Welcome to the silence of the new world no one asked for. Since March of 2020 live music has been put on hold, as have many individual lives on a global scale, in one way or another. All Heavy Metal bands, in general, have reacted differently to the lack of touring; some have adapted to new ways of playing, such as live streaming. This has helped to pick up the slack and to quickly achieve a newfound success, although most would argue it still does not hold a candle to a live, three-dimensional show with a packed house.
A very special brand of Gothic Metal, featuring dual vocals, Lacuna Coil has found their heart in the midst of a dark and dismal year. Formed in 1994 and hailing from Italy, the band has nine studio albums under their belt. And their latest presentation comes in the form of a livestream collection, titled Live From the Apocalypse. The album, which was filmed and recorded via live stream during the second wave of the pandemic, in September 2020, was released on Friday, June 25, 2021, via Century Media.
Featuring 16 tracks of pure adrenaline of the dark and heavy variety, Live from the Apocalypse sees Lead Vocalists Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro enhancing Lacuna Coil’s already dynamically creative side even further, while Marco “Maki” Coti-Zelati powers the guitars, bass guitar, keyboards and synths with passion. Not to be overlooked, Diego “DD” Cavallotti also radiates with skill on the guitars, and Richard Meiz never misses a beat on the drums. As a fan for many years, it must be noted that every new album unleashes yet another layer of the deep-rooted interworking of the band’s hearts and souls. Simply put: They truly pour their life blood into everything they do, always managing to create a very meaningful, unique concept with every album.
So what proves most special on this live compilation, which features all newer tunes from the 2019 release Black Anima and beyond, is that the listener can relish in the special creative moments Lacuna Coil presents throughout one exciting session. Starting off, of course, with tracks from the newest studio album, Black Anima, is the short and sweet tune “Anima Nera,” led by Scabbia’s breathtaking vocals; the perfect welcome to what unfolds ahead on the dark path. Immediately following this is a powerful tune, “Sword Of Anger,” led by Ferro, whose opposing vocals create a beautiful dueling quality to that of Scabbia.
Next, the live album soars into “Save Me,” and after this heartfelt emotional battle comes “Now Or Never,” which features some of the best qualities of the layering between the male and female vocals. There are few bands that can create this dueling vocal style, but none do it quite the way these two do. This is one of those bands that would be incredibly different without either one of its vocalists, and it is hoped that this scenario never approaches the light of day. Scabbia’s diverse range, from alto to soprano, reaches an almost operatic tone that is extremely unique as well as an inspiration to so many female vocalists all over the globe. Ferro curbs that beauty with his piercing, deeply harsh, and powerful vocal styling to make the pair a perfect complement.
To bring in more energy and excitement, the compilation jumps from “Black Dried Up Heart,” which teeters between the somber and heavy, surging aggression, into the title track from their upcoming 2021 release, “Bad Things.” While the song does switch the agenda slightly, the band’s fluctuating conceptual sounds throughout the years of their progression have really found a master skeleton key that translates to all tunes, at least in the sense of vocals. In this, the guitars seem to branch into more of a melodic journey which could prove a new successful development if it is to be expanded upon with more definition in their upcoming work.
To conclude the live streaming collection, “Layers of Time” offers an absolutely breathtaking display of Scabbia’s vocals before they bring more powerful rhythms and melodic undertones to “Black Anima.” For the grand finale they expand on the song “Save Me,” delivering an explosion of emotional turmoil onto the blacktop in 100-degree weather.
Despite Lacuna Coil’s home of Milan, Italy being one of the first and most hard hit countries during the pandemic, these metalheads prove that they are completely untouchable. When writing music, the band seems to be one of the most compatible and unified in the industry, despite their few line-up changes along the way. Because of this they truly bring some of the most cohesive and creative song structures into the moonlight, a fact that has kept them in the upper echelon of Gothic Metal alongside such legends as Type O Negative. Cherishing its darkened purity, Cryptic Rock gives Live From The Apocalypse 5 out of 5 stars.