It’s safe to say that Lacuna Coil didn’t foresee life imitating art when releasing their ninth and darkly cinematic offering, Black Anima, in 2019. And yet the very apocalypse they visualised would end up landing on their proverbial doorstep just one year later. Filmed at Milan’s Alcatraz in September 2020, Live From The Apocalypse was not only a performance of the album in its entirety, but the sound of a band channelling solitude as the confusion and calamities as COVID-19 brought life as we knew it to an earth-shattering halt. Now available in digital, CD and DVD formats, it’s the perfect aural antidote to the pandemic.
Tapping into that undeniable ability to convey the same incredible sense of atmosphere live, opener Anima Nera unfurls like a Dario Argento movie soundbite; awash with unsettling keys and glitchy rhythms, its disquieting ambience is backed by Cristina Scabbia’s hypnotic yet sinister chanting. Co-vocalist Andrea Ferro’s impassioned roar of ‘We are the Anima!’ acts as a cue to swap oppressive soundscapes for thundering hooks as quintessential banger Sword Of Anger comes tearing out of the blocks, it’s anthemic sprawl halting the disorienting spell.
Despite the necessary absence of an audience, there’s a newfound gravitas to transfixing cuts Apocalypse and The End Is All I Can See. The latter’s crunching guitars and throat-tearing belligerence take on new meaning given the show’s catalyst. “It’s time for bad things my friends,” Cristina purrs enticingly, just before Layers Of Time’s ear-catching grooves and irrepressible melodies fill the ears. Both vocalists lead their dual attack with devastating power throughout, but it’s a surprise, stripped-back rendition of Save Me, complete with Cristina’s crystalline voice, backed only by delicate piano keys, that truly elevates tonight’s performance. File under: spine-tingling.