Release Date: November 9th, 2018
DON’T BELIEVE IN TOMORROW
The two-decade mark will be smashed. Twenty years young will be noted. And a vicennial triumph will be celebrated. For Italy’s LACUNA COIL, turning 20 will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, not only for the Milan-based outfit, but also for their diehard fans around the globe. Together, they’ll commemorate the past—with a super-special one-off show in London and a new book titled Nothing Stands in Our Way—to venture bravely into the future. While the big Two-O is often an unkind benchmark, LACUNA COIL are facing down decade two with renewed strength, unfettered passion, and relentless drive.
“We never thought we’d get to this point,” beams LACUNA COIL co-vocalist Cristina Scabbia. “That we’re still an active and growing band—we got a lot of new fans on Delirium—is exciting. I’m excited about the 20th Anniversary of LACUNA COIL. I’m excited about the book, the special show we have in London, and the shows to come. We look forward to accomplishing more things in the years to come with LACUNA COIL.”
The road to now wasn’t always paved with lofty chart positions, high-profile tours, and viral music videos. LACUNA COIL worked tirelessly for their position as global metal phenoms. That they’re Italy’s top metal export shouldn’t surprise anyone. Amazingly, it all started in 1994, then as Sleep of Right and briefly as Ethereal. The Italians survived the next three years on a steady diet of Moonspell, Tiamat, and Type O Negative before finally emerging as LACUNA COIL on the burgeoning Century Media label. From there, the trajectory to success was relatively short, even if the band, at the time, weren’t looking for it.
“We weren’t a hobby band, but at the same time we never thought we’d be at the level we are now,” Scabbia remembers. “We would’ve never expected to be here 20 years later. Italy isn’t a rock or metal place. For us, to get a deal with Century Media, an international label, a label that was home to the bands—Moonspell and Tiamat—we loved back then was pretty incredible. We were very determined to do more and more. We didn’t play with goals though. Actually, we had one goal: to get a deal. After, we had no idea what to do.”
What followed was only natural. LACUNA COIL’s self-titled debut EP hit softly. The group’s penchant for melancholic melodies and trade-off vocals—Scabbia shares vocal lines with long-time co-vocalist Andrea Ferro—felt right at home, however. They would expand on songs like ‘No Need to Explain’ and ‘This Is My Dream’ with debut full-length, In a Reverie. LACUNA COIL again enlisted producer Waldemar Sorychta and Woodhouse Studios to realize their second milestone, a relationship that would extend nearly a decade. The songwriting dramatically improved with the revamped lineup and, as a result, songs like “My Wings”, ”Circle”, and ”Honeymoon Suite” were regarded, by fans and the press, as a brilliant mix of Paradise Lost and The Gathering. LACUNA COIL had officially put Italy on the metal map. The many tours around Europe—including appearances at premier festivals like Dynamo and Gods of Metal—also solidified the Italians as a genuine live act.
“After we signed the deal and started touring, a whole new world of perspectives opened to us,” reveals Scabbia. “We would’ve never dreamed of learning what we’ve learned. Twenty years ago, things were absolutely different. Not even close to how things are today. The Internet wasn’t as big. To do a demo you had to go to a proper analog studio. To be professional back then wasn’t cheap. You had to spend money.”
From In a Reverie to the group’s sophomore full-length Unleashed Memories, the lineup changed again and so too did LACUNA COIL’s sound. The stopgap EP, Halflife, centered on the Italians’ sentimental side, whereas Unleashed Memories doubled down on the guitar and the continuously impressive pairing of vocalists Scabbia and Ferro. Songs like ”To Live Is to Hide”, “‘Purify”, and ”Senzafine” immediately won the hearts of fans and critics alike, with Allmusic saying, “LACUNA COIL escapes the stylistic straitjacket of the goth/metal formula, making them more accessible than many of their peers.” Make no mistake, Unleashed Memories set the stage for LACUNA COIL to launch into the stratosphere.
“Unleashed Memories was more us, I think,” Scabbia ponders. “The songwriting was the focus. It took us awhile to get working on it [after Halflife], but I remember it well. We didn’t want to repeat our debut and we were really inspired to write the best songs possible, at the time. I think you can hear our passion on that record.”
In four short years, LACUNA COIL were on the upswing, if only in Europe. Touring continued on the Continent until they hit Woodhouse Studios, again with Sorychta at the production helm, to record Comalies in the fall of 2002. The lineup from
Unleashed Memories was retained, which helped tighten not just the in-studio performances but also the sense that LACUNA COIL—Scabbia, Ferro, Marco Biazzi, Cristiano Migliore, Marco Coti-Zelati, and Cristiano Mozzati—were charging forward as a unit. Songs like “Swamped”, “Daylight Dancer”, and ”Unspoken” displayed the group as veritable songwriters, where structure and transitions mattered. What they weren’t prepared for was the unexpected but welcome blow-up of the “Heaven’s a Lie” single. Not just in Europe, but in America, where it took off on radio and TV. Americans were suddenly enamored by LACUNA COIL. And the Italians broke their yearly album stride by touring constantly on the strength of the ”Heaven’s a Lie” and follow-up single, “Swamped”. Two years into the Comalies road cycle, Ozzfest rang. Jack and Kelly Osbourne had handpicked LACUNA COIL to appear. The rest, as they say, is history.
“We did Ozzfest in 2004,” grins Scabbia. “That was so amazing! We were on the second stage with Slipknot and Lamb of God. Looking back, I think it’s kind of unreal. After Ozzfest, we did the ’Heaven’s a Lie‘ video. We got a lot more recognition. So, we started to tour more in the states. We were starting to become very consistent in the states. In Europe, we were already known, but after Ozzfest our image improved. Like suddenly we were a real band. So, yes, our big jump was on Comalies.”
NOTHING STANDS IN OUR WAY
From this point forward, LACUNA COIL’s album cycle elongated as demands on their day-to-day schedules increasingly intensified. The Italians rode Comalies from 2002 to 2006—selling 500,000 copies worldwide—until they were ready to hunker down on the follow-up, Karmacode. Produced by long-time partner Sorychta, mixed by Ronald Prent (Rammstein, Within Temptation), and mastered by Darcy Proper (Porcupine Tree), Karmacode was staged by Century Media to be massive. And it was. Powered by four singles “Our Truth”, “Enjoy the Silence” (a Depeche Mode cover), ”Closer”, and ”Within Me”, Karmacode shot up the Billboard 200 to peak at position 28, simultaneously crushed the German, French, Italian, and UK album charts, and afforded LACUNA COIL not one but over 40 different cover spots from magazines across the globe. Ozzfest also called again, securing LACUNA COIL’s status as the Next Big Thing. Even Yahoo recognized their potential, saying “LACUNA COIL are on the verge of a major breakthrough.”
“Nothing changed for us as people,” Scabbia affirms. “We were still the same people [after Karmacode’s success]. We finally figured out how to deal with the music business. In the beginning, we were naïve and we thought everything was super-cool. Well, it’s not. The music business is a lot of work. There are ups and downs. We are sure of ourselves now. We are more confident in what we do. We’re more professional. We have our own company. So, we know how to deal with the music business now. That’s the main thing. Once you become a band, you become a product, whether you like it or not. We had to learn how to best manage our product.”
LACUNA COIL were indeed a product, shiny and new. Although the Italians’ history had passed the decade mark, to most of the world they were still unknowns with a unique sound and visual aesthetic. Between ceaseless touring with the likes of Megadeth, Danzig, and Stone Sour, LACUNA COIL issued the Visual Karma (Body, Mind and Soul) DVD set. Recorded at the Loud Park and Wacken festivals, it served as a reminder of the trails LACUNA COIL had blazed for the Karmacode effort, while also offering fans a personal view into the band. When they hit the studio for Shallow Life a year later, change was in the air. Not only had primary songwriter Marco Coti-Zelati streamlined the songs, LACUNA COIL hired famed producer Don Gilmore (Linkin Park). For Shallow Life, four singles were unfurled. “Spellbound”, “I Like It”, ”I Won’t Tell You”, and “Wide Awake” were tailor-made for a wider audience. To date, the videos for “Spellbound”, ”I Like It”, and ”I Won’t Tell You” have over 20 million views. Shallow Life itself peaked at 16 on the Billboard 200, while also scoring top chart positions in Germany, France, Italy, and the UK. Certainly, there was no stopping LACUNA COIL.
“Shallow Life is a natural metamorphosis from within the band,” explains Scabbia. “We explored different musical territories while maintaining our own style. A mix of old and new, fast and slow and light and dark. The album production is incredibly powerful and has a beautiful purity to it. Shallow Life has forced us to challenge ourselves. It represents the way we see ourselves in the days we live in through truth, love and lies.”
But there were darker things in front of LACUNA COIL, whether they realized it or not. The terrible aspects of everyday life came into view. Geopolitics were gruesome—bombings in Russia, tsunamis in Japan, and the global economy in continual slump—and things positive from the decade before had become a distant memory. LACUNA COIL were brooding and the music reflected their inky mood. To wit, Dark Adrenaline wasn’t a direct return to the Comalies era, but it wasn’t as bright as the albums before it. The album’s first single, “Trip the Darkness”, captured the zeitgeist perfectly. It fretted as much as it grooved. Follow-up singles “Fire” and “End of Time” propelled LACUNA COIL’s sixth studio album to the group’s best chart positions ever, reaching 15 on the Billboard 200, 34 in Finland, 36 in Germany, and 18 in Italy. While most bands had hit their glass ceilings, LACUNA COIL had already busted through theirs and were on to the next milestone.
“On the last album, we were experimenting with our music,” Ferro unveils. “With Dark Adrenaline, we’ve been able to sum up almost all of the different aspects of LACUNA COIL. There is fluidity and maturity to the new songs that show the band that is willing to branch out while still staying true to our sonic roots.”
Whatever was getting under LACUNA COIL’s skin in the years leading up to and after Dark Adrenaline, it manifested deeply in Broken Crown Halo. Conceptually, it centered on the differences between real life and fairytales. That our reality is more fragile than we realize. Musically, LACUNA COIL’s sixth studio album was Coti-Zelati’s most cinematic moment, where music from Goblin, as written for legendary Italian horror director Dario Argento, came into view. Produced by Jay Baumgardner (P.O.D. Sevendust, Evanescence, Papa Roach) and mastered by Howie Weinberg (Metallica, Soundgarden, Nirvana), Broken Crown Halo was the Italians’ most ominous music to date. The singles ”Nothing Stands in Our Way”, ”Die & Rise”, and “I Forgive (But I Won’t Forget Your Name)” strongly reflected Coti-Zelati’s fascination with overcast themes and film soundscapes. Unfortunately, Broken Crown Halo would also be the last album to feature LACUNA
COIL’s ”classic lineup”. Drummer Cristiano Mozzati and guitarist Cristiano Migliore moved on, as did guitarist Marco Biazzi right before the follow-up to Broken Crown Halo.
“We’ve fused dark and horror elements with real life situations and have created a metaphor—we are fighting for a kingdom and a crown that is not what it seems,” continues Ferro. “It represents the moment of confusion we’re living in and the very fragile situations we face every day. We dealt with a lot of pain that has brought us down as a band and left us broken and shattered. But it also made us realize how much time has made us stronger. There have been times that we’ve been trapped in our past, only to discover that no one but ourselves can free us. When darkness holds you close, you need to open the wound and let it bleed out.”
IN VISIBLE LIGHT
The storm clouds continued to pass menacingly overhead, but didn’t stop Coti-Zelati from writing Delirium from a familiar place, both figurative and literal. Written, jammed, and produced in Italy, Delirium was, in effect, a homecoming for LACUNA COIL. They needed the comforts of places familiar after so many years away. Coti-Zelati’s new music ran directly through the halcyon days of Karmacode while developing the filmic qualities of Broken Crown Halo. The response, from fans and press, was deafening. Metalsucks said, “[Delirium is a] strong contender for best pop metal album of 2016”, with Loudwire piling on, saying, “It’s a polished album with memorable and flawlessly arranged songs that also includes some of the heaviest material they have done.” Promoted with a four-single configuration—“The House of Shame”, “Ghost in the Mist”, “Blood, Tears, Dust”, and the title track—Delirium charged the charts, peaking at 33 on the Billboard 200, #1 on the iTunes Metal Chart, and number 11 on the Italian charts.
“We did everything in Milan [on Delirium],” Scabbia affirms. “Doing things in our hometown is easier. We also didn’t go outside for a producer. We wanted Marco to produce the album, so it’s, more or less, all LACUNA COIL. It’s us. I’m sure people think we took a risk by doing it ourselves, but we felt we didn’t need another opinion. I think the results speak for themselves.”
By this point, if there’s anything that defines LACUNA COIL it’s perseverance and dedication. Delirium is evidence of that. True, the Italians didn’t set out as twentysomethings to be a chart-topping, globe-trotting, genre-bending beacon, but through quality songwriting, a strong emotional connection to their fans, and a diehard work ethic, that’s where they’ve landed 20 years later. That LACUNA COIL are better now, as veterans, than they were as gothic metal novices certainly says a lot about the group’s mentality, drive, and ability to reinvent. The Italians are naturals it seems. To celebrate two decades of LACUNA COIL, the group performed a super-special one-off show in January at the O2 Forum Kentish Town in London, where the Italian hit-makers unveiled a 27-song setlist, replete with heart-stoppers like “My Wings,” “Our Truth,” “Swamped,” “Heaven’s A Lie,” “Blood, Tears, Dust,” “Hyperfast,” “Nothing Stands in Our Way,” and, of course, a riveting rendition of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence.” The remarkable event was also professionally filmed for the upcoming live Blu-ray/DVD/CD set The 119 Show – Live in London, which will also showcase two featurettes, a before-and-after-the-show piece called “Behind the Curtains” and a long-form interview with LACUNA COIL called “Enter the Coil.”
“What took place at the O2 Forum Kentish Town in London on the 19th of January 2018 was pure magic,” beams the band. “It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us as a band and as people. The work involved, the pre-performance tension, the intensity on stage, the energy between us and the audience—all of this was beyond anything we’ve ever done before. This event was not just a show it was a birthday party, an anniversary celebration and most importantly a huge thank you to everyone who travelled side-by-side with us for the last 20 years. And now, with the release of The 119 Show – Live in London we can also share the magic with those fans who weren’t able to party with us in January.”
As for the future, the follow-up to Delirium is certainly imminent, as are more top-line tours. There’s little doubt LACUNA COIL are at least thinking about it. Or, is there?
“We don’t look ahead too much,” laughs Scabbia. “Not at all. It doesn’t make sense. We have short-term plans, but we don’t really know what’s too far in front of us. I don’t think, ‘Oh my god! Where am I going to be in five years?’ The past is a lesson to make myself a better person for the future. I don’t want to even imagine where I’m going to be in five years. It won’t be exciting or fun for me.”
With that said, here’s to the next decade of LACUNA COIL!
By Chris Dick