We’re in a quiet, empty café underneath a Brisbane hotel, sitting across from Frank Carter …
Black Anima is the ninth album from Italian metal band Lacuna Coil.
Generally considered one of the hallmark bands in ‘gothic metal’, Lacuna Coil continue to intensify as the albums stack up. 2016’s Delirium blew out the already high expectations of the band that has consistently personified the velvety darkness of symphonic metal since forming in 1994. Black Amina continues this upward crescendo, laden with richly melodic, venomously malevolent and thunderingly heavy tracks. What really sets it apart, however, is that this time, as the title suggests, Lacuna Coil gaze inwards, courting the dark night of the soul.
The unsettling nightscape-like atmosphere of Black Anima is set with the opening vignette Anima Nera. Vocalist Christina Scabbia’s demonic melody line weaves through edgy pulsating rhythms to invoke a sense of deep unease between luxury and madness. Scabbia’s haunting melodies continue in the heavier second track Sword Of Anger, duelling with the guttural power of vocalist Andrea Ferro to deliver a track that showcases the lusciousness of Lacuna Coil’s sound set alongside the dangerously introspective themes of Black Anima. Inevitably, in familiar Lacuna Coil style, there is the essence of the gothic.
Black Anima is a fiery and empowering working of introspection played out on a cosmic or multi-dimensional scale, but never once does it rely upon excessive theatrics or overblown metaphors.
Operatic drama opens Veneficium, with a wistful solo, and the synth-drenched sultriness of The End Is All I Can See belie the faint presence of melodrama, just enough to grant character to the album. A deeper current of the gothic really comes through, however, in two of the most mature and well-developed songs on Black Anima, Layers Of Time and Save Me. From the iconic opening bars of Layers Of Time, celestial imagery of the passage of time and the ongoing reconciliation of its effects are delivered with intricate delicacy. The lonely tower of the self then manifests in Save Me, as a profound spoken word piece by Scabbia and swelling symphonic-laced sections capture the album’s theme of internal darkness, yet smouldering hope remains. The title track closes the album, and it is a turbulent tale of eerie, enchanting accents and rumbling, discordant riffs oscillating with bewitching and ferocious vocal lines.
By turning inwards, Lacuna Coil also sets this mirror onto the listener. Adherents to dark but angry, turbulently gothic metal will find in Black Anima a disconcertingly comforting embrace. This isn’t a peaceful journey, however, waif-like or overly grandiose. Black Anima is a fiery and empowering working of introspection played out on a cosmic or multi-dimensional scale, but never once does it rely upon excessive theatrics or overblown metaphors. Instead, it allows us to take from it what we will, and revel, scream, and weep in the textures of midnight.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Sword Of Anger, Layers Of Time, Black Anima
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