Review: “Comalies XX” by Lacuna Coil

“This is not a reboot or a spin-off or anything like that, we just wanted to give these songs a 2022 dress and see that this guy or girl who was born 20 years ago would still look f***ing slick in 2022.” says vocalist Christina Scabbia.

The 20th Anniversary is one of those milestones in an album lifecycle that is often celebrated by a tour, a live album, a remaster or a re-imagining and to that end the later has been chosen by Italian Gothic Metal act Lacuna Coil for their third studio album “Comalies“. Such an endeavour is not without risk as the original, recorded between April and May 2002 at Woodhouse Studios in Hagen, Germany remains a much loved album with singles “Heaven’s a Lie” and “Swamped” in particular remaining not only live favourites but also within the bands top two most streamed songs on Spotify. However we should remember that Lacuna Coil as it is now, is not as it was then with three members of the band that recorded the original in drummer Cristiano ‘Criz’ Mozzati, rhythm guitarist Cristiano “Pizza” Migliore and lead guitarist all exiting stage left at various points over the past eight years. The original trio of vocalist duo Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro alongside multi instrumentalist Marco “Maki” Coti-Zelati remain while for guitarist Diego “DD” Cavallotti and drummer Richard Meiz this could well be the first time they’ve played some of these songs…

…Curiously enough along with the line up changes and with one or two notable exceptions, the songs on this new interpretation of “Comalies” are shorter than the originals, on some occasions by as much as 30 seconds as these songs have been refined in the fires of 20 years of live performances. That makes for a distilled interpretation of these songs, making them feel tighter. Opener “Swamped” is a fine example, keeping all of the atmosphere of the much loved original but surprisingly having a little more edge and bite. As with all of these songs they benefit from the modern production, recording techniques and equipment, the evolution making everything sound that much cleaner, crisper and sharper as a result. The solo on “Heaven’s A Lie” is a very special moment in an anthemic classic that feels refreshed and rejuvenated with more discernible key changes and extra vocal flare. Fans will notice that the vocalists have swapped the delivery of a few lines here and that helps make it not only darker but give it more emotional weight. So make no mistake, this isn’t a rushed playing of these songs as live in the studio but instead something that has had a lot of time and care poured into creating it, meaning it has grit and integrity running through its spine. Little things like Andrea Ferro’s Death Metal style growls on “Humane” in particular giving the cut a bigger punch than the original and leap out of the mix while cuts like “Tight Rope” have blossomed with a stunning vocal from Scabbia that feels more sincere with a little more depth and texture.

As strong and for want of a better term enriched as this re-interpretation of “Comalies” is, there are one or two moments that don’t work as well as they could and some fans of the original will no doubt leap on those to needlessly tear this for the most part stunning record down. For example in “Entwined” some of the atmosphere of the original has been lost with the decision taken to make it a more punchy mix but in reality it’s a still a sublime rendition even if it feels like more of a cover version here and the same can be said of “Angel’s Punishment“. But you have to respect the band’s decision here, their choice has been to make a new version of the album that is several times heavier than the original and in keeping with their current sound. To that end, what they’ve created is a darker, more powerful beast that has proven, perhaps against all the odds, that an re-interpretation of a 20 year old album can work incredibly well given the opportunity to get it right. The title track benefits the most with incredible vocal layering and that creepy key closing completing this rendition of the record in slick style [8/10]

Track Listing

1. Swamped
2. Heaven’s A Lie
3. Daylight Dancer
4. Humane
5. Self Deception
6. Aeon
7. Tight Rope
8. The Ghost Woman and the Hunter
9. Unspoken
10. Entwined
11. The Prophet Said
12. Angel’s Punishment
13. Comalies

Comalies XX” by Lacuna Coil is out 14th October 2022 via Century Media

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