Lacuna Coil

Dark Adrenaline

01. Trip the Darkness
02. Against You
03. Kill the Light
04. Give Me Something More
05. Upsidedown
06. End of Time
07. I Don’t Believe in Tomorrow
08. Intoxicated
09. The Army Inside
10. Losing My Religion (R.E.M. Cover)
11. Fire
12. My Spirit

[01/24/12]
[Century Media]

Lacuna Coil have never really been shy about being a pop-metal band. The psuedo-goth get up, female oriented vocals, and accessible sound were practically made with Hot Topic in mind. From their 1999 record In A Reverie, it was clear where the band were headed in terms of mainstream reception, despite still having their foot in the door as a legitimate metal band. Over the next decade, the band evolved into a streamlined and polished pop-metal machine, breaking through in the US with 2006’s Karma Code. Not all that much has changed since then.

It should come as no surprise that Lacuna Coil are still making the same type of music that got them a considerable amount of mainstream success. It seems that this layer of the metal genre tends to stagnate into a pool that’s sterile enough to allow everyone to dip their toes ito the deep end. Lacuna Coil, Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, and the like—for better or for worse—keep making what are essentially the same albums over and over again to varying degrees of success. I mean, if you’re touring with Megadeth and selling a ton of records and merch relative to other metal bands, why mess that up? I totally get it.

In that regard, Dark Adrenaline is exactly how everyone expects it to sound, continuing the trend of formulaic songwriting in the standard pop structure of verse/chorus/verse/chorus. At this point, Lacuna Coil are the definition of predictable. I mean, it’s not like anyone goes into a Lacuna Coil record expecting some groundbreaking musical substance and high artistic achievement; no, people listen to Lacuna Coil because the music is fun and catchy, with just enough pop to get you going without all that guilt and embarrassment of having to listen to the radio. For some purists, Lacuna Coil are just as embarrassing, but they make a hell of a good gateway band for those with less extreme sensibilities.

So while we’ve established that Dark Adrenaline does have a legitimate use out there in the world, unfortunately it will fall mostly on the ears of adolescents and teens that won’t necessarily have an ear for metal in the first place. The nu-metal era guitar riffs and soaring choruses are essentially ripped right out of Evanescence‘s Fallen, which I loved when I was younger. Have we gone full circle already? I’m in my early 20’s and I’m already starting to feel old. I realize that Lacuna Coil have been around a year before Evanescence, but it seems they’re wanting their slice of the pie.

Frankly, Dark Adrenaline just feels lazy and phoned in. The record is generally uninteresting, and there’s no sense of passion or meaning; it’s just another product. Despite being seen as a slight upswing since 2009’s Shallow Life, (the band remembered to include riffs this time!) Dark Adrenaline fails to impress and gets its points for being a mere guilty pleasure, and even then, it leaves more to be desired.

Lacuna Coil – Dark Adrenaline gets…

2.5/5

– JR

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