Karmacode Review / Jason Levine

Karmacode Cover

Out of the Italian city of Milan comes the newest force in the music scene. Lacuna Coil has released their fourth full-length album, Karmacode, which will make them a household name in the music scene. There had been speculation that Lacuna Coil would change their sound to attract a more mainstream audience on this album. Older fans have nothing to worry about as the band keeps their signature melodies while also adding a heavier and more upbeat complexion to their music. If you are looking for an album that combines brutal riffs with angelic vocal melodies, then Karmacode is the best that the female metal world has to offer. This album is full of Middle Eastern flavor with a stronger, faster pace than previous efforts from Lacuna Coil. As usual, Cristina and her voice are the highlight of the experience. Let’s run through the album to see why Lacuna Coil will be the breakout artists of 2006.

1. Fragile – This song starts off with Cristina in a Middle Eastern vocal chant, which becomes a theme to this album. The heavy groove to this song captures you as soon as the band starts playing. A chugging riff highlights the introduction. As the keyboards enter the riff you feel the power of the album and realize that you are in for a special experience. Then Lacuna Coil shows their new direction as Andi sings the lead song off Karmacode, while accompanied by Cristina as a background vocalist. This song truly shows Andi’s improvements vocally and he lets the world know that he is here to stay. The delivery of the chorus “He’s Watching Me” is hypnotic and powerful. As a lead-off song, Fragile draws you in from the beginning and never lets up. 10 of 10

2. To The Edge – A slow guitar riff starts this gem off and then the song picks up pace a few seconds in. Cristina starts off the song with her smooth vocals on the verses. The signature Lacuna Coil sound comes through on the song as Andi sing the chorus and then Cristina joins in to complete the chorus. The music is upbeat throughout and you feel your heart pumping to the heavy beats. This is the next evolution for the band and they have taken the past success of songs such as Heaven’s A Lie and incorporated even faster paced grooves to bring out the heart of their music. 10 of 10

3. Our Truth – This is the first single off of Karmacode. The song has already been featured on the Underworld: Evolution soundtrack. Criz starts off the song with a pulsing drum beat and Cristina joins in with more of her chants. This song incorporates the new Middle Eastern style beats that the band has added to their repertoire. With the heavier pace of this song we get a chance to hear more of the raw Cristina vocals during the verses to the song. When she arrives at the chorus she goes back to her hypnotic angelic vocals which are her trademark. During the middle of the song Marco adds a quick bass solo, which is another feature that is prominent during Karmacode. Something different on the album version than on the single is an additional ending which includes more of the beat continuing. 9 of 10

4. Within Me – The first ballad on the album is a pleasure as Cristina shows her range very well here. This is the first song on the album that harkens back to an earlier age of music. The feel of the song is similar to Seal’s “Kiss From A Rose”. Lacuna Coil has broadened their music here with harmonic guitar work and have a true hit on their hands when they decide to release this ballad off of Karmacode. This song shows how much their music has matured over the years and how the band is ready to make the leap into the mainstream. Critical acclaim is in store for this song as you can feel the passion erupting from Cristina throughout. 10 of 10

5. Devoted – A heavy intro is delivered here, which goes well into the second song where Andi gets the duties of singing the verses. For those fans who were waiting to hear more of Andi in Lacuna Coil songs, this album fulfills your wishes and shows off his new range which has improved dramatically from early albums such as In A Reverie. Cristina adds another melodic chorus to the song, which again brings you to another world. Her trademark vocals are on full display on this song and she doesn’t disappoint. A slow but melodic riff backs up this song and the quality of the music has been notched up from Comalies to a more raw sounding straight-forward metal sound. During the song Andi asks the question “Can You Feel Me” and my answer is Yes, I can feel you. 10 of 10

6. You Create – A quick Middle Eastern (again the band goes back to that theme) interlude is added in to give the listener a chance to cool down before the second half of the album. Cristina again adds more chanting and adds a beauty to the music. 8 of 10

7. What I See – The heaviest intro on Karmacode brings us to the next song on the album. The change of pace from What I See is reminiscent of the transition from Aeon to Tight Rope. The riff this time chugs along with a pounding beat and reminds the listener of some of the heavier bands of today. The song then segways into another traditional use of the Lacuna Coil melodic sound. This song again takes the success of Comalies and adds a new musical direction with a raw sound that fits like a glove. Cristina has a wonderful chorus on this song and the band is extremely tight behind her. This is what Lacuna Coil has always strived for and they achieve it with What I See. 9 of 10

8. Fragments Of Faith – More Middle Eastern sounds start this song off. The band brings keyboards to the forefront again during the opening sequence and deep into the song. A mixture of the lead vocals are used here to add a nice harmony between Andi and Cristina. This song has a very upbeat mood from the beginning which builds through the song and it has a feel-good effect that past Lacuna Coil songs have not had. Musically this song has good breaks and draws you in with a powerful chorus. Marco has done a wonderful job with the music on the album and has truly found a new and exciting sound for Lacuna Coil while still keeping their trademark melodies. Andi brings back the death growl for a few interludes during the song, but it is Cristina’s angelic voice that hypnotizes you and brings you into a trance during the song. She asks “Can You Feel It” and again I answer Yes, I can feel it. 9 of 10

9. Closer – Wow! This is the song that will put Lacuna Coil on the map and will solidify their budding success. Usually a band puts their catchiest songs at the beginning of an album, but here at song number nine is the true highlight of the album. It starts out with Marco on a bass riff and then leads into the catchiest song I have heard in ages. When I say this song brings back memories of 80’s pop mixed in with a bit of Rush I am not kidding. Of course it has signature Lacuna Coil rhythm as well so don’t get scared off by my original description and think this is a fluff song. It is anything but. The groove and pacing of the song hooks you in full force. I can’t help but sing along to the chorus. This is the most accessible song the band has created and it will bring a new crop of fans to enjoy the music of the Coil. They would be foolish to release anything but Closer as their second single from Karmacode. The public will grab onto this one and the band will take off into the stratosphere. Upbeat and catchy, hip and pounding, this is the new Lacuna Coil. Cristina says she is “Looking For A Higher Ground” and the band has found a higher plane with this song. 10 of 10

10. In Visible Light – The second ballad from Karmacode is similar to past ballads from the band’s previous albums. They bring a good mix of vocals and musical melodies to the song. This is probably the moodiest song on the album and shows that Lacuna Coil hasn’t lost the feeling that brought them here in the first place. There is a deeper sound which is a progression from the older albums. Again this newer sound is wonderful and the band has an amazing album on their hands. 8 of 10

11. The Game – Chunking rhythms and a driving beat bring this song to a different pace. The band decides to show off some of their individuality as there are both bass and guitar solos in this song. A traditional guitar solo is almost unheard of in today’s music and the guitar work here adds a nice touch to the song. Cristina has a haunting quaility on this song and Andi complements her nicely. This song again brings back the Middle Eastern groove that the band has decided to use as a theme for Karmacode. Heavy but melodic with a powerful ending riff. 8 of 10

12. Without Fear – A final ballad is added here with a bonus for fans. Lacuna Coil sings it in their native language of Italian. Each album the band adds a song that is in their native language. This one is the slowest paced of all their Italian songs and it is a wonderful piece. The music has an Italian flavor to it and makes you feel as though you are sitting in a bistro being serenaded by Cristina herself. An urge to travel around Italy while feeling an inner peace is brought out in this song. The music is relaxing and calming while retaining the style that Lacuna Coil knows best. 9 of 10

13. Enjoy The Silence – I never thought I would hear a cover, let alone a Depeche Mode cover on this album, but Lacuna Coil nails this song and Cristina adds her own special flair to an already amazing song. Honestly there is only one thing to say about this song “Words Are Very Unnecessary”, I love it! 10 of 10

So there you have it. Karmacode is the breakout album Lacuna Coil has been waiting for since they first arrived on the U.S. scene three years ago. They are a shining star in an under-populated female metal scene here in the States and they will be a rising force in the future. If an album can truly define a band, then Karmacode shows the greatness of Lacuna Coil. Huge crossover success in the mainstream is coming with this release and one of the hardest working bands in the business will finally get their due. Watch out Amy Lee and Evanescence there is a new Queen Bee in town and her name is Cristina Scabbia and her band is Lacuna Coil.

Album: 10 of 10

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