Lacuna Coil have unleashed their seventh studio album ‘Broken Crown Halo’ via Century Media Records, and this is a key album for the band. It's their last disc to feature retiring drummer Cristiano "Criz" Mozzati and guitarist Cristiano "Pizza" Migliore.

The first track on the record, ‘Nothing Stands in Our Way,’ also happens to be the lead single. It’s an anthem that ironically sets the tone for any doubts that fans were having after the group lost two members. Instead, the song reinforces that with over 15 years of music, Lacuna Coil will continue on.

‘Zombie’ showcases exactly why Lacuna Coil works so well with two vocalists, putting the emphasis on the heavy melody created by Andrea Ferro’s harsh vocals and songstress Cristina Scabbia’s harmonies. The pairing of Scabbia and Ferro also works particularly well on such tracks such as ‘I Forgive (But I Won’t Forget),’ ‘Infection’ and ‘In the End I Feel Alive.’

One of the most beautiful moments on the record is the Scabbia-featured song, ‘Hostage to the Light.' With soft verses and a chorus that increases in power, Scabbia sings, “Now this is who you are / Angel without wings / Sinner in disguise / Don't wonder why / You have never tried to believe in yourself / Become a hostage to the light.” The track really kicks in toward the end, with Scabbia's enchanting delivery on the lyrics, “A world of false illusions in my head / Deep inside my head / Deep inside my head.

Elsewhere on the album, ‘Victims’ connects instantly with an old school vibe, feeling as though it could have come from the ‘In a Reverie’ era. It could be Scabbia’s deep vocals, or the overall sound of the guitar melodies or the raw and heavy drum patterns provided by drummer Cristiano "Criz" Mozzati. The vocalist also digs deeper with a harsher vocal technique as she belts, “People told me I was weak / I told them I'll never quit / I will never quit!”

The album also features the band's new single ‘Die & Rise,’ which has already been worked into live sets. The guitar parts provided by Maus and Cristiano "Pizza" Migliore are heavy and halfway through the song Scabbia sings in Italian, which is always music to the ears of Lacuna Coil fans.

The band ends ‘Broken Crown Halo’ with the track ‘One Cold Day,’ dedicated to their deceased ex-band member, guitarist Claudio Leo. This dark and touching tribute is an emotional, moving and commanding gem, featuring Scabbia's soaring harmonies and Pizza’s guitar solo.

Overall, Lacuna Coil dig in to the rawness and heaviness that fans have come to love. With sonic mastery and plenty of powerful and catchy moments, there's plenty to grab the ear, but the disc is also a little lighter and more formulaic than expected.

3.5 Stars

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