Lacuna Coil’s enticing hybrid of goth, groove and alternative has served them well over the years, thrusting the Milan-based quintet towards the upper echelons of modern metal since their 1994 inception.
The darkened, conceptual hue of 2016’s Delirium – with songs centred around mental health – saw them at their most lyrically honest. And now, ninth full-length Black Anima arrives to elevate a band already on career-defining form.
Like its predecessor, there’s an incredible sense of atmosphere at play right off the bat as heavier arrangements and oppressive soundscapes collide. Awash with glitchy rhythms and unsettling keys, opener Anima Nera unfurls like a Dario Argento movie soundbite, its disquieting ambience backed by Cristina Scabbia’s hypnotic yet sinister chanting before the anthemic sprawl of Sword Of Anger halts its disorienting spell.
Tearing out of the blocks with a thundering riff and impassioned roar, first single Layers Of Time revels in irrepressible melodies and ear-catching grooves. Cristina and co-vocalist Andrea Ferro lead their dual attack with devastating power, her crystalline voice soaring to new heights ahead of that massive chorus.
The transfixing throb of Apocalypse and Veneficium’s use of rich haunting instrumentation nod to the In A Reverie era, while the titular track’s cries of ‘Destroy! Rebuild!’ reveal an inherent struggle but a refusal to remain lost in the darkness, as topics such as loss and self-reflection emerge during the latter half of the record. Tapping into an immersive amalgam of past sounds and unexplored territories, diehards and new fans alike will find much to love as the album alternates between polished, memorable hooks and arresting sonic bite.
Two decades on, Black Anima sees Lacuna Coil at their heaviest and most darkly cinematic to date.