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Lacuna Coil: Adrenaline Junkies

What’s not to love about Cristina Scabbia? She not only possesses one hell of a set of pipes and Italian looks to kill, but when the pint-sized metal maiden puts in a call to HQ she’s so excited to be finally fielding questions about Lacuna Coil’s new album, Dark Adrenaline, that we can’t help but be swept away in her enthusiasm.

It’s easy to understand why she’s so stoked. Wrapping up recording mid-2011, Dark Adrenaline was originally scheduled to be released in October last year, but at the very last minute the label made the executive decision to push the release back to the New Year to iron out the finer details and unintentionally taunt the band.

“Trust me, it’s more painful for us to wait for the release than for our hardcore fans because we know it’s there and we can’t play the new songs, and we can’t have people listen to the new songs – it’s torture.”

Recorded over two continents, with the music side captured in bassist Marco Coti Zelati’s studio in their hometown of Milan and the vocals handled in Los Angeles, the Italians once again utilised the knob skills of Don Gilmore (Linking Park, Bullet For My Valentine) who helped them draw out the meaty side of their brand of goth Euro metal.
“Obviously people shouldn’t expect a brutal black metal album or anything like that,” says Scabbia. “It’s definitely heavier in the sound, in the composition and in the riffs. If you think about Lacuna Coil’s music, it’s still very melodic, there’s still a ballad and there’s still some obscure moments and some dramatic gaps in some songs, but it’s mainly in the sound; the sound is really prominent and definitely heavier than it used to be.”

When the Italians released their last album, Shallow Life, in 2009, its super mainstream rock sound took fans and critics by surprise. It was clear that Lacuna Coil had their sights set on the charts, and while the album did extremely well all over the world, the band weren’t entirely satisfied with the direction they took. So is the quest to recapture the metal sound they built their reputation on a reaction to the way they feel about Shallow Life?

“It is a little bit of a reaction,” admits Scabbia. “When we did Shallow Life we were more into a rock’n’roll moment; I still feel that the mixing could have been done in a better way. We just thought about it, and we thought it was the case to change the person who was going to mix the album because when we worked with Don Gilmore on Shallow Life, he also mixed the album, and we realised we wanted something heavier because when we play live shows we like to play something heavier, something more energetic, so we said why don’t we work with Don Gilmore as a producer but we’d like someone else to mix the album, more of a metalhead who can deliver the sound of the guitar that we really want.”

And that’s exactly what they got. Sonically sitting closer to Karmacode (2006) than its immediate predecessor, Lacuna Coil’s new album, Dark Adrenaline, is full of chunky nu-metal riffs blanketed by a cloud of darkness while Scabbia’s vocals soar right over the top of it with lyrics about facing your deepest fears head on.

“We wanted the album to reflect what we have lived in the years between Shallow Life and Dark Adrenaline because whether you like it or not, your personal experiences in life are influencing the lyrics and that’s what happens. We had some troubles in those years in terms of personal life that definitely brought us to write songs about anger, about hope, about inner strength and this is obviously coming from what we have lived in these years. Sometimes you don’t know why you’re writing specific things, you don’t know why you are writing the riffs because it’s music, you start to compose in a sort of trance just because you dreamt about a riff, but you can’t explain why you did it or why you like it, it’s personal taste.”

With Dark Adrenaline being packaged up and shipped off to record stores all over the globe, naturally Lacuna Coil stories are popping up all over the web. But what’s so disconcerting is the amount of misogynistic, degrading and overly sexist comments that follow each piece. How does it feel that 15 years into her career, Scabbia is still struggling to gain the respect afforded to her male colleagues simply because she is of the fairer sex?

“Well, I just laugh about it because these comments are coming from frustrated guys that are sitting in front of their computer and they feel stronger expressing their vulgar comments. At the end of the day these are the people who, when they are in front of you, they aren’t going to be able to talk, so I don’t really care about these kinds of comments. These comments will always happen, and there will always be some people that act this way.

“To be honest, if you forget the vulgar side, it’s kind of flattering that somebody thinks that you are a good looking person and you’re attractive in any way, so I just take it as it is and have a laugh about it, but I don’t put too much thought into it. Whatever, think whatever you want. It’s gonna happen no matter what, and not just in music, a woman is going to have more attention no matter what.”

While on the topic of gender, when interviewed Civet [ #99], frontwoman Liza Graves was lamenting the fact that female musicians seem to have to sacrifice so much more than their male counterparts in terms of getting married and starting a family. Considering Scabbia is turning 40 later this year, does she feel like the dream of a white picket fence is becoming more and more elusive?

“I absolutely agree with that, it’s such an all-consuming job,” concedes the vocalist. “When you tour, and you tour a lot as we do, your perception of time has completely changed. What people see from the outside is fun, party and beers – that’s all they see, they see the shining part only, but they forget all the preparation for tours, all the work you put into it, all the stress coming from the fact that you’re not in your own house, you are far from the people you love, you’re in a different city every day, you have no real concept of time or space, you don’t know where you are at, you wake up and ask: ‘Where am I today?’ You feel kind of lost as months turn into weeks, sometimes time flies and sometimes time stops and a day feels like it has taken years to pass.

“This is definitely the weirdest situation ever and only musicians that tour can understand that. It’s a job that requires a lot of commitment for sure.”



Dark Adrenaline
is out now on Century Media.

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