Review of ‘Death Based Illusions’ EP by Strike Master

Review by Ryan Murray | November 12, 2019

I had never heard of Strike Master before.  This EP is comprised of four, very in your face thrash metal songs.  From the heart pounding drums, grinding in your face guitars and pulse pounding bass lines, this quick EP has it all.  Vocally, this band honestly reminds me of Cradle of Filth.  Let’s dive into the tracks –

Cosmic Owl Ritual – The tide rolls in!  Buckle up, it’s gonna be a heck of a ride!  This track opens up with the sound of the tide rolling in with a deep bass line kicking in a few seconds after.  Then at about :20 seconds in, the guitars and drums smash right in your face with a hard but slow dirge.  Then comes the main riff at :40 seconds, which reminds me of something off of Metallica’s “Death Magnetic”.  If the main riff isn’t enough for you, wait for 3:10!  If the pit hasn’t started already, here it comes!  The drums kick it into high gear and the guitar is more in your face than earlier.  The track brings it back down to just bass right at the end.  If your face is on the floor, pick it up, and out it back on…you’ll need for round 2!

Knives – The main riff starts right off the bat after a quick drum fill, and there’s no questioning that this track is gonna take off right away!  Don’t get too comfy though!  At :38 seconds we get a nice time change into a 6/8 feel that gives a great break down right before we get back to straight time for the first verse.  This track is even more brutal than the first!  With time changes throughout, this track has a nice groove throughout the almost 5 minute track!

Strong As Hell – If you were hoping to slow it down by now, you’ve got the wrong EP!  This is yet another brutal, in your face track. For me, this song is about being strong and not letting anything pull you down.  We face many trials and “heavy fire” throughout our lives, but what defines us is how we come out of those trials.  

“I was born like a beast, there’s no desist, no turning back. Torn by circumstance of heavy fire and forged in the void.  When I thought that I had thrown myself into the abyss, the abyss had already thrown itself at me.”

For me, the writer is saying that he was born with the mentality of a beast.  No matter what he faces, no matter what ‘the abyss’ throws at him, he’s not going to back down and he’s not going to give in.

A Corpseless Soul – The final track, but it’s not over yet!  I think musically this is my favorite track on the EP!  Don’t let the first :27 seconds fool you.  What seems to be a tranquil intro gives way to a strong guitar and bass riff with driving drums.  At about :42 seconds, this track is right back in your face. This song, for me, is about wandering through life searching for meaning.

“The nameless, speechless, the feel that’s around to mourn.  The void that holds our deepest question of life.” Then later we hear “Death based illusions is what I am meant to be.  A corpseless soul.”  

All in all, I would give this album a 3.5.  I absolutely love the riffs, especially in the closing track.  While the vocals are strong, they aren’t my favorite type of vocals.

“Death Based Illusions” is available on all download and streaming platforms November 17th, 2019.  Be sure to give it a listen!

Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/strikemasterofficial/

Review of Lacuna Coil’s Show in Cleveland 2019

Review by Joshua Becker | October 17, 2019

This is my first concert review, as I had never actually been to a concert until this one. Being this was my first concert ever, I had no idea what to expect, and if I would be disappointed, but I definitely had a kick-ass time.

 The concert that night was absolutely amazing, something like I have never experienced before. When Lacuna Coil came on stage, the fans went absolutely fucking crazy. I had never heard so much screaming and fanfare in my life before. 

Their first song, “Blood, Tears, Dust,” introduces the band. Cristina and Andrea enter stage left and the crowd gets even louder and more boisterous than when the song began.

Once the drums kick in, Cristina starts vocalising then asks everyone in the crowd to scream and everyone in the crowd goes absolutely insane, and, at this moment, it became clear to me that the vast majority of the crowd came to see Lacuna Coil and nobody else.

Another notable moment was at the end of “Trip the Darkness,” there was a blue light show, timed perfectly with the guitar and drums, Cristina all the while slamming her microphone in the air in time with the beat.

The next song “Our Truth”, had a brilliant orange light show that was just, absolutely spectacular. In time with the beat of the song, the orange lights were just pulsating through the beginning of the song, toning down after the intro. You see Andrea jumping up and down and Cristina going right into vocalising. Towards the tail end of the song, you can see them both jumping up and down, just having a great time with the crowd.

One thing I have to commend Lacuna Coil on is that how they sound on stage is very similar to how they sound in a studio recording, which shows me they have a natural talent and don’t need excess layering, auto-tune, etc, to perform. 

The set lasted about an hour, the songs played, were: “Blood, Tears, Dust,”, “Trip The Darkness”, “Our Truth”, “Spellbound”, “Reckless, “Layers of Time:, “Downfall”, “Zombies”, My Demons”, “House of Shame”, “Heaven’s A Lie” and “Nothing Stands In Our Way”.

Closing out the show, the set list is thrown into the crowd, along with a guitar pick, and the last thing we see is Cristina waving goodbye to the crowd, the applause echoing throughout the venue.

I absolutely cannot wait to go to another show, especially theirs, to see what it is like next time. I give my first concert, and their set a complete 5/5.

As for touring in The United States, Lacuna Coil most likely will not be back again until summer or fall of 2020. At any rate, if you have a chance to see Lacuna Coil in concert, I highly recommend you take that opportunity and you won’t be disappointed.

It’s just like someone told me: you never know when your favorite bands or musicians will stop touring or releasing albums, so make the most of every show and album you can.

Exclusive video clips from the show:

Review of ‘Space Nest’ by Grande Fox

Review by Ryan Murray | October 29, 2019

I had never heard of Grande Fox before, but what an interesting listen!  With feels of 70’s – 80’s Metal and Hard Rock, there’s something for everyone in their album “Space Nest”!

Strange Situation – The opening riff to this song kinda gives me a 70’s Sabbath feel, reminiscent of “Paranoid”.  This song, for me, is about others who try to control us, and  having the ability to break free of the control of others.  

“Mechanical part is living in me.  Mechanic device reload my heart beat.  Begins to complete the way that I live.  The way that I feel.  Not you but for me.”  

To me, this speaks of the feeling of being under someone else’s control and lacking the freedom to be yourself.  

In the refrain, the song says – “Breaking me down, you said, you’re gonna break me.  It is your chance for you to get me.”

“When I opened my eyes my soul was enlightened inside.” This speaks to that moment when we realize what’s being done, and are now presented with a choice to overcome.  

The song closes in victory as we hear “You lost control!  Ohhhh, cause I’m still alive!”

Route 66 – More of a Sabbath feeling with the opening riff here also.  For me, this song is about the fact that we all face complications in our lives.  In the end, it’s not necessarily about the complications we face, but what we do about them.  Sometimes, it seems we’re so filled with conflict, that there’s never an end in sight.

“Complications gone away for miles now, can you see the light?  Expectations gone away for miles now, can you feel I’m right?”

We all have expectations of the way we expect things to turn out, but then we realize it doesn’t always go as planned.  

Later in the song we hear – “I’m burning all these things down.  Those things I hate.  This is the chance to break down, lost things I hate.  I’m burning down in fire.”

This speaks loudly to me.  There are many things in my life that I “burned”, because of the experience of going through it.  We can either choose to let it get the best of us, or we can choose to overcome being defeated and brought down by past mistakes.

Burned Beard – Vocally, this song is a bit more aggressive than the first two tracks.  This song is about the power of lies.  Lies hold power over us, and it’s difficult to break through them.  We want to rise above them, and sometimes we try to be helpful to those who are telling lies by raising them up to help them change, but it doesn’t always go as we hope.  

“Now it’s time to change.  Listen to your mind games we play.  Listen to your lies…will change your life.  Listen to your – time to waste away.  You’re so full of lies.  You’re so full of lies.  Your soul is full of lies.”

Lies change lives.  Not just the lives of those who tell the lies, but the lives of the ones who surround those telling the lies as well.  Even when we try to help, a lot of the time we just can’t change who people are.  

Psychotropic – This is more of a hard rock track.  The vocals on this track kind of remind me of KoЯn.  

“It was you who created those fears.  Who left me dying alone these years.  You should better confess to your self. You’d better think who’s wrong again.”

There are people who try to break us down.  All of us at one point or another face someone in our lives like this.  I personally know someone who has been in my life since I was 9, and was in a position of authority over me later in life.  This person did everything they could to make me believe that they were there for me as a friend and as a supervisor.  Eventually as time went on though, they began tearing me down piece by piece with their back biting, two-facedness and hurtful words behind my back.  I knew I had to break away.

This track ends with “Stop! Break! Stop! Say! Stop! I say Brake. Away.”  This for me is about breaking away from toxic people.

Mind Disorder – Another hard rock track.  This song talks about taking the high road, telling the listener to open their eyes to the things around them and to not let themselves be dragged down to the level of the nonsense around them.  

“High is the only way, the only way to fly.  Die is the only way, the only sacrifice.  Open up your eyes.  Open up your eyes.  Open up them then you’ll see the light inside your mind.”

This, to me, is saying that we need to take the high road.  There is nonsense everywhere we go these days, and we need to keep our eyes open to avoid it.  

Oriental War – This track has a rather interesting intro that goes on for 2:17 before the main riff kicks in at 2:18.  This song, for me, is about overcoming difficulties and hard times, emerging victorious.  

”And then you take it all.  You prove them all wrong.  For now the biggest fight is done.  Yeah, has gone away!”.


We all face difficulties and hardships, but they don’t define us. What defines us is how we come out on the other end.  To me, this track talks about that we all draw strength from something in our lives, and we need to rely on that strength, wherever it comes from, to get us through the hard times.

Apopsychosis – Another long and interesting intro, with the main riff kicking in at about 2:16.  For me, this song is about an inner battle of good and evil, which we all face at one time or another.  

“Something is living inside and growing deep down.  Can you resist from falling?  Nothing is living inside, I’m going deep down.  Can you escape now from hell? You’d better listen to you.  You try to resist now.  You try to resist now.  Try to resist now…” 

For me, this refers to a spiritual battle/conflict that we all face.  We are all inherently imperfect people with free will.  Because of free will, things in life are not always good.  Some are born of evil.  Can we resist, by ourselves, that inevitable fall into darkness?  Or do we need help?  

“Save me from this hell.  Lord you got to save me, you got to take me from a slave.  Well you got take me, you got to take me from this hell.  Lord you got to save me, you got to Peacemake me for my self.  Lord you got to save me, you got to.”  

As a Christian, these words speak to me.  We all face darkness, but for me as a Christian with a relationship with God, I know who I can trust to get me through anything.

New Beginning – The final track.  I think this is actually my  favorite tracks on the album.  This song, for me, is about taking risks and not allowing yourself to stop seeking your dreams and making them a reality.  We all have past mistakes and we tend to relive them over and over again, but this song, for me, talks about rising above past mistakes and fighting for your dreams and making them a reality.

“All these years I tried to fly away from here.  Old mistakes are gone with my biggest tears.  Time reminds me that in past I lived in fear, so I broke away to find myself in here.  Trapped inside my mind so many nights and years.  Trapped inside this hell I had to face my fears.  I was weak and cold for me to take this on.  Now I stand like a Knight enlightened from above.”

We’re always going to have a little voice inside of us that says we can’t, but we need to fight past that.  As a Christian, this means that I have God on my side and know that I can do ALL things through Him.”

Overall, musically, I very much enjoyed this album.  The vocals aren’t bad at all.  They are good and the singer is very talented, just not my personal favorite STYLE of vocals.  I would give this album a 4.0 stars out of 5.0

Please give “Space Nest” a listen!

Overall Rating: 4/5

Official Faceboook: https://www.facebook.com/outofnesta/

Review of ‘Phantoms of Yesterday’ by Welkins Boreal

Review by Ryan Murray | October 18, 2019

It’s been a long time since I’ve listened through a Goth Rock album, but Welkins Boreal’s new release “Phantoms of Yesteryear” is, for me, somewhat reminiscent of The Crüxshadows and Type O Negative. 

Sleep Eternal” is the album opener.  Chugging guitars and pulsing drums opens up the album in this track that gives me a flashback to when I was younger.  I used to really be into Goth Rock/Metal and this definitely brings me back to those times.  This song, for me, is about the question of what lies beyond this life we live, and the eternal sleep of our physical bodies when we pass away.  “Death is not the end.  Perhaps a gate to sleep eternal.  I shall begin my journey to the unknown.”  This speaks to me on a personal level.  When I was younger, I doubted many things, including at one point whether or not God was real.  I started to fear my life and the inevitable end of it, worrying that nothing would come of my life and that I would pass away into nothingness when I die.  Later in the second verse we hear “I am at peace now.  In love with the eternal rest to be”, which also speaks to me on a personal level.  As a Christian, I am at peace with the knowledge of my Faith and am not afraid of what death brings.

Thirteen Moons”, the second track on this album slows things down just a bit with more of a down tempo song.  This also has some symphonic elements to it which I really like as well.  This song, for me speaks of the memory of a lost loved one that you’d do anything to be with again.  “One day I feel you in the breeze.  The next I tread an endless path.  Yet I know our fates are intertwined.  I’ll meet you there.  I will find the way.”  I hear this line and it makes me think of loved ones I’ve lost.  There are so many things in this fleeting time we have on Earth that reminds us of loved ones.  Sometimes it’s the way the wind hits you.  Sometimes just a scent, or just being in a certain place where you’d spend time with the loved one.  “I see your beacon even in the darkest of nights.” Love shines brighter than any darkness we face and helps illuminate our way to the memory of those we love and have lost.

Apparition” is up next, and the tempo is picked up again.  This song is rather catchy and continues with the idea of missing a loved one who has passed on.  Even deeper though, this song speaks of someone feeling helpless and not being able to do anything to help their loved one who is falling apart at the seams.  “You were falling apart and I couldn’t put you back together.  Any attempt to reason with you – you seemed to know better.  You tempted your demons rolling the dice of your life.  I watched you up the stakes and lose night after cursed night.”  I’ve lost two close family members to suicide and this part speaks to be deeply.  One of the family members I lost I could see her falling a part and felt helpless to help her.  I felt like the family situations that were u folding leading to her falling apart could have been prevented and I feel like I missed opportunities to reach out to her and remind her that she is loved.  To this day, I still struggle with it.  

Next up is “Sethian Seal”.  This slows us down just a bit, but still groovy.  This song brings us down into the underworld of ancient Gnosticism.  The lyrics themselves don’t really intrigue me much on this song, but I was never really into the underworld and all that.  Melodically and rhythmically in the other hand, I love this song!  The riffs, drums and melodies are really great and as a musician myself I very much enjoy this track musically!

Discordia” slows it down again with a nice piano intro, following into the verse with light vocals with a 2&4 click.  This songs speaks to self loathing and the feeling of being broken hearted.  In the first two lines of the song we hear “A broken soul like mine can never reach the truth.  Wonder where I took the wrong turn in the bewilderment of youth.  At first I only knew your friendly façade.  Your choice of words was shrewd and made me lower my guard.”  We all have faced situations in life where we feel broken and useless.  Most of the time it causes us to reflect on our past, wondering where it was that we went wrong.  We tend to end up in the dangerous cycle of self loathing, self doubt and self hate.  We often times let the fake words of others lower our guard because we want to feel liked, so we allow our guard down to those who don’t deserve to be allowed in.  Then we end up blaming ourselves, and the vicious cycle begins.  “That it wasn’t always my fault dawned on me too late.  The privilege was solely yours to belittle and berate.  The devious games you played corroded my inside.  The web you wove around me sucked out the last of my pride.”  We are so quick to blame ourselves because of the web of lies we allowed to be sowed in and around us.  This song, to me, is a great reminder that we have to be cautious of who we let in, and we need to guard our hearts.

Thelemite” picks it up again a bit.  This song speaks of the human nature of anger, or the “inner beast” that we all have.  This song also references one of the religious laws of Thelema “Do what thou wilt…”. 

Dance Of Nightly Shadows”  This song feels to me like a dirge.  This song speaks of the underworld and being brought to the underworld upon sleeping.  Somewhat frightened by the notion of falling asleep, once asleep the song refers to the soul traveling to the underworld.  The song describes a sort of ‘nightly shadow play’ in a “macabre ballet”.  All of the shadows leading of course to the entry of the “unholy portals of the underworld”.

I Approach The End” Another one with chugging riffs, which for me never gets old.  For me, this song speaks of someone bearing the end of their life, weighing what they’ve done with what they wish they’ve done.  “The city lights reflect the ghosts of yesterday.  Lurking behind every corner.  Memories of sunny days that seem like years ago.  No longer make me feel any warmer.”  We always tend to analyze what we’ve done, and things that we regret doing always have a way of popping up behind every corner.  

Sorrow’s Shroud” wraps up the album with a down tempo, piano based song.  

All in all, I would rate this album a 3.5 out of 5.  It has it’s moments of great riffs, melodies and grooves and the vocals are classic Goth vocals which I like for the most part as well.  If you haven’t already, please give “Phantoms of Yesteryear” a listen! 

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

A Review of Tarja’s 2019 Festival Shows

Review by Jessica Clingempeel | October 17, 2019

This year I attended three festivals that Tarja participated in. The first was Chania Rock Festival in Crete; the second was Z7 in Switzerland; and the last was with Evanescence in Trnava, Slovakia. Every show she played songs from her previous album ‘The Shadow Self’ and some oldies, along with Dead Promises from her, then, soon to be released album, ‘In the Raw’.

I will start with the show in Crete. This was my first time travelling to Greece, beautiful country, just too damn hot! The flight from Athens to Crete was delayed, but that was okay as I got to hang out with Kevin Chown, former bass player for Tarja, and my awesome boyfriend. We were on the same flight to Crete with Kev. The festival consisted of two nights with about five bands each. I was only there for Tarja and Demons & Wizards. Tarja performed the first night and was the last act to close the day with and what a way to end the day. Despite the heat and having chosen to wear all leather, she kicked ass and the audience gave much love to her and the band. At the end I went backstage where I met with Tarja and even she admitted wearing her outfit wasn’t the brightest idea and that it was “SO HOT”.

The bands prior to her set were not all bad. Uli John Roth was up right before her and while I enjoyed his guitar playing, he could choose a better singer, or just stick with solo guitar playing (Uli even watched Tarja’s entire set and after went to meet with her.) Tarja was definitely the highlight of the first night though. The second night ended with Demons & Wizards. You’re seeing that the big acts were the ones to end the nights. 😉 We watched their show from a higher spot on an old ruin. What a great view that was, not only of the band, but of the sea as well. I recommend this area to all future participants of this festival. Tarja and Demons & Wizards both get five out of five at this festival.

Honourable mentions: Carthagods, Rotting Christ, and Uli John Roth.

Next round, where I travelled solo, was Pratteln, Switzerland. Again, beautiful country, but very expensive. This is also where the trip ended up with me in the hospital having emergency surgery for an ovarian torsion. Kudos to the nurses and doctors who took care of me. They were very nice and very professional.

Serious Black was on first, not my favourite, but not all bad either. Do not put this band off, give them a listen first. Next up was Rage feat. Lingua Mortis Orchestra. They were a better act and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Finally, the main act I was there for, again, Tarja. The setlist was pretty much the same as Chania, but still a damn good show. It was more energetic, to me anyways, than the previous, that may have been due to it being less hot. Lol Another five star performance.

Last, but not least, the show with Evanescence in Slovakia. Thankfully the weather held up most of the day as rain was in the forecast. Another country I have never been to and another one that was enjoyed. First band on was Veridia. I did not care for this band, at all. To me, it felt like watching Britney Spears trying to sing metal. It just did not work, but a lot of people in the crowd seem to enjoy them and they are definitely energetic, but I will pass.

Tarja was not the main act for tonight, as Evanescence was, however Tarja was definitely the highlight. I am not saying this because I am a huge Tarja fan, but because it is fact. I have also been a huge Evanescence fan (early era). This was the greatest show of the year by Tarja, for me. It marked the last show for The Shadow Self tour and sadly was also the end of a chapter for one member, Kevin Chown. He will be greatly missed, but you can still see him play with Bach as he begins his next chapter.

Every member in Tarja’s band puts their whole heart into their performance. There were some sound issues, but they kept giving the crowd their all despite the fact. I got the chance to see Julian Barrett perform for the first time as well alongside Tarja as he was filling in for Alex. Damn good guitarist.

Evanescence did not disappoint either as Amy Lee went back to her roots and what made the band, THE BAND. The setlist was full of oldies and played just as the albums were recorded. I have to give them five stars as well, but I did not stay for the full set. We left early as Kevin Chown invited me back to his hotel to hang for a bit, along with the rest of the band. Tarja had already turned devices off at this point and went to sleep. The band are very cool people, we had a chat about different foods which started with Christian (keyboard) asking me if I tried Haggis yet since I was visiting Scotland for six months (lol), hockey, and just life in general.

Tarja shows are always amazing to watch, very energetic, and you can tell the support and love the band have for one another. I definitely recommend everyone to attend one, or many, of her concerts. You will not be disappointed. Not only, but every show I got to meet some friends for the first time and other wonderful people. Stay tune for my review of Tarja’s Christmas concerts in Finland.

Dork mention: I love how Tarja notices my short ass in the crowd every time and she will smile, point, and wave to me. 🙂

All photos are my property. Please credit when sharing.
© Jessica Clingempeel

Review of Lacuna Coil’s ‘Black Anima’ by Jade

Review by Jade | October 16, 2019

POWERHOUSE. There is no other word to describe BLACK ANIMA, the ninth studio album by Italian metal group LACUNA COIL. Over twenty year in the scene has led them to what is arguably the strongest album in their career. Musically, lyrically, vocally, BLACK ANIMA delivers the sound that old school Coilers have been waiting for since Comalies. But does this album compare to Comalies? Not in the least, and they show us that it’s perfectly okay.

ANIMA NERA

I LIKE TO SUFFOCATE IN ALL MY MEMORIES UNTIL I CANNOT BREATHE

Black Anima’s prologue consists of vocals from Cristina Scabbia like we’ve never heard. Whether it be computer effects or her ability to change her voice into something even more unique than it already is, it doesn’t matter; she proves once again how far her vocal abilities have stretched over the years. Anima Nera speaks of the heavy darkness within – a short song of resignation to the empty emotions that frequently follow trauma or intense pain. In a way, this album follows the ‘backwards’ pattern – Anima Nera could have been the Outro and Black Anima could have been the prologue. And, of course, we get a taste of the Italian we’ve been so hoping to hear since Broken Crown Halo.

COSA NE RIMANE DELLA MIA ANIMA NERA?

SWORD OF ANGER

WE ARE THE ANIMA

Sword of Anger opens full swing with the growling vocals of Andrea Ferro. An enthusiastic mix of all instruments make this song a blazing follow up to Anima Nera. Lyrically, we feel the power of Andrea’s delivered verses, believing damn well that they’ve never lost their way and taking Cristina’s word when she says there’s more to them than we will ever see. Maki and Diego absolutely kill it on bass and guitar. There is no question that Diego really got to shine on this album, and even less question that Maki wrote this song with passion and a desire to try something new. 

WE DON’T HEED YOU – THE SWORD OF ANGER WILL CUT IN THE DEEP

Newcomer Richard Meiz, now drummer of the band, gets a chance to show off his skills in Sword of Anger as well. He doesn’t introduce himself in small doses. With Lacuna Coil, when you’re new, you come out swinging, and the drums in this song do exactly that.

One of the main highlights: Cristina singing underneath Andrea’s growls, the two contrasting vocals blending beautifully to make a melodic tune to match the heaviness.

BEYOND THE SURFACE WE DIG IN THE DEEP – THERE’S MORE TO US THAN YOU WILL EVER SEE

RECKLESS

TO HELL WITH ALL THE INNOCENCE

Reckless is the second single released before Black Anima takes the world by storm. Cristina shines brightly in this one, controlling most of the song with the occasional background growl by Andrea, and showing listeners once more just how far her vocal abilities have come. Reckless is the dance track of the album – heavy and single-worthy, yet still dark and fitting for the overall atmosphere of the album. 

I HAVE NEVER LEARNED TO COMPROMISE – I NEED TO FEEL ALIVE

Synths and guitars tear up the track in the best way, the bass and drums filling in the space nicely. The guitar solo is one major highlight – Diego has absolutely been a great addition to the band since he joined.

KEEP THE MADNESS ENDLESS

LAYERS OF TIME 

I LIVE THE LIFE I LEFT BEHIND

Layers of Time was the first single introduced to us to represent Black Anima. Even though it’s the fourth song on the album, it was the first song we got to hear as a collective group of Coilers, and the song is explosive. Andrea once again comes out with growls and aggressive vocals, taking the lead in this song with more vocal time than Cristina while still allowing both to shine. 

I THINK I’VE LOST THE STORYLINE

Guitars and bass in Layers of Time roar into existence here and don’t back down. There is no such thing as a breather. This lends in a perfect way to the lyrical meaning of the song, an overall meaning conveying, in their own words: Our road is paved with pain, the past we can’t rewind. Layers of Time was the perfect introduction to Black Anima, and nestles itself as the fourth track to remind us that it isn’t the only song on the album.

TWISTING, TURNING, THROUGH THE BAPTISM OF FIRE

APOCALYPSE

WHILE YOU PRAY, WE DON’T CARE

Apocalypse flows with more melodic emotion than the songs prior, still heavy but allowing us a short break from Andrea’s growls and allowing us a glimpse of his cleaner vocals. We have a more gothic feel here, darkness coating the tone and bringing a strong lyrical message. Apocalypse is, without a doubt, one of the most impactful songs of the album lyrically. We can feel the pain and emotion in Cristina’s voice as she delivers her pieces, and we truly feel for her. We relate, and we feel.

WE START A REVOLUTION AND CELEBRATE YOUR LIES

Most surprisingly, soaring vocals blend well with the bass tracks here. Maki (bass) has arranged this to ensure the bass beats the message behind Cristina’s vocals home. An impressive use of instrumental, without a doubt. 

YOU’RE FAR FROM ABSOLUTION

NOW OR NEVER

I MADE MY WAY BACK TO THE LIVING WHEN I WAS ALREADY DEAD

In Now or Never, we’re swept back into the fast, aggressive beats of guitars and drums and Andrea’s forceful vocals. Bold riffs and messages give a nod to Delirium but still sits very comfortably on Black Anima. 

Taking a step away from ‘professional reviewer’ stance and slipping into hardcore Coiler mode: this is the song that Cristina Scabbia comes very close to growling in. Forceful, almost shouted vocals in one verse suddenly highlight her in a different view, and every Cristina-diehard is going to have their moment of squealing or their moment of confusion and hoping that doesn’t happen again. The force lends to the song in a perfect way, however, and just a little more of a push would have shown us a first from Miss Scabbia.

THERE’S NO MERCY FOR THE INNOCENT

UNDER THE SURFACE

ALL YOUR SENSES ARE COMPELLED TO LIE

Cristina leads this song once again, a solid track to sit at the almost-halfway point of the album. More fascinating synths lead into powerful guitars, leading into Andrea kicking off the vocals with passion. Under the Surface is definitely the most lyrically heavy of the album, not necessarily in emotion or message, but in the sheer amount of singing that goes on through the track lasting just over four minutes. 

EVERYTHING FEELS PERFECT WHEN YOU’RE SPINNING LIES

This song takes hold and doesn’t let go. From start to finish, a musical storm, no break. One of the most powerful songs in terms of instruments without a doubt. 

ILLUSIONS AND EMOTIONS ARE FOR SALE

VENEFICIUM

NOVA VIS AD DIEM NOVUM NASCITUR

Musically, Veneficium is the most powerful song on the album. A blend of heavy guitar and bass riffs mixed with the kind of emotional blast we got from Apocalypse, Veneficium blows it out of the water as one of the best songs on the album. The piece experiments with symphonic metal and use of the Latin language, and takes listeners on a dark journey through the entire process.

HERE I COME TO SHOW YOU ALL THE WOUNDS INSIDE MY HEART

Andrea shows off his clean vocals in Veneficium, proving he can still sing just as much as he can growl. The lyrics are powerful and moving. Overall, a strong track that stands up and shouts, “I’M HERE AND I’M AMAZING!”

I’M AFRAID TO SEE WHAT I BECAME – I KNOW THAT IT WILL NEVER BE THE SAME

THE END IS ALL I CAN SEE

THE PAIN IS ALMOST LIKE SALVATION

Tension rises slowly in The End is All I Can See, but it is, admittedly, the weakest track on the album. The lyrics are strong and the music is haunting, but it drones as opposed to putting up the fight the rest of the album does. It still takes a stand and earns a place on the album. Why? Because with just a little more effort, it could have been a blazing song.

NOW PLEASE ANSWER MY PRAYERS CAUSE THE END IS ALL I CAN SEE

SAVE ME

I CAN’T HELP IT, I’M BREAKING DOWN

There is no denying that the last single released before the album dropped would be a fan favorite. Save Me stands up for every single one of us who struggle with pain, depression, mental instability – anything that may cut us short in life. More melodic than dark and heavy, we can hear the pain in Cristina’s voice once more. The mantra of this song, presented by the band themselves: IT’S OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY.

Musically, another powerful song that uses bass behind vocals to really hit home a message. We hear you, guys – it really is okay to not be okay.

STAND HERE BEGGING FOR HELP – THE ONLY HUMANS WALKING THROUGH THIS HELL

BLACK ANIMA

I’M LONGING FOR THE RAIN TO WASH IT ALL AWAY

The final track hits us right where all final tracks should. A strong closer with heavy goth vibes and soaring instruments (EVERYONE shines here), Black Anima bears down and reminds us exactly why we listen to Lacuna Coil. By the time the song closes, Coilers sit and wallow in the realization that this, indeed, is the end of another fantastic album – what is probably the band’s best album in nearly twenty two years.

I CAN SEE YOUR ANIMA