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Lacuna Coil's Cristina Scabbia: my life in 10 songs

Lacuna Coil
(Image credit: Will Ireland)

After 25 years of singing for Milanese metal royalty Lacuna Coil, Cristina Scabbia has built up quite the impressive repertoire. We asked her to take us through her back catalogue with the band, and to choose the songs that mean the most to her. 

Metal Hammer line break

Heaven's A Lie (Comalies, 2002) 

Heaven’s A Lie is the one that started it all. Back in 2004, we were invited to play Ozzfest in the US, and it was such a great opportunity to play in front of a completely different audience that loved the song. I also remember that a radio station that does not exist anymore, called WAAF, decided to start to play the song, and then a lot of other stations picked it up. In a few days, more than a hundred radio stations in the US were playing Heaven’s A Lie. And after the radio success, MTV2, which is basically the rock counterpart of MTV in the US, asked us for a video to play. So we did the video for the US market and then the video came to Europe, and Europe started playing it, so that definitely changed a lot of things for us.

Swamped (Comalies, 2002) 

I picked this song because once again, it was very significant for us in terms of exposure. I think that it was the first time [one of our] songs had been picked up for a movie. Not for the actual movie itself, but it was for the Resident Evil soundtrack, so it was something very big for us. We were in between big names like Slipknot, and it was something really, really cool for a relevantly new Italian band. Also, we are very inspired by movies and images when we write our music, so as one of our goals was to write an actual full soundtrack for a movie, this was already a good start for us – to be associated with a movie, and also, with a movie like Resident Evil

Enjoy The Silence (Karmacode, 2006) 

It was my idea to cover this song as I like Depeche Mode very much. If there was one person on Earth that doesn't know Depeche Mode, when you hear the cover, people think that it could be one of our songs. That was the whole point. And I loved it, I think that it really reflects Lacuna Coil, and even Depeche Mode themselves liked it. They also gave us the permission to make a video out of it, which was something that a lot of people don’t know. Because you can basically record any cover, giving of course the credit to whoever wrote the song, but you can’t actually make an official video if you don’t get the permission from the band. They gave us the OK and that was amazing. 

Closer (Karmacode, 2006) 

For Closer, we just wanted a happier song. Sometimes we like to experiment with songs that are not necessarily metal – we like the heaviness, but we also like the fun side of it. We also consider that when you listen to this song during a show, there can be the part in which you’re banging your head, but we also like the fun part, the part where you can say “fuck everyone, I just wanna dance with my friends and scream in each other’s face”! Closer was also another song that connected us to the video game world. It was not only in Rock Band, but also in Guitar Hero. Being a massive nerd and already a video game lover, when I heard that our song was going to be in it, it made me extremely happy.

Our Truth (Karmacode, 2006) 

We filmed the video for Our Truth in Los Angeles. I remember we went up the hills, and it was late evening and it was kinda scary because we could hear a lot of wolves around. I also remember that it took forever because there were a lot of changes and a lot of time for the makeup, also, it was super, super cold. The song itself was in the film Underworld, which is another amazing thing because Underworld has elements in it that are present in Lacuna Coil’s music, like the darkness, the vampires, but also the fantasy nerd world. 

The lyrics were focused on fearlessness. It was an anthem for trying to find your strength within yourself, and have the courage to say it out loud. If you’re convinced about something, you should always stand up for your beliefs. 

Nothing Stands In Our Way (Broken Crown Halo, 2014) 

This song is basically our anthem. It’s a song that we always bring on the road. The lyric ‘nothing stands in our way’ tells you exactly what the song is about: overcoming obstacles, and that whatever happens in your life you need to try to look at the glass half full. Forgiving yourself for the mistakes that you might do, because there's always something to learn that can allow you to move forward. I think the phrase that is more important, however, is ‘we fear nothing’, as this is something that I can tell encouraged a lot of our fans in their hardest moments, and it made me believe even more that what we write for ourselves can be everybody's. I love the connection that we created with our fans from this, because it's a constant cycle of energy. 

Apocalypse (Black Anima, 2019) 

When we started to write this song, we didn't picture releasing it in a post-apocalyptic situation. I remember that I pictured a desert, a fire place with a couple of people just like talking to each other, reflecting on their lives. We imagined an asteroid coming, so it's crazy how we thought about something that was kind of gonna happen [Apocalypse was released a few months before the Covid pandemic hit]. And then it happened, and I think it's perfect for this song to be applied to this period. It has a lyric that says, 'Looking at the sand gliding down the hour glass', meaning that our time is limited, so we need to observe what we do in our lives, knowing that our time on Earth isn’t forever. This record was surrounded by a lot of sad moments, because we lost two people that we knew very well, and that kind of permeated this record. 

Spellbound (Shallow Life, 2009) 

This record was completely misunderstood because the basic idea for us was to make fun of those having a superficial life. People who say, "I'm rich, I'm beautiful, I'm perfect!" I remember we got a lot of criticism because people thought we were changing our image, and they'd say we sold out, that we looked like a pop band. They didn’t understand that it was sarcastic! 

Spellbound is from the first record that we did with Don Gilmore. It was the first time we worked with a different producer, where we did something completely different. He was metal, but he also produced other bands that had more of a clean sound. We wanted to have a point of view of someone who didn't know the band, to see if we could learn something. And we learned so much, especially about songwriting. Up until then, the lyrics were more cryptic, which I like, but many people said they didn't understand what we were talking about, the ideas behind it. So we became clearer in delivering the message of the song.

Blood, Tears, Dust (Delirium, 2017)

I picked Blood, Tears, Dust because it was a very heavy song that surprised a lot of people –  they didn’t think that we could go back to heavier stuff, especially when a lot of bands were going softer. It was also a very important record for us, as Delirium spoke about mental health, so everything was based around a fictional sanatorium. We wore outfits on stage that could suggest the idea of patients. It was a very dark period. I also visited a lot of sanatoriums that are not open anymore, and a lot of mental health hospitals. So it was really, really touching, especially as the subject is so close to me: I have a person in my family, a really close person, that was in one of these places. 

My Spirit (Dark Adrenaline, 2012) / One Cold Day (Broken Crown Halo, 2014)

I picked these songs because they are both dedicated to some friends that we have lost. My Spirit was written the same night that Peter Steele died. We were all so sad because we had always been huge fans of Type O Negative. We even had the chance to tour with them, and we found out that behind the artist we loved so much, there were amazing people too. So it was a big shock for all of us when we heard about Peter Steele. I also choose One Cold Day because we wrote it after one member – a founding member of Lacuna Coil – Claudio Leo, died of cancer. We knew that it was coming, but it’s always hard when it happens to someone that you love, and it's very hard to accept. So that's why I picked both songs, as it was hard to pick just one of them: both individuals were very important to us. 

Lacuna Coil's Live From The Apocalypse is available now via Century Media. 

Elizabeth Scarlett

Elizabeth (Lizzie) is a music-obsessed creative soul with a love for all things heavy. In her spare time you’ll probably find her designing music magazines, playing the bass and most likely fantasising about Lemmy.