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LacunaáCoil:áNothingáStandsáIn TheiráWay

Thursday, 20 March 2014 Written by Alec Chillingworth

If you're on of those people who’s quick to dismiss Lacuna Coil as a pretty face and a bloke who can't find a key in a locksmith's, then maybe it's time for you to re­evaluate. Even if the band just aren't your bag, you can't deny their success. Since forming in Italy some 20 years ago, they’ve toured with huge bands, shifted a lot of records and kicked many an arse.

'Broken Crown Halo' serves as the band's seventh full ­length album and a swansong for drummer Cristiano "Criz" Mozzati and guitarist Cristiano "Pizza" Migliore, who have both hung up their spurs. It's an absolute blinder; heavy and aggressive, yet beautiful and melodic. We sat down in lobby of London's St Giles Hotel with vocalists Christina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro to get all the details. 

So, the new album is called 'Broken Crown Halo'. 

Christina: It represents the concept behind the record. It's not a concept where there is a story to figure out as you listen, but the idea is a representation of each of the band members' personal kingdoms. Everyone lives and believes that every kingdom is so perfect and nothing can be touched, which is not the case. 'Broken Crown Halo' is us protecting our own kingdoms and realities as kings and queens, but the kingdoms are far from perfect.

The new album is possibly your strongest to date, and it makes for a much more immediate listen than some of your earlier work.

Christina: The inspiration was way more complex and had much more texture and layering. We focused more on the cinematic ideas in the album, we used way more metaphors, and we dug into our roots – not just the roots of the band, but the historical roots of each band member. The fact that we are heavily influenced by movies and soundtracks made in Italy contributed to 'Broken Crown Halo', with bands like Goblin influencing us. We used things from films like zombies, werewolves and vampires to describe how we are as a society right now.

You have such a wide palette of influences, and 'Broken Crown Halo' sees you concentrate more on the modern, heavier approach you've taken on the last few albums.

Andrea: Every song on 'Broken Crown Halo' has its own identity and there are many different styles being used, because we didn't really care what we were doing. If a song needed double kick drum or growled vocals, we didn't put many barriers around what we were doing.

Christina: We've always been inspired by the darker side of life, but we've also always been fierce. We've never come out with a positive message, because we don't send messages out to people – we write for ourselves. But we use our music as a healing process and we always come out stronger. We went through a heavy year in regards to personal experience when recording 'Broken Crown Halo', so that's why the lyrics are coming out even stronger.

Andrea: Another element is the atmosphere in Italy due to the economic crisis. We felt a lot of negative pressure in the media, and there were people committing suicide because they'd lost their jobs. There has been a year of negativity surrounding us, and the future felt very 'next year' – the future was shrunk down. The anger you feel on some of the songs is a result of that.

'Broken Crown Halo' is a significant album for the band then.

Andrea: By hearing the opinions of press and friends who have heard the album, they're all saying it's really heavy, angry and melodic – the strongest melodies that we've ever done, apparently. It's hard when you're inside, you've done the demo, you've recorded the album and stuff, so we've had enough of the album already. 

We know it so well, so it's hard to judge from the inside. The production is more rough compared to what we've done in the past; we've used a lot of vintage equipment and our sound engineer, Kyle Hoffmannwas really good at manipulating the traditional amps, pedals and guitars we've been using. It's all very organic, there's not a lot of processing in the mixing – there's minimal digital stuff, so what you hear is the real pick­up, the amps and stuff. It's an 'in your face' album.

Christina: We took a lot from the past, because so many people reminisce about the first few albums that we did. It just came out spontaneously, which is normal, really. It's still us writing the music, and it's come out stronger than ever.

Some of the new songs sound like they'd go down a storm live. 

Christina: We have some ideas, but we're still finalising. We're going back to Milan to rehearse, then we'll see how they sound. Some songs are better just to listen when you're at home because of the atmosphere they give off,  but some of these songs sound like they'd suit being played live. Nothing Stands In Our Way and Die & Rise would be good, because they're the bounciest songs and we could have more interaction with the audience.

While the band has its influences, you don't really sound like anyone else. When someone plays one of your albums, they instantly know it's Lacuna Coil.

Christina: When we started, it was definitely bands like Paradise Lost and Type O Negative that inspired us. Then Pantera and Metallica. We started around 15 years ago as a 'professional' band, but we didn't have all the experience in the live show or song writing process. The bands I mentioned did inspire us, but then we pooled from a huge set of inspirations that don't necessarily come from bands. They come from movies, books and life. We found our own style.

Andrea: When Marco [Coti Zelati, bass] composes the songs, he switches the TV on and watches a war documentary or horror film, then just plays a live soundtrack to it. Sometimes that's why our albums end up sounding so cinematic, because the music follows the images. Sometimes you might think that a riff sounds inspired by Machine Head or Korn or whatever, but the riff is in you – you bring it out because it's just how you're feeling at that moment.

You're a very well travelled band, and you've been on tour with some ridiculous acts.

Christina: I have a very vivid memory about Ozzfest 2004, because it was the first serious tour we did in the States. We previously toured with Opeth and Moonspell in the States, and it was great, but Ozzfest was the one that really sparkled the attention to Lacuna Coil. We came out as a popular band to the crowd, our songs were on the radio, and we just started to become more popular. It was the chance for us to play on the same stage as legends like Judas Priest and Zakk Wylde. We also met loads of cool people, like Ozzy Osbourne, and Randy Blythe of Lamb Of God, who remains our friend today. It was a dream come true.

Andrea: Ozzfest took us in a completely different dimension. From a little European band with a little bit of media buzz to being on the same stage with bands who are on the covers of magazines, it was insane. The Type O Negative tour was really great for us too, because we admire that band so much, and then we discovered that they are such nice people. Afterwards, we kept in touch every time either of our bands were in town. Last year's tour supporting Paradise Lost was such an honour, because it was their 25 anniversary and they're one of our main original influences. To be their special guests on that tour was an honour.

Christina: We've never had a bad time on tour. We're usually pretty close with the other artists, and we become friends and have a good time. We get the chance to play with artists who are so different from us, and we never have any trouble from their fans when we support them. 

You've seen success on so many levels. With fewer and fewer bands making that leap up, it begs the question: who will be there once the heritage bands are gone?

Andrea: The only band is Slipknot. They are the last band who have achieved that sort of success worldwide, not just in America. Bands like Five Finger Death Punch and Avenged Sevenfold – well, they're big in Europe too – are massive in America, but they still do not have that worldwide appeal. Slipknot is the only band, and I don't see any bands following afterwards. The music business has changed so much, and it's hard for any band to keep up. 

Christina: Everything's so fast nowadays. When you think about bands like Metallica and Iron Maiden, they had a real career. They started as small bands then broke out, got more fans, made their mistakes and fixed them. Bands cannot have a career any more – they have one successful album and then they disappear. We always tried to have a career – we know where we come from, we got better on record and live as the years went on, and our fans have followed us ever since. The fans have evolved with us. It's really difficult for new bands, as there's such a huge competition. Anybody can now write an album on their computer and put it online, and everyone is just expecting instant success.

Andrea: You get a lot of bands that are good, but they all sound the same. Bring Me The Horizon have come out with their extreme sound and they really appeal to the youth – now you have twenty Bring Me The Horizon copycats who are trying to do the same thing, but they can't. There is already a Bring Me The Horizon! It's hard for bands to start as a cliché, and then develop into a more personal entity. If you don't make an impact straight away – sometimes not even for the music ­ then it's hard to keep it going, as you don't get time to get to that famous third album and really become your own band.

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