A Review of Lacuna Coil's Karmacode: Different Type of Album But Still Good
Lacuna Coil: Karmacode CD Image With Numbers On It
Karmacode Songs List
- To the Edge
- Our Truth
- Within Me
- You Create
- What I See
- Fragments of Faith
- In Visible Light
- The Game
- Without Fear
- Enjoy the Silence (originally written by Depeche Mode)
If You Give Karmacode a Second Chance You May Like It
Milan Italy’s premier Gothic metal band Lacuna Coil has evolved a lot since their beginning back in 1994. Their 4th studio album Karmacode released in 2006 is a different kind of album but it is still good. I was one of those people that thought the album was sub-par. But after some time has passed I am getting into the album a bit more and when you give certain albums more of a chance you may like them more. That’s something that I will describe as a kind of “St. Anger moment.” This refers to the many years that I disliked Metallica’s St. Anger album so much and then after many listens, I grew to like that album a lot in spite of the horrible drum sound and the general lack of guitar solos.
Some Perspective On Italy's heavy metal scene Compared to the USA
American heavy metal is not as good as it used to be and other countries in the world have surpassed the United States in terms of quality metal bands. Italy is one of these countries. Some of you may be shocked to hear this because you may be thinking that such a thing wouldn’t or couldn’t be possible because America is so great that it should be #1 in everything. With the general decline of American heavy metal, the rise of Europe in this category is evident even now. So what makes Karmacode different from Lacuna Coil’s previous works?
Note: at the first writing of this review I had been very critical of the American heavy metal scene of the modern era (2000 and later). While the metal music scene in the US isn’t terrible, it is not as good as before.
A Brief Analysis of Karmacode
The most obvious factor in Karmacode is that it is heavier and more metallic sounding especially in the song called “What I See.” The song also has a great sounding acoustic guitar part in it that sounds atmospheric and like a twin guitar sound similar to Canadian metal band Annihilator. One of the major highlights of the album is the solid rock type of song called Closer. The song is about searching for a higher ground that you might have missed before. You wonder if you are going in the right direction or not. Vocalist Cristina Scabbia still has the vocal range but I feel that she has lost the power and passion that she showed with the band’s 2001 classic album Unleashed Memories. Even so, she is still active in the music scene and still going after vocalists like Tanja Lainio and Helen Vogt have departed. “The Game” is one of the album’s weaker songs describing a relationship that has ended but that she can handle whatever sorrow might come her way. Sometimes it is really tough to handle a breakup so well. Karmacode is also said to have a more Middle Eastern sound to it. Our Truth features the shamisen, a Japanese stringed instrument. Fragile features some chanting style vocals by Scabbia as we hear a catchy tune.
The Song Called "What I See"
Style Differences in Karmacode and the Earlier Albums of Lacuna Coil
Basically, Lacuna Coil’s self-titled mini album and In a Reverie focused on Gothic rock that was lighter and more melodic with Cristina Scabbia having more powerful, soothing vocals. But Karmacode was written to appeal to the masses and attract a more mainstream audience.
The Song Called "Fragile"
Final Thoughts On Karmacode As of the First Analysis
I was very critical of this approach for a very long time as I felt that the band should have stuck to their roots and what was a winning formula earlier in their career. But bands should sometimes try a different approach with their music so that they can grow and mature. Karmacode is a heavier and different kind of album form their early years but it is still good overall. It gets a solid 85 out of 100 points. The album ends with a performance of Depeche Mode’s Enjoy the Silence. Are there any bad songs in Karmacode? The short answer is no. But it still is not even close to being as good as In a Reverie or Unleashed Memories. Even so, it is a good heavy Gothic metal release.
Karmacode Is an Album That Flows Very Nicely Musically
It is now June 2020 and I’m sure the question on some metal fans minds is how good of an album is Karmacode? It flows rather nicely musically. The production is heavier than the albums In a Reverie and Unleashed Memories. “To the Edge” has a nice, heavy finish to it as the song Our Truth sees Cristina Scabbia using a more chanting vocal approach in the beginning of this song, something we had not seen from her before. However, on the website Metal Archives Karmacode gets an average review rating of 46% which is far too low for an album that is innovative and creative as this one is. If a band wants to grow and evolve, they have to experiment, try new things and go out of their comfort zone and I know that change is hard for most of us to accept but the reality of music and life is that change is always a constant occurrence. Is life really that short as Andrea Ferro utters in the song To the Edge? There is one thing that is certain though: Lacuna Coil isn’t short on talent. Even songs such as You Create which is a mix of electric guitar with Cristina’s towering voice is a good entry into the song called “What I See.” Is Karmacode different than the earlier Lacuna Coil albums? Of course it is different but to get the amount of criticism that Karmacode gets is harsh in my opinion. In order to grow and evolve as a band, a change of style is necessary in some cases. With the style change, the heavy guitars in songs such as Devoted are a good complement to the two strongest songs in Karmacode which are Fragile and Closer.
© 2016 Ara Vahanian