Lacuna Coil: ‘Shallow Life’

shallow-lifeAlbum name: Shallow life
Artist name: Lacuna Coil
Genre: Metal…ish
Released: April 20, 2009
Label: Century Media
ZME Rating: 8/10
Website: Lacuna Coil


The first thing that has to be said about this album is they’ve worked with producer Don Gilmore, who also teamed up with Good Charlotte, Avril Lavigne and Linkin Park, so at first I was thinking this album is going to be poppish and more mainstream. I was right. I also remember an interview Cristina Scabbia did with Blabbermouth in which she said the point of this album was to speak out to more people than before and to be more to the point, and that’s what they did. It’s the peak of the natural transition they’ve been going through in the past few years but it’s NOT a concept album (as far as I’m concerned) in its true meaning, as most tunes allude to the shallowness of life instead of pointing at it and choosing it as a theme. It’s the same Lacuna Coil we know and love, but they just show a whole lot of some sides of them and not that much of other sides.

That being said, the album’s main theme is quite poppy; all the emphasis is on the chorus, and there are some great hooks there, as Cristina sounds as amazing as ever, being able to transform an OK song into a great one. Perhaps that’s the reason why Andrea Ferro’s vocal contribution seems to be useless sometimes and the musical duels the two have become redundant pretty fast. He seems to have progressed a bit, but I’m positive that’s just the better production work. The overproduction also amplifies the redundance, giving the album a pretty flat and repetitive sound (I’m sure there’s at least a handful of songs that’ll sound better live). There are no memorable solos or other lead work on this album, despite some really catchy tunes, especially the single, ‘Spellbound‘. I listened to the single before the album, and I was thrilled thinking that it was the radio friendly tune and all the others are going to be heavier or more ‘gothic‘, but I was (as many long standing fans will surely be) dissapointed by the way they approached this album.

Some claim it’s a concept album because ‘Shallow life‘ delves into, as you could guess into superficiality, both in the celebrity world and concerning life in general. ‘Shallow life‘ (the track) is very enjoyable in an Evanescence kinda way, and despite quite some ambiguous lyrics the message is easy to understand due to the title. Chorus: Shallow life/I’ll stay close to the ground/Shallow life/The walls keep falling down. ‘The Maze’, another track that stands out sports a pretty similar chorus: In this maze/I’m running through the halls of emptiness/In this maze/I can’t find the way to get back to the end; call me an idiot but ‘barely carrying out every day’ is not about shallowness. It seems they wanted to make it clear that this is a concept album, but considering its title, I’d say Lacuna Coil should what they preach, as the writing seems pretty shabby and the arabic influences, as interesting as they are, are not enough to make it seem less redundant, and idiots such as myself could understand that this ain’t a concept album.

As I see it all in all, most songs are just basic power chord progressions harmonized in a very surprising and pleasant way by Cristina Scabbia that makes all the difference here. It’s without a doubt the album that will launch Lacuna Coil in the mainstream pop/metal (or whatever you kids call it) scene and make them the idols of many many excited 16 year olds, but I doubt many people will remember this album in years to come, and they’re gonna have some pissed of long standing fans. It’s a bloody good album, but I was expecting so much more from them, cause I already knew what a fantastic vocalist they’ve got and how good they can be. Also, here’s the video for Spellbound. Still, there’s something so very haunting about her that just can’t be boring, no matter what, she’s just hypnotic. Anyway, I hope the next album is gonna be a fuckin dark piece of art and all is forgiven,fingers crossed to that.

Tracklist:

  1. Survive
  2. I Won’t Tell You
  3. Not Enough
  4. I’m Not Afraid
  5. I Like It
  6. Underdog
  7. The Pain
  8. Spellbound
  9. Wide Awake
  10. The Maze
  11. Unchained
  12. Shallow Life

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  • http://www.myspace.com/tallmanpr BretMiller

    Lacuna Coil are so much better live where their songs get a chance to breathe, and Cristina’s such a beauty! As I’m listening to Spellbound, though, they sound lights years more evolved in their songwriting, at least I can finally hear the guitarists playing something other than endlessly harmonized power chords and they’ve finally given Andrea some meaty vocal duties. They are Century Media’s biggest selling band and are known the world over, so obtaining the attention and money of kids who don’t already listen to quality rock music is the next step to their success, though Lacuna Coil don’t really need the casual listeners of Linkin Park or whatever other crap the kiddies are calling music these days to validate their talent.

  • Bill RHodes

    Your review is spot on…I’m an old school LC fan. I even appreciated Karmcode though Comalies is my fav. While not pissed of…I’m mildly peeved.

    This album will be a commercial success (debuted at #16 on Billboard), which means we get more of the same on the next one. LC, please ditch this Hannah Montana producer even if you stay on your present musical course. Bring back the metal!

  • The watcher

    As an old generation LC fan and a musician this is kind of disappointment.

    Someone here said that it’s good that they made simple non harmonized riffs, but funny thing is: that’s what makes their true sound in the first place…

    The over production is felt here indeed. Wide Awake is a good example… it’s way over processed, and it sounds like a pop song you’d hear from someone like Avril Lavigne, which I respect because it sounds good on her, but not with LC. No doubt that the male vocalist is the weak link of the band…

    Some songs are well written and good catchy choruses, but it doesn’t make up for the over POP feeling of the album in general.
    The Maze reminds me an Alter Bridge song…

    There are lots of bands that do certain things a lot better in the Pop spot, like Paramore which I really love.

    Too bad… they can do a lot better than this. I’d prefer to keep my faithful audience and not try to compromise on my music because I want to please everyone… there are lots of artists who don’t do that and are successful enough and they love what they do… I’d rather be like that and I believe that’s the right way for Lacuna Coil…

  • http://www.zmemusic.com Andrei Mihai

    Glad to see you guys agree with me; I’ve also listened to them for ages (and of course, I’m in love with Cristina) and I was hoping they would go in a different direction, but it could be much worse. I just hope they will release something way better, because they can do it. Fingers crossed