, and the most logical choice for the first single. The chugging guitars of the album sound uninspired and weak in comparison to previous albums, but the weakness adds a distinct melody to the music. Bass guitars are easily audible (perhaps too audible) and provide the signature sound which you would expect from any given Korn album. The overly powerful bass guitars can sound motonous at times, but overall provide an angst to the otherwise blindly cheerful music. Everything that works against them also works for them.
Most of the songs on the album sound extremely similar, which is a blessing as well as a curse. It ensures that the album will flow nicely, but it also ensures that some may grow tired half way through the CD. Some also may complain that the band has chosen a sickeningly mainstream path, and old fans may be disappointed from the lack of heavy guitars. ‘To the Edge’, however, has obvious hooks as well as a catchy beat, claiming itself as a superior song. ‘What I See’ claims the heaviest riffs off of the album, and perhaps the most gothic feel, which is saying something considering the album’s unusual absence of depression. Many would label this as nu-metal, but examining the weak guitars it fundamentally plays out as radio friendly hard rock with a twist.
Middle-eastern vocals compliment the music quite well.
The simple moody beats make up for the lack of gothic material
Back up vocals are used to the greatest extent
Music can be too simple and repetitive
Old fans may look away
Washed out guitars
Possible overuse of synthesizers
3.5/ 5 – Great
To the Edge
What I See
Fragments of Faith