I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. Lacuna Coil, a band in search of a wider audience, is moving forward full steam with a much more mainstream oriented sound. It could be sensed with Karmacode, but here it is much more evident. That said, this is a bit of a disappointment considering the band I discovered with Comalies and as an opening act for Anthrax. The funny thing is, just as this is a let down based on their previous output, I still found myself drawn in to the catchy hooks and hypnotic vocal of Cristina Scabbia.
When I first heard of Lacuna Coil, it came in the wake of the Evanescence explosion. I feel this is part of the reason they have not found their success here in the states. Whenever I ask anyone if they listen to Lacuna Coil, they usually give me a puzzled look and say"No." After explaining the Evanescence comparison they get it. The problem is that in mainstream eyes they are seen as also rans, riding the coattails of the band that hit before them, which simply isn't true. So, it strikes me that over the course of the past couple of albums they have been modifying their sound, playing more towards the mainstream style and dropping the nu-metal trappings of their earlier releases in an effort to break through.
Shallow Life evoked a variety of feelings. There was sadness over the apparent demise of the nu-metal and edgier side of their sound (sure to live on in live performances). At the same time, I kind of like where they are going, it is just going to take a little time to get used to. As much as I prefer the prior releases, this direction seems to fit them like a glove.
Lacuna Coil will go as far as Cristina Scabbia's voice can take them. It makes sense to play up the melodic elements of their sound, making them the focal point. This is easily their most melodic release, instead of worrying about their riffing, they focus more on the song structure, softening the edges, making it more accessible while still feeling distinctly like Lacuna Coil. Something else that is new with this album is a more widespread use of backing keyboards. They add atmosphere and other touches to the overall sound. I like the effect, it fills out the sound and gives the production a nice feel.