It’s a sign of increasing old age that every day an album you thought was released within the last five years hits a milestone of far greater depth. So it is with Comalies, the third album by Italians Lacuna Coil, and they have really done a great job in bringing the album to life with a vibrant production. It’s also a lot more than just a spray job and a new set of wheels.
Lacuna Coil – Comalies XX (Century Media Records)
Release Date: 14 October 2022
Words: Paul Hutchings
Formed in Milan in 1994 by singer Andrea Ferro and bassist Marco Coti Zelati, 1996 saw Cristina Scabbia join the band, who at the time were playing under the name Ethereal. By the time they released Comalies on 29 October 2002, the band were a six-piece, with guitarists Marco Biazzi and Cristiano Migliore and drummer Cristiano Mozzati completing the lineup.
The rest, as they say, is history, with the core of Ferro, Scabbia and Zelati always central to the band. Comalies was the band’s third record, but also the first to really combine heaviness with more melodic and symphonic elements in a way that they continue to use today.
What has Lacuna Coil done with Comalies 20 years on then? Well, the current lineup, which comprises Scabbia, Ferro, Zelati, drummer Richard Meiz and guitarist Diego Cavallotti have given the songs a complete overhaul and dragged them into 2022.
They are still the same songs, of course, but it’s more than just a re-recording of the 13 tracks. It’s a total reimagining. Ferro’s vocals are gruffer, darker, and heavier throughout, the perfect foil for Scabbia’s hugely distinctive voice. It’s heavier musically as well, with thunderous double bass kicking and thick riffs adding depth, volume, and heft, but always with care to retain the vital melody that underpins everything good about the Italians.
Opener Swamped and Heaven’s A Lie indicate the increase in tempo, but it’s when you get to Daylight Dancer that you realise how dark these songs were and still are. Humane follows, twisting and turning as if possessed, whilst Self Deception is muscular and compelling, the reworking bringing a fresh and contemporary feel and direction.
Single Tight Rope provided the first taste of the overhaul in July. Ferro’s extreme vocals rage alongside Scabbia’s superb soprano. It’s a tightly knit song, powerfully constructed, and provides a fascinating demonstration of how much the band has developed since this album first arrived 20 years ago. It’s on The Prophet Said that we see the band really flex their Metal muscles. Ferro brings a deep-throated roar, the music is poundingly heavy, and Scabbia floats above it all in an ethereal manner.
At 47 minutes in length, it’s a decent slab of an album. The closing title track, which features both Italian and English, is a fitting finale. The album, in many respects, now sounds more like the successor to Black Anima, released three years ago.
If you aren’t a huge fan of the band, you may well not pick this up. That it can even be considered in the same run of music is a credit to the band for the work they have completed here.
If you have the album already, it is certainly worth giving it a listen. If you don’t possess a copy, this is the ideal opportunity to rectify that.