Sound — 7
Lacuna Coil is a pop metal band from Italy that has been together since 1994 but has gained much of its fame probably in the last ten years. You may have heard the band's most famous single, "Our Truth" which actually had a run on MTV when MTV still showed music videos. It has seemed recently that they have found their tried and true method, songs that center around the vocal duo of Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro, and this method has led to their ascension up the Billboard rankings with each of their albums since 2006's "Karmacode" charting higher than the previous.
The first thing that is immediately noticeable about "Broken Crown Halo" is that nothing has changed. Lacuna Coil is still writing predictable songs that center around the aforementioned vocal duo, and specifically on this album, Cristina Scabbia. But this lack of growth, however, is not necessarily a negative for previous fans of the band. In fact, unless you were expecting them to change, this is a pretty decent album. The choruses are catchy. The perennially distorted guitar riffs have that nu metal edge. The guitar solos are few in number and for the most part, low in quality and creativity, thought there are some bright spots. The chord progressions are poppy, yet that is what makes them sound good. These progressions sound like overdone pop, but not to the offensive level that makes it insulting to listen to. The drums are average, fulfilling their purpose but never pushing boundaries. Overall, as I somewhat expected, the album revolves around Cristina Scabbia. But I mean come on, she does sound awesome.
One of the more outright positive thoughts about this album is that it will probably sound great live. In general, simple, easy to follow chord progressions make it easier for fans, especially new or prospective ones, to understand concerts, allowing them to spend more time headbanging instead of paying attention. Of course, depending on your opinion, this type of live experience could be good or bad. Nevertheless, it would be interesting to see how this decent amount of raw energy sounds on a stage in front of people looking to escape from their lives and have fun for a couple of hours. For some reason, I want to compare Lacuna Coil in this aspect to modern hard rockers, The Darkness.
Still, the album doesn't sound interesting to me, no matter how much I could sing along or headbang to it. There isn't a lot to say. If you liked the band before, you will like this album and if you didn't like the band before, you won't like this album. If you were kind of skeptical of the band, like me, and was expecting some sort of creative transformation, you will be disappointed. As to an overall impression, I am kind of stuck in the middle between how good the album sounds versus how quickly it feels old and boring.
Lyrics — 8
The vocals, as I have mentioned before, are far and away the best part of this album. Lacuna Coil's signature sound is based on the amazing, contrasting harmonies of their two lead singers, and they do not disappoint on this album.
Lyrically, this album features the same old heroes/love/relationships subject that seems to make up the lyrical content of most music, especially pop-oriented ones. The lyrics are above average, even when relegated to this overused stereotype. If these lyrics had been written forty or fifty years ago, we might consider them genius, but today they are just the somewhat worthless fodder of pop music. Still, I guess it is called tried and true for a reason; it can't be all that bad.
Overall Impression — 6
Putting aside the stigma about this album's seeming lack of creativity, the music sounds pretty darned good. The songs flow well as individuals; it seems this album was written as a collection of songs instead of a single synergistic album. This album shows that Lacuna Coil believes that it has a winning formula, and it doesn't feel like messing with it.
Considering the mercurial nature of the opinions expressed in this review, I would definitely recommend that you give Broken Crown Halo a listen because I cannot confirm one way or another which way your feelings will fall.
The two best songs in terms of catchiness are "I Forgive (But I Won't Forget You)" and "I Burn in You" while the song "One Cold Day" is actually notable for its creativity and its epic, heroic feel.