Lacuna Coil - Comalies
- October 29, 2002 on Century Media Records
Cristina Scabbia - Female Vocals
Andrea Ferro - Male Vocals
Marco Coti Zelati - Bass/Keyboards/Synths
Maus - Guitars
Cristiano Migliore - Guitars
Cristiano Criz Mozzati - Drums/Percussion
Metal bands with female singers.
We have all seen them before, in many different ways, shapes, and forms. They can be very popular (Evanescence comes to mind), or they can be underground. The ranges of the bands can be varied, some favoring a more traditional metal sound, some adding technoish elements to their music, some making their music more and more symphonic...the list of elements goes on and on.
Enter Lacuna Coil. This six piece band hails from Italy, and are at the top of their game. The group released their first record, a self titled EP, in November of 1997. They followed that up with their first full length, entitled In A Reverie. At this time, Cristina and Andrea (nicknamed Andi) were the only original members in the group. The others were replaced by the ones in the band today, minus Maus. In 2000, the group recruited Maus as a second guitarist and recorded the Half-Life EP. This lineup has remained stable ever since, and the group has recorded two more full lengths, Unleashed Memories and Comalies.
When you first pop in this record, it may seem simplistic on the first listen (simplistic in a good way, mind you). However, as you listen more and more, you hear layer upon layer upon layer of synths. Marco does a good job with the synths, and he makes them catchy and adds a riduculous amount to the music (again, in a good way). This helps give the music an unprecedented epicness, and makes each track seem that much more melodic.
The album kicks off with Swamped
, which was a single from the album. It starts off with what sounds like a delayed guitar and synths. A few seconds later, the whole band kicks in, with distortion and everything, and you first hear Cristina’s voice. Some may compare her to a sexed-up version of Amy Lee from Evanescence, but she is in a league all her own. Her voice fits perfectly with the music. The intro is repeated twice, with more synths in the second part, and the distortion fades. Andi comes in with male vocals, and he is the perfect complement to Cristina: gruff to her emotionalness. Cristina begins to repeat what he says a few seconds later, and then Cristina is left by herself with the rest of the band. The band becomes heavy again, and replays the intro, minus the vocals. Another verse, another chorus, and the intro is repeated yet again. Some may complain about the repetitiveness; however, it helps define the band, and they do it quite well. One guitar is left, with the rest of the band coming in with short hits every so often. The chorus is repeated, and everything fades, leaving the very beginning of the song repeated again. I personally don’t like this song very much; however, many others did. 8/10
The next song, Heaven’s A Lie
, was another single from the album. I personally think this is the better single of the two original singles. Begins with a piano and a single distorted guitar playing high up. The piano fades; however, the guitar keeps repeating, and is soon joined by the instrumental portion of the band at one of its heaviest moments. Its slow, heavy, and at the same time, melodic, thanks to the synths and strings of Marco. Guitar begins to palm-mute, and Cristina comes in. A short while later, the palm muting stops, and one guitar and many layers of synths are left. The bass does its own little thing under this, and Cristina sings her last phrase of the section. The heavy part comes in, this time with Andi on vocals. From the lyrics, the song seems to be about being set free from lies. Andi sings,
“Set me free/Your heaven’s a lie
Set me free with your love/set me free, yeah”
Verse is repeated, interlude part is repeated, chorus is repeated again. Then, the interlude comes back, and is repeated twice, once without vocals, once with. Then, all the instruments fade out, and Cristina is left singing the chorus with just strings and synths backing her up. The rest of the band comes in, and Andi takes the helm of the vocals once again. The song ends with the intro playing twice, and then the piano hits a series of ever softening notes. A good song, and a good choice for a single. 9/10
The third song, Daylight Dancer
, is one of the highlights of the album. It begins with what almost sounds like a music box and a chime. A technoish noise sounds, and drums and bass come in with Andi on vocals. Guitars come in shortly after, and soon, Cristina takes over vocals with single chords held. The chorus begins, and follows the relatively same style as the verses. An instrumental part follows, with the intro being played under the rest of the band. The instrumental part of Cristina’s interlude are played under Andi’s voice, and the chorus is repeated soon after. Another instrumental interlude is played, and the instruments fade out, leaving Cristina and the music box. The chorus is repeated twice, with a little variation on the second part, and the song ends abruptly. I really liked this track...it was very easy to get into. 10/10
The fourth track, Humane
, slows things down a bit from the last track. It opens with a synth being played under Cristina’s wailing. Guitars slowly fade in, and the intro is repeated a few times with the whole band playing over it. Cristina and the synths fade, and Andi is accompanied by the band. This song isn’t focused on heaviness; rather, it is more concerned with atmosphere. Very few actual chords are played in this song. Cristina takes over vocals, and her voice matches perfectly with the emotion of the music. She holds her notes, guitar chords are played, and Andi comes back in under her. Cristina’s voice goes up an octave or so, and the verse is played a bit differently. Andi comes back in, and his voice has gone up as well. The chorus is repeated twice. Synths are more prominant in this part of the song, and it goes to its most emotional part. Cristina comes back in, and she is just beautiful over this part...it really lends a hand to the atmosphere. The guitars play chords, and the synths from the intro are played again, minus the vocals. A slowly mounting drumbeat, and the chorus is repeated. The chorus is repeated a second time, and Andi puts a LOT of emotion into this part. His voice goes up an octave or so, and the instruments fade out, leaving a choir to fade out. A decent song...worth a listen. 8.5/10
The fifth track, Self Deception
, is another decent track on the album. It begins with Cristina singing over guitars and drums. This part of the song makes you want to turn the volume up on your stereo...it is quieter than the rest of the song. A slow snare roll, and the whole band comes in. Andi comes in later over palm-muted guitar chords. One guitar plays a different part than the other, and the intro is repeated once. Andi comes back in, and then fades out, as the intro is played with Cristina singing over it. And then...the chorus. Ah, the chorus is a beautiful piece of work. Cristina sings, and another voice (possibly hers overdubbed?) sings harmony to her. One guitar plays power chords, the other a little piece that goes well with both the low chords and Cristina’s voice. The intro is repeated, with Cristina singing, “Whos gonna stop us?” over it. Andi’s part comes back in, and the intro with Cristina is repeated again. The chorus is repeated twice, and some slow alternate picking ensues, first with both guitars playing the same thing, then harmonized, then the same thing with one guitar an octave higher than the other. The chorus is repeated twice, and the song ends. Nothing too standoutish, but not worth skipping over, especially for the chorus. 9/10
takes a change from the pacing of the other tracks; it is an acoustic track. Starts off with an acoustic guitar which sounds like it was put through a delay pedal. Another acoustic guitar joins it, and then leaves, leaving the one acoustic guitar to repeat its part, almost mechanically, a few times. It stops, and then plays a new part with Cristina over it. The atmosphere of this song is more subdued...it’s more focused on the vocals than anything. The intro part of the song is repeated with Cristina’s vocals over it. The verse is repeated, with the addition of a synth. Cristina’s voice goes higher in the second repetition of the intro, and then the song ends with a fadein to the next. This song is almost an intro to the next track. I usually skip over this song. 6/10
The next track, Tight Rope
, ends on the fadein of the last song. Begins with synths, and bassdrum, cymbals, and bass join it soon after. A sampled voice and guitar piece, and the whole band comes in, backed by a keyboard. The verse begins, and the guitars stop playing power chords and focus on more subdued riffs. Andi and Cristina sing harmony in this part, with Andi getting the more dominant part. Keyboards soon join, and the chorus begins. In traditional Lacuna Coil style, one guitar plays power chords, another plays a different riff, and Cristina sings the chorus. The intro keyboards are repeated over alternate palm muted/normal chords. The verse is repeated, and one guitar adds power chords here and there. The chorus is repeated. The very beginning is repeated with the whole band playing one power chord over it, and the drums adding little fills here and there. The chorus is repeated yet again, and is varied a little bit. The band fades out, leaving some sampled voices, which soon fade out. Another skippable track; however, the chorus in this one is decent. 8/10
The Ghost Woman And The Hunter
begins with synths. A clean guitar joins it soon afterwards, and strings (played on synths) join the guitar. Drums and bass come in, and Cristina comes in a few seconds afterwards. This track is more atmospherical than the rest of the album...its very pretty and symphonic. Distortion kicks in, and Cristina and Andi sing harmonized, this time with Cristina getting the dominant part. As usual, the 2 guitars play different parts, and the strings and other synths back up the rest of the band. The intro synths are repeated over the drums, and the verse is repeated. Cristina and another female voice bounce off of each other, and the chorus is repeated. A single synth is left, with Cristina singing in a lower voice, and another voice (much higher) singing, “And I’m gonna be moving on.” More synths come in over the voices, and the whole band kicks in for one last chorus. The other voice stays with the chorus, and another voice joins them. The last notes are played, and the song ends. The album is starting to show its age here, i think...three skippable tracks in a row. 8.5/10
However, we are quickly saved by Unspoken
, quite possibly the best track on the album. It starts off in full force; the whole band minus the vocalists play, and the synths have a few different parts in the intro. Cristina comes in, and the guitars turn off the distortion, favoring a delay pedal instead. The distortion comes back in, and so do the synths. Cristina continues to sing, and is joined by Andi as the harmony, and another, higher female voice (possibly Cristina overdubbing herself). The intro part serves as the backing music for the chorus as well. Synths are varied a little, and a short interlude is played with harmonized clean guitars and what sounds like fingerpicked string instruments. The strings fade out, and the second part (the distorted part) of the verse is repeated. Another chorus is played. The emotion in the chorus is unprecedented with the rest of the album...its just great. Chorus is repeated with a slight variation. Strings and synths come back in, and the guitars play a new riff. The instrumental part of the chorus is played again, and Cristina and Andi harmonize their vocals, albeit differently then in the normal chorus...they have different lyrics in this part. The final chord is held, and the song ends. If you do decide to buy the album, even if you don’t like the other tracks, buy it solely for this track. It’s just that good. 10/10
The tenth track, Entwined
, starts with Cristina, a voice harmonized with Cristina, and a synth. 2 guitars with wawahs, one clean and one distorted, come in as Cristina stops singing. The distorted guitar leaves, and the rest of the band comes in, with the one guitar playing a chord at the start of each measure. The distorted guitar comes back in, very softly at first, and then builds until we reach the chorus. Traditional chorus...however, it is very beautiful. The synths have a beautiful part in the chorus. Another verse, and another chorus. Andi’s voice, although it is in the chorus, is not very prominant...until now. Andi and Cristina sing harmonized, “And you take me, over/Over again” over the instrumental part of the chorus. Single chords are played over synths, and the chorus is repeated yet again. The vocals fade out, and the instrumental part of the chorus is repeated again. The song ends with a held chord, and Cristina moaning (in a good way, mind you) at the end. Another excellent track. 9.5/10
The Prophet Said
begins with a blast. The whole band comes in; one guitar blasts a power chord and holds it, while the other plays the normal part the other guitar would play (if you listen to more than one Lacuna Coil song, you get the idea), and the bass and drums do their thing. Andi comes in with palm muted chords backing him up and (gasp), our first double beat! Actually, its slow enough to be played with one drum pedal, but its good nonetheless. The second guitar plays the other part of the intro, while the first plays the power chords. Andi stops, Cristina comes in, and a quieter part ensues. Cristina is a better vocalist than most give her credit for...she can sing as well as any other vocalist performing the type of music Lacuna Coil does. The intro is repeated again, and another verse is played. Another chorus is played twice, in traditional fashion. A simple drum roll, and the band holds its respective chords as strings come in and back Cristina up. Some drumbeats, and one guitar plays a clean part while one holds a distorted chord. The whole band comes in, and another voice comes in over Cristina’s. This part of the song is very beautiful...you can feel the emotion coming from the band. The intro is repeated with the palm muted chords, then the held chord, and the whole band fades out, with the clean guitar playing a few notes, then fading. A track worthy of listening to. 9/10
The twelfth track, Angel’s Punishment
, may be the hardest and heaviest track on this album. Begins with synths and a clean guitar. Some samples come in, and the instruments fade out as Cristina says “Destruction”. The whole band minus the guitars come in, with many synths layered playing. The clean guitar comes back in, and then the chorus kicks in. Andi screams the chorus, while Cristina sings the response. Another verse is played, with more synths than before. The layering in this song is really intense...so many things are being played at once. The chorus is repeated again...it may suprise some listeners who are familiar with the “normal” Lacuna Coil. An instrumental part, and only the samples and synths are left. The chorus comes back in, and is repeated a few times. The instrumental part comes back in, and the chorus is repeated again, this time without Cristina. Andi is a very good screamer...he may not show it much, but he can do it very well. The band fades, leaving the samples, which stop. Another highlight of the album. 10/10
And finally, we reach the end (finally in a good way). The last track, Comalies
, begins with synths...MANY synths. A guitar playing a “solo” begins to fade in, and the rest of the band comes in, playing the twin guitar styled music that Lacuna Coil does so well. The band fades, leaving the synths alone. The drums and bass come back in with the synths, and Cristina comes in, and begins singing in Italian. The guitars come back in on the second part of the verse. Andi takes over, and sings in English this time. Cristina comes back in, and she sings over only drums and many different synths. The guitars come back in, and go on for a while under Cristina. Another verse is played, again with Cristina singing in Italian. Andi comes in again, fades, and Cristina comes back in, and the “chorus” part of the song is repeated. A voice sings harmony to Cristina in this part. Heavy guitars fade, leaving a lone guitar, Cristina, and synths. A harmony singer joins Cristina later, and the heavier part of the chorus is repeated, with different vocals. Very very beautiful part of the song. 3 different voices sing 3 different vocals parts at this part. Everybody holds the last notes/chords, and the song ends. This is, by far, THE most emotional song on the album. It’s really worth a listen. Again, if you pick up the album for one song only, make it this one. Even if you don’t like the band, listen to this song. You won’t be disappointed. 10/10
: I had a lot of fun with this cd. Every person in the band does what they do well, and their outfits (especially Cristina’s) add to the mix, if you catch my drift. This is a cd that any fan of female symphonic metal would be proud of owning.
: Very emotional
Easy to listen to
Will satisfy fans of heavy and light music alike
: A bit repetitive
Lackluster middle section of the cd
Some parts may seem simplistic
Final Rating: 9/10
Note: If you can, pick up the Double Disc edition of this cd. The second disc comes with a few extra goodies: radio edits, studio and live acoustics, and the videos for the two singles. Plus, its the same price as the normal cd. Its worth the value.