December 7, 2018 Lacuna Coil – Nothing Stands In Our Way (Book Review)
On the eve of their twentieth anniversary as a band, Italy’s own Lacuna Coil present their fans with a truly wonderous holiday gift: the gorgeously extensive collector’s book, Nothing Stands In Our Way, which arrived on November 8, 2018, and is available for purchase directly through the band’s website.
The book comes in two additions and contains rare and candid photographs and memorabilia, along with artifacts from Lacuna Coil’s personal collections. While the bulk of the book’s text centers on interview snippets from founding members Vocalist Cristina Scabbia, Bassist Marco “Maki” Coti Zelati, and Vocalist Andrea Ferro, many others chime in with their two-cents on the band’s history and rise to fame and offer anecdotes from along the impressive journey. Familiar faces include former Drummer Cristiano “Criz” Mozzati; former Guitarist Cristiano “Pizza” Migliore; Band Manager Valerie Lynch; Producers Waldemar Sorychta and Don Gilmore; Drum Tech-turned-Drummer Ryan Blake Folden; and newest Guitarist Diego Cavalloti.
Telling the story of the history of the band in the first person, one album at a time, Scabbia, Zelati, and Ferro, along with friends and colleagues, provide a candid look into Lacuna Coil. At over 200 pages in-length, Nothing Stands In Our Way is chock-full of photographs that will absolutely delight die-hard fans, including (but hardly limited to) baby pictures; a 1997 photo-shoot for the band’s self-titled EP; old press flyers; tour photos; Maki in a bikini; images of the band and crew goofing off on their days off; behind-the-scenes on video shoots; album and single artwork; sketches from Maki; logo and costume designs; and much, much more. They even include images from festivals around the world, including Ozzfest, Rock on the Range, and Graspop Metal Meeting.
Nothing Stands In Our Way breaks down into sections, each centered around the band’s albums. However, to start, the book delves into the group’s earliest beginnings – including their childhoods, as well as the bands and musicians who inspired them to pursue music. Holding nothing back, they discuss their first concert attendance and first performances as musicians – including high school bands, as well as Sleep of Right and Ethereal.
Ethereal, of course, is the band that would go on to be rechristened Lacuna Coil. As they delve into this transitional period, Zelati and Ferro point out initial hesitations concerning having Cristina in the band, they share Ethereal publicity shots and a promo-demo cassette cover, and even share the origins of their name change when signing with Century Media Records. This flows perfectly into discussion of their first 1997 EP along with their first tour with Moonspell, including troubles on the road that led to a split in the Lacuna Coil camp.
On the topic of their 1999 full-length debut, In A Reverie, the trio discuss the controversial original album cover. Talk of 2000’s Halflife leads to the admission that they felt that they were beginning to come into their own on 2001’s Unleashed Memories, which paved the way for the band’s break-out, 2002’s Comalies. Here, they pause to discuss everything from the writing and recording of the record to those iconic priest suits handmade by Alberto Gigliotti. Ferro also delves into the common misinterpretations behind their popular single, “Heaven’s A Lie.”
Scabbia goes on to discuss the pivotal success of Comalies and how it opened the band to new possibilities and allowed them to take more control over their own career. In fact, thanks much in part to this commercial viability, Ferro explains that, for the first time, the band members were able to survive off their music without having side jobs back at home, and, furthermore, this bankability allowed Lacuna Coil to spend more money on the creation and production of their next record, 2006’s Karmacode. Coincidentally, this is where the band’s story changes and they fully come into their own as professional musicians.
Digging deeper, they explore the influences that went into the writing and recording of Karmacode, as well as the band’s collective mindset throughout that period. In truth, this is fairly standard for all of the albums they discuss – they provide a true behind-the-scenes glance into the production of each record. As the trio and their associates never hold back in their confessions, Maki even humorously mentions the fact that he hates the cover art for Karmacode and dips into some of the issues stemming from his loathe for that particular piece of art.
When they take side journeys away from their albums, the band discuss topics such as video games and contributing to Guitar Hero III, provide behind-the-scenes glimpses at their video shoots, and discuss their collection of cover songs. In one sidebar, Scabbia explains her frustration that, even after all these years, Italy is not a country that embraces Rock/Metal music, and she considers the possible cause of this as being the persistent misperception that Rock and Metal are linked to Satanism.
For 2009’s Shallow Life, they discuss the decision to work with Producer Don Gilmore (Linkin Park, Evanescence) and their subsequent “break-up” with long-time Producer Sorychta. Scabbia explains the concept behind the album and how many people simply didn’t ‘get it’ and she even meanders through an admission of being conflicted over the band’s identity, and likens Lacuna Coil, in some ways, to Faith No More.
There is much material to be discussed for the period surrounding 2012’s Dark Adrenaline, 2014’s Broken Crown Halo, and 2016’s Delirium. This is where we first meet the band’s drum tech Ryan Blake Folden who, as fans already know, will step in to replace Mozzati. In fact, they discuss the departures of both Mozzati and Migliore with a candid honesty, explaining why each of the men opted to leave the band and how the band, in turn, handled these departures. In a similarly candid discussion, Maki notes issues that he experienced with Producer Jay Baumgardner which, presumably, led to the band’s decision to self-produce Delirium.
For Delirium, they opt to focus on Folden’s first full album cycle with the band, mention some personal struggles throughout the recording of the collection, and welcome Guitarist Diego Cavalloti into the fold. Older, wiser, and with a wealth of experience under their collective belt now, Lacuna Coil end their journey by discussing the state of the music industry in 2018, streaming vs. physical product sales, as well as social media and beyond. They recap their 20-year anniversary 119 show – including its rehearsals and beautiful theatrics, costumes, and set-list. This extensive look behind the show even includes a quote from Matt Wrycraft, founder of the EmptySpiral.net fan community.
As they close out Nothing Stands In Our Way, the band look toward their future and the next twenty years: Scabbia briefly discusses her involvement with The Voice of Italy, while she and Maki both offer their insight into longevity in music and what the future holds for Lacuna Coil. All told, Nothing Stands In Our Way is the story of Lacuna Coil from their childhoods and earliest beginnings, to the band’s inception, to this very moment in 2018 with 20 years beneath their belts. They leave no stone unturned and even go so far as to discuss cover artwork throughout their career, fashion choices, and in-band controversies.
Throughout the book, the band take the time to give a lot of insight into what truly matters – their music. In other words, Nothing Stands In Our Way is not some salacious autobiography a la Mötley Crüe’s The Dirt, no: this is a book that delves into intelligent and honest content, and provides some photographic rarities along the way. The band never shy away from a topic and are fully candid in their retelling of their history, open to confessing their mistakes and foibles.
Ultimately, let’s be honest: this is a book for die-hard Lacuna Coil fans, not casual fans or those with a passing interest, but a gift to those who want to know every detail and nuance of their favorite band’s rise to success. In short, if you are a Lacuna Coil fan, rejoice! The perfect Christmas present has arrived! It’s beautifully presented and will be a favorite keepsake in your collection. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock give Lacuna Coil’s Nothing Stands In Our Way 4.5 of 5 stars.