Every Lacuna Coil album ranked from worst to best

Lacuna Coil’s Cristina Scabbia
(Image credit: Cunene)

Since they emerged from Milan in the mid-1990s, Lacuna Coil have become bona fide gothic metal royalty. Their angular riffs, those irresistible hooks and, of course, the interplay between front-duo Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro have powered nine albums of gracefully dark melody-making. But which of these Italian maestros’ hours is their finest? Below, Hammer has ranked every Lacuna Coil studio album from worst to best.

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9. Shallow Life (2009)

Lacuna Coil’s fifth album was meant to be a critique on superficiality, but it fell flat musically. Missing the nu metal crunch of predecessor Karmacode and stripped of the opulence that characterised the band’s earlier material, Shallow Life meanders. Though it’s not a complete car crash (Spellbound is an obvious standout), it’s slim pickings.

8. Dark Adrenaline (2012)

Dark Adrenaline isn’t a terrible album; it’s just an unremarkable one. Meaty opener Trip The Darkness and a cinematic Intoxicated provide the highpoints amongst more generic, forgettable fare. There’s still little here we haven’t heard from the band before, however – plus that truly horrible cover of R.E.M.’s Losing My Religion misses the mark in every way. 

7. Broken Crown Halo (2014)

By the time Lacuna Coil released their seventh album, it felt like they had made the same statement at least three times in a row. The last release to feature the long-term members Cristiano “Pizza” Migliore  (guitars) and Cristiano “Criz” Mozzati (drums), Broken Crown Halo packs more grit and punch than predecessor Dark Adrenaline (Cybersleep and frequent set-closer Nothing Stands In Our Way are the highlights). Yet, there’s still no doubt by this point: the band were treading water. 

6. In A Reverie (1999)

Dreamy, doomy and gothic, Lacuna Coil’s debut has aged very well. Circle, To Myself I Turned and Glass Veins have lost none of their majesty and, while the Italians’ approach at this point is clearly indebted to Paradise Lost and The Gathering’s 1995 album Mandylion, Cristina and Andrea’s serene/raw vocal attack set this bunch apart right from the start. A promising beginning.

5. Karmacode (2006)

By the mid-2000s, Lacuna Coil had nailed their ethereal goth ways. So, it was a surprise when they changed gears with fourth album Karmacode, introducing a more mainstream, chunky, nu metal-flavoured sound with focus on melody. The move sacrificed much of their splendour and atmospherics, and tracks like The Game and Closer feel a tad too simplistic, but elsewhere, the band proved they had mastered a hook. Their excellent cover of Depeche Mode’s Enjoy The Silence broke them to an even bigger audience, too.

4. Unleashed Memories (2001)

Lacuna Coil’s second album is an elegant, slow-burning gem. You need to work a little harder to get under the surface of these songs, but once you do, there’s an abundance of gorgeous charms to discover. From the sumptuous and dignified Heir Of A Dying Day to a towering To Live Is To Hide, the still very Paradise Lost-influenced When A Dead Man Walks to the ornate Cold Heritage, the band were evolving at pace.

3. Delirium (2016)

In their post-Karmacode period, Lacuna Coil had settled into a safe, predictable groove. Then, with eighth album Delirium, they changed their methodology once again. On its release, tracks like Broken Things and Blood, Tears, Dust were dark and dripping with claustrophobic tension. They were startlingly heavy as well, helped in no small part by vocalist Andrea Ferro putting in some of his best guttural vocals to date. Foreboding, haunted and cold, it was the sound of a band renewed.  

2. Black Anima (2019)

Lacuna Coil’s most recent album finds them in fantastic form. Picking up where Delirium left off, the band have only continued to get heavier, leaving the generic, featherlight melodies of their mid-career slump far behind. Packed with atmosphere and highlights in Sword Of Anger and Layers Of Time, it’s not as stark as its predecessor, while the Exorcist vibes of Veneficium are definitely something they should lean into in the future. Whereas Cristina’s piercing vocals are dependably great, pushing her voice to new height on Reckless, the biggest surprise is Andrea,: unrecognisable from the band’s early days, his bowel-rattling vocals takes the band’s stylings to an ever more twisted realm.

1. Comalies (2002)

Comalies is the moment everything came together for Lacuna Coil in terms of aesthetics and sound, but also songwriting, which took everything up a notch. It was led by two excellent singles: the celestial Swamped and Heaven’s A Lie – which marries an earworm chorus with glossy, apocalyptic grandeur – and broke the band on MTV.

The opus is also a trove of emotionally-charged gems, with Daylight Dancer, Humane, Tight Rope and Entwined all deserving a place on a countdown of the band’s best songs. In 2022, Lacuna Coil celebrated the album’s 20th anniversary by rearranging and re-recording it for a retrospective, Comalies XX, adding a heavier, more ferocious slant to the tracklist. It couldn’t hold a candle to the original, though, which remains a goth metal classic – not to mention the band’s undisputed masterpiece. 

Dannii Leivers

Danniii Leivers writes for Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog, The Guardian, NME, Alternative Press, Rock Sound, The Line Of Best Fit and more. She loves the 90s, and is happy where the sea is bluest.