Lacuna Coil brings a fresh and contemporary touch to Comalies

It’s a sign of growing old age that every day an album you thought you’d released in the last five years takes a much bigger step. It is therefore with Comalia, the third album from Italians Lacuna Coil, and they really did a great job of bringing the album to life with dynamic production. It’s also more than just a spray job and a new set of wheels.

Lacuna Coil – Comalies XX (Century Media Records)

Release date: October 14, 2022

Texts: Paul Hutchings

Formed in Milan in 1994 by vocalist Andrea Ferro and bassist Marco Coti Zelati, Cristina Scabbia joined the band in 1996, which was playing under the name Ethereal at the time. At the time of Comalies’ release on October 29, 2002, the band consisted of six musicians, with guitarists Marco Biazzi and Cristiano Migliore and drummer Cristiano Mozzati completing the line-up.

The rest, as they say, is history, with the core of Ferro, Scabbia and Zelati still at the center of the group. Comalies was the band’s third album, but also the first to really combine heaviness with more melodic and symphonic elements in a way they continue to use today.

Gap reel. Comales XX.

What did Lacuna Coil do with Comalies 20 years later? Well, the current lineup, which includes Scabbia, Ferro, Zelati, drummer Richard Meiz and guitarist Diego Cavallotti, completely revamped the songs and dragged them into 2022.

It’s still the same songs, of course, but it’s more than just a re-recording of the 13 tracks. It’s a total reinvention. Ferro’s voice is rougher, darker and heavier, the perfect foil for Scabbia’s extremely distinctive voice. It’s also heavier musically, with thundering double bass kicks and thick riffs adding depth, volume and weight, but always carefully to retain the vital melody that underpins all that is good about the Italians.

Opener Swamped and Heaven’s A Lie indicate the tempo increase, but it’s when you get to Daylight Dancer that you realize just how dark those songs were and still are. Humane follows, twisting and turning as if possessed, while Self Deception is muscular and compelling, the reworking bringing a fresh, contemporary feel and direction.

Single Tight Rope previewed the revamp in July. Ferro’s extreme voice rages alongside Scabbia’s superb soprano. It’s a tightly-knit, powerfully constructed song, and provides a compelling demonstration of just how much the band has developed since releasing that album 20 years ago. It’s on The Prophet Said that we see the band flex their Metal muscles. Ferro brings a deep-throated roar, the music is extremely heavy and Scabbia floats above it all in an ethereal way.

Reel Lacuna - Comalies XX.

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 ways, is now more like Black Anima’s successor, released three years ago.

If you’re not a big fan of the band, you might not pick it up. The fact that it can even be considered part of the same series of music is a credit to the band for the work they have done here.

If you already have the album, it’s definitely worth listening to. If you don’t have a copy, this is the perfect opportunity to rectify that.

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