BROKEN CROWN HALO
It's not really much of a secret that two of my favorite bands out there today are fronted by ladies. Those two bands are Halestorm and Lacuna Coil. While it took me awhile to latch onto Halestorm, Lacuna Coil was a band that I latched on the very first time I heard them. I remember getting a sampler from Century Media that had the song "Heaven's A Lie" on it, and knowing this would soon be one of my favorite bands out there. I've seen the band several times, and they've gotten better with every tour as well. The combined male-female vocals of Andrea Ferro and the lovely Cristina Scabbia brings one of the most appealing sounds to the entire Goth Metal subgenre; a subgenre that overwrought with far too much orchestral crap and not enough straight up rock and metal. BROKEN CROWN HALO is certainly not the band's best work, but it works for them. It's good, not great. In many ways, it sounds like they may have just decided to play it safe and stay the course this time around. At least they chose a path that's been working.
When I say that they played it safe here, I mean that there's similarities to songs from the past all over the place. One such song is the single "Die & Rise". This song feels VERY familiar to songs like "Our Truth" from the past, and you can bet that's not by accident. For their part, Ferro and Scabbia sound great throughout. Scabbia sounds a bit more ballsy than on songs like the ranting "I Forgive (But I Won't Forget Your Name)". "Infection" is another great song where Scabbia shines as she leads the band.
When it's not Scabbia or Ferro taking charge, it's the guitars provided by Maus Biazzi and the now departed Cristiano Migliore. They have such a cool and defined tone to their playing which gives the band much more "oomph" than so many of their contemporaries. "I Burn In You" is one of the coolest songs the band has ever done, even though it's somewhat straightforward and mid-tempo in structure. Simply, the entire band sounds great throughout.
The problem though is that the album just sort of drags in spots. Songs like "In The End I Feel Alive" and "Zombie" are just regurgitated sounding tracks that could have been on any of the last two or three releases without noticing an ounce of growth or new substance. They just kind of lay there. They don't suck, but for a band that claims growth for months leading into a record, there's not a whole lot of it here.
PITRIFF RATING - 78/100 - They are one of my favorites, and this album will be in my player daily for the next four to six months I'll assume. In the big picture, this is a lot closer to SHALLOW LIFE than it to KARMACODE, COMALIES or DARK ADRENALINE. Love the band though, and glad they have another excuse to tour. I'll be right up front once again!