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.
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
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
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
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
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
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