She may share vocal duties with the growling Andrea Ferro in Lacuna Coil, but Cristina Scabbia has always attracted the spotlight. For a quarter of a century, she’s been Milan’s most gothic export, flooring crowds with her soaring voice. Such is her charisma that she’s in demand all over the world, and has collaborated with everyone from Megadeth to Alter Bridge. She also uses her downtime to stream on Twitch and is a bona fide videogame know-it-all. Does she even sleep?!
Here's how she fared when we threw some of your most pressing questions at her.
What is your favourite Final Fantasy game?
“VII, without a shadow of a doubt. The first one I played and the most iconic. It was the first one on PS1. It changed the world of videogames, especially in the RPG genre! I was really into the story and it came out when my love of videogames was getting even bigger. And I had a huge crush on Sephiroth.”
If you and Andrea had to swap roles, who’d sing the other’s parts best?
Rhiannon Clark, email
“Probably me, because they call me a parrot in the band; I like to imitate other people’s voices. I wouldn’t be as good as he is with growling, but I would definitely try my best to imitate him.”
Hammer: Is there ever a point, when you’re playing live and he’s singing, where you go “I wish I had this bit!”?
“I want to try growling, because I’ve never done it. I feel that, if I knew the technique, I’d be really good because I have a lot of volume on my diaphragm. There was one time in Atlanta where I had to sing the whole show because Andrea was in the hospital with a dislocated shoulder. We didn’t want to cancel the show. It was a lot of fun and extremely special, because I was singing those parts in a different way.”
Did it piss you off to be lumped in with the whole symphonic thing in the early 2000s and all the ‘female-fronted metal’ shit?
Lexi Johnson, Facebook
“It doesn’t really piss me off, because I understand that many people don’t know the kind of music we play. If you say ‘female-fronted band’, they kind of have an idea of the music you’re playing, even if every band is different. What I hate is when they put you in one category: ‘OK, the girl is gonna sing this way.’ You don’t ask a guy: ‘Are you part of a male-fronted band?’ It’s not a genre; it’s an indication that there’s a female who sings. So, if you like female voices, you’ll like it, but it’s not a genre.”
Are there any people/artists you would like to collaborate with that you haven’t already?
“A million artists! But I’ve always liked Korn. I know Jonathan Davis as a person and he’s awesome, and I’ve always found his vocal lines very interesting. I like the way he writes, even when he’s alone and writing soundtracks. I love music that was written for movies and videogames. I get a lot of inspiration from soundtracks. So, there are many artists I’d love to collaborate with and Jonathan is definitely one of them.”
Hammer: What franchise soundtrack would you love to do?
“Final Fantasy, although I don’t know if I could do ‘proper’ music for it, because it’s very classical. I’d love to do something for an action series or movie. Not Marvel or DC, though – maybe something more like John Wick, and especially the villain parts.”
Are there any more Italian-language songs on the horizon? Comalies was so beautiful!
“Not at the moment. We are writing new music and we just recorded for a special project. When we do write Italian parts, we don’t do it on purpose. For us, the sound of the words we’re singing is really important. Italian is perfect for traditional music, but if you use it in metal, it sounds weird.”
Hammer: What’s the special project?
“We’re basically redoing Comalies from scratch. We wanted to celebrate its 20th anniversary but not in a nostalgic way. We were very against a remastered version. We asked: ‘How can we celebrate it while being fresh and modern?’, so we rewrote it as we would have written it in 2022. We’ve changed the music; most of the parts are completely different.”
You’re a tour guide in Milan for the day. What’s on the agenda?
Joe Stile, email
“Definitely the Dome. It’s in the city centre, so it’s the first thing you see when you get out of the underground in Duomo. The view is stunning! It’s one of the most beautiful cathedrals you will ever see. Then I’d take them to eat panzerotti [a smaller version of calzone] at Luini. Everybody would be really impressed, because it’s really good. I’d also take them to [Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting] The Last Supper. We have the original in Milan, so that’d be cool. Then I’d take them out for a good pizza.”
Who are the king and queen of the goths?
Alex Carr, Facebook
“Peter Steele and Siouxsie Sioux.”
As a former winner, should there be a future for magazine features like ‘Hottest Chicks in Metal’?
Jo Fleischer, Facebook
“I’m honestly split. I hate when the image of a woman is completely sexualised, especially if there is talent behind her. But, at the same time, if you are in complete control of that sexualisation and you are the one deciding to present yourself in that way, it’s actually really empowering. There’s nothing wrong with liking yourself or feeling sexy and beautiful and showing it. Put it this way: in the music world, if being sexy is the only thing that you have to offer, that’s kind of sad.”
When was the last time you thought Lacuna Coil might break up?
James Young, email
“It happened at the beginning of our career. Our first line-up split right after the first tour. Our EP wasn’t even out! That was the only time that I thought it could end. Marco [Coti Zelati, bass], Andrea and I decided to go on because we wanted to and the label [Century Media] asked us to. It never happened again. We’ve never had any doubts.”
Are you an Interista or a Milanista?
“Are you really asking?! AC Milan! I Rossoneri forever!”
Who’s the metal band that should be way bigger than they are?
Caren Poccok, email
“Twelve Foot Ninja. They remind me of Faith No More. I think they could be and should be much more popular.”
Would you ever consider a solo album? What would it sound like?
Sam Petersson, Facebook
“Not at the moment. I think it would make sense if you could do something totally different to what you do in the band and, in Lacuna Coil, I am free to express myself. One day I will do it, but just to see if I’m actually able to put together something cool.”
What was your favourite Lacuna Coil record to make and why?
Bindi Louise, Facebook
“I don’t have a favourite record, but maybe [2019’s] Black Anima, the last one; it’s fresher to my ears. I certainly know which one is my least favourite. It’s not because of the music or songwriting, but it’s [2016’s] Delirium. My life was a mess, with a lot of illness around me. If you want to look at the positives, it made the vibe of the record more intense, but it was very difficult to rehearse and record that album.”
What is your favourite Lacuna Coil song? So many to choose from!
“I’d say it’s between Veneficium [from Black Anima] and Blood, Tears, Dust [from Delirium]. I don’t have favourites, but they’re the ones that I’m enjoying on stage very much at the moment. You might as well be asking a mum to name their favourite son or daughter!”
What videogame are you most excited about that’s coming out? Leianna Smith, email
“God Of War: Ragnarök. That is definitely the one that I am looking forward to. There’s a great collectors’ edition coming out in a few days with Mjölnir as well. I really hope that I’m going to be able to get it. I still regret that I didn’t get the Elden Ring collectors’ edition with the helmet. My boyfriend got it, so I said, ‘What do I need it for?’ Then I saw the helmet. Now I want one!”
Comalies XX is due out on October 14 via Century Media