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Music Reviews: Lacuna Coil, Silent Opera, Xandria, Diabulus in Musica, Opera X, and Touchstone

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Hope you had a good week. Now it is time for some more hard rock goodness.

In the female-fronted metal arena there are several releases to review this week. The first one is from the mighty Lacuna Coil, with Dark Adrenaline. While many other groups in the poppy end of the genre have lost their way, LC continues to excite. If you like what they do, there is more of it here. Female-fronted modern metal with male contra-singing never sounded better. This is a catchy release that never gets old. And hell they even got me to like “Losing my Religion” by my musical bête noir, R.E.M.

With Nightwish’s quality on the wane since Targa left the band, there is room for a new top frock metal band. Thus, we have Silent Opera with their release Immortal Beauty. This album reminds fans of the genre why it was likeable in the first place, with none of the pop singing/lyrics. Female-fronted operatic metal rarely gets any better than this. You will like it more with each listen.

Also vying for Nightwish’s crown is Xandria with their album Neverworld’s End. Very much the pretty frock metal of old, it has all the right elements going for it. Manuela Kraller certainly has the pipes for this sort of full bore gothic metal. The fact the band is on Napalm Records shows that someone thinks they are going places. This is great stuff that might not be as instantly catchy as some, but worth the listening investment.

For something harder, there is Diabulus in Musica and their release, The Wanderer. This is something for those desperately waiting for the next Therion release. Everything is huge and epic while at the same time being heavy and driving. Tender operatic female vocals over heavy metal never gets old.

Of course, if you are not keen on female vocals but still like it dark and gothic, there is always Opera X with their latest, Strix Maledictae in Aeternum. This sounds nothing like opera at all and reminds one of Cradle of Filth, but not so camp. At times, it is almost amusing because it takes itself way the hell too seriously.

Touchstone have a new release called The City Sleeps. There is a proggy feel mixed with a modern female rock vibe. The title track weighs in at almost 12 minutes, which might be pushing it to be honest. It is a good release, but lacks a certain flair needed to make a full and lasting impression. This is certainly a band to watch.

Thanks for reading and stay safe out there.

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