I love the non-cookie monster version of Lacuna Coil, and despite the fact that the said creature is evident in this album, I do find that overall I’m still smiling after the last track. Cristina Scabbia’s voice is amazing, above and beyond the beauty that she exhibits, and the voice just casts a spell over me. I prefer her vocals to the female leads who have performed with the more highly acknowledged Nightwish. I wonder why, as though there are comparatives that may apply, I do find them quite different.
Black Anima is their ninth album, and I suppose it follows much of what has come before, but that would be unfair as they explore new sounds and new ways of getting laryngitis here. Anima Nera is one of those explorations where you can listen to the purity of Cristina’s voice as she intones the words in an almost rhythmic fashion.
With Black Anima, as Scabbia says in their press release, “We’ve stopped comparing records, every record we’ve done was a picture of the time in which we wrote it. This record, Black Anima, was really written around our live performances. The songs we enjoy playing live the most are the heavier ones. So, when we started writing, the songs naturally were heavier. We have more growls (for Andrea) and epic parts (for me), too. Over the years, we’ve mixed European and American styles, but I would say it’s hard to describe what we sound like now. It’s still Lacuna Coil — our trademark — but it’s also a new trip, one we want our fans to enjoy.”
In those terms I actually love and enjoy around 85%; there is melody, that rhythmic feel, superb female lead and I cannot fault Andrea Ferro, but prefer it when he drops the growl and sings as well as he can. I suspect my Slipknot loving sister would enjoy it though.
Sword of Anger really is quite cross, Strepsils to the fore, it sits well within that Alt.Metal space, with its numerous sub-genres – solid metal, acid metal, iron metallica, extreme ironing and the ilk. The Coil sit well within their niche. Reckless is great, the balance between audible and not is right, the musicianship throughout the album is fantastic, but music is more than a representation of technical ability. If it were, Dream Theater would be universally loved.
Four tracks in, I’m tending to treat the acid vocal as a form of distorted bass and drums, but I’m still smiling. It is music that I can find just too angry, but since my FOPP discovery of 2004’s Comallies) a few years ago, my soft spot remains. They are so progressive, nothing really stays still, and as music to scare sheep, there is no parallel.
The delivery here is speed metal. Should I put this on in the car, and you are perhaps from a small bohemian market town on the river Dart looking for a lift, then may I suggest public transport. I am unlikely to be driving slowly.
Nearly all the tracks follow the combinations of bark and sonically soar, and though I will lean to the latter and their informed melodies, I find the energy of the raw tracks sufficient for me to enjoy. Layers of Time, Apocalypse, all fall into the raw, Reckless and Save Me probably being my favourites, but the more I listen, the more the raw roar becomes acceptable.
The speed at which the guitar solos are churned out is amazing – played it until my fingers bled, that was the summer of ’69! Each song on the album is “tied” to the custom made Tarot deck (78 cards?) that, since produced, I guess may exist as a merch item somewhere; I’d love to see them!
Veneficium is truly epic, the first track blasted out in the car, another car park cleared on Dartmoor as heavy metal loving sheep gather; the ponies not so keen.
I sadly have only the single CD version, those who purchase the 2CD benefit from three more tracks. But as albums grow with repeated listens I have no doubt that the three bonus tracks tie well with Tarot picture cards.
Would I buy? You may think not, but I would say yes, as Now or Never growls “WALK ME OUT OF HELL!”, though the chime that recurs makes me want to say “Space; The Final Frontier…”
01. Anima Nera (2:29)
02. Sword Of Anger (3:54)
03. Reckless (3:06)
04. Layers Of Time (4:07)
05. Apocalypse (4:18)
06. Now Or Never (4:42)
07. Under The Surface (4:13)
08. Veneficium (6:10)
09. The End Is All I Can See (4:17)
10. Save Me (04:36)
11. Black Anima (3:23)
~ Bonus tracks on Ltd Edition 2CD Book & Digital Versions:
12. Black Feathers (4:10)
13. Through The Flames (5:29)
14. Black Dried Up Heart (3:50)
Total Time – 45:15 (58:44 with bonus tracks)
Cristina Scabbia – Vocals
Andrea Ferro – Vocals
Marco ‘Maki’ Coti-Zelati – Guitars, Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Synths
Richard Meiz – Drums
Diego ‘Didi’ Cavalotti — Guitars
Record Label: Century Media
Country of Origin: Italy
Date of Release: 11th October 2019