Italian rock band Lacuna Coil released its latest effort, “Broken Crown Halo,” last week. The band’s most anticipated release since 2006’s breakthrough “Karmacode” thrust it into the spotlight, and the album promises a variety of musical styles, impressive musicianship and a driving rock beat fueling the ride. This effort rises to the occasion, but it fails to reach the same standout level as “Karmacode.”
“Broken Crown Halo” begins with “Nothing Stands in Our Way,” quickly establishing the dark themes present throughout the album. The bass drum pounds, the guitars chug along and the Lacuna Coil-trademark synth provides a nice backdrop. The album really hits its stride with the second song, though. “Zombies” is a brilliant song. It is very dark with the instrumentation to match. Here, listeners hear the classic male-female duality that is unique in Lacuna Coil’s vocal section. The two vocalists often harmonize, though their voices have drastically different tones and keys, making for a very distinct sonic quality.
Later in the album, “Cybersleep” slows it down a bit. Not quite a ballad but not yet a rocker, this track portrays the more melodic side of the band and truly showcases female singer Cristina Scabbia’s beautiful voice. “Infection” quickly brings the speed back up, providing one of the most driving songs on the album. This song is in the vein of very classic Lacuna Coil. Those who know the band’s song “Our Truth” from the Rock Band video game, or any of its work from the “Karmacode” era, will be right at home here. With Arabi- influenced vocal sections during the bridge, powerful drum sections and low-tuned guitars, this is Lacuna Coil through and through.
The album as a whole is quite enjoyable, but it does have one fatal flaw: there are no truly standout songs. Yes, “Zombies” and “Infection” are very good; however, they are just par for the course with this band and this genre. It is tough to write a distinct song, but Lacuna Coil has done it in the past. Unfortunately, it just did not happen on this record. The songs also tend to blend together too much after a while. Too many of them feature the same type of synth or guitar parts, so much so that it starts to sound like the band wrote the same song a few times and changed the lyrics. For these reasons, “Broken Crown Halo” recieves a 7.5/10 from me. It is still an enjoyable listen, but do not expect anything spectacular. If you are a fan of the band’s previous work or of Rob Zombie, Flyleaf, Within Temptation or Kamelot, I recommend this album. Otherwise, you will not really be missing anything here.
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