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Lacuna Coil / Forever Still http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/2d/cf/3e/Lacuna-CoilLive-Rocktopia-Photo-by-Katja-Kuhl-66-1479760494.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 21, 2016    
 
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Lacuna Coil / Forever Still - Academy 2, Manchester (UK) - 16 November 2016

The journey into Manchester from where I live seems to be getting more convoluted for every gig. There is another big city near me called Liverpool (just in case there are any promoters reading this review) and some of the venues there are just as good as the ones that Manchester has to offer.

Anyway back to the review in hand. There were actually three bands on tonight's bill but for a number of reasons, primarily because I'd tracked them down on YouTube and was not enamoured by what I'd heard, I decided to give openers G.O.D. (Genus Ordinis Dei) a miss and had a relaxing half hour in the bar.

Forever Still I had no intention of missing and watched the first three songs from a very busy photo pit. I was fortunate enough to review their independently released debut album twelve months ago and though I could not think of many other high profile Danish Rock/Metal bands (aside from Pretty Maids) I predicted great things. Consequently, in no time at all they have inked a deal with Nuclear Blast and the album has been expanded and re-issued with bonus tracks and a DVD. In Maja Shining they have a striking lead singer with a stunning voice whilst bassist/producer Mikkel Haastrup acts as the perfect writing foil for her. Together they have managed to craft a set of edgy Gothic/Modern Rock songs that can be compared to a heavier version of Evanescence. Their image has also benefited from the inclusion of a female guitarist (Maja Schonning) and the videos that have been doing the rounds during the last couple of months highlight confidence and talent. They only had thirty-five minutes to make an impact but they did that and then some. Shining's vocals are as good live as they sound on the album and each song they performed had great energy. It is only a matter of time before the support slot days are behind Forever Still but I'm glad to say I was there near the beginning.

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I am no stranger to Lacuna Coil and I don't think I have ever attended a poor show. I've seen them ten times and am constantly floored by Cristina Scabbia's vocal dexterity and Andrea Ferro's complimentary harder-edged role. Scabbia just seems to get better with age and every album is of a consistent high quality. There have been a number of personnel changes in recent years but the Lacuna Coil core is still intact and central to the music and style. 2016's 'Delirium' is possibly the bands heaviest for a while and sees Ferro featured even more. The set for this tour is heavily weighted towards the release, indicating just how much faith they have in the material. Drummer Ryan Blake Folden has been part of the line-up for a couple of years now and is an entertaining addition with a visually diverting style. Guitarist Diego Cavallotti only joined in April 2016 but has fitted in nicely and seems very comfortable. He even gets to show his soloing skills, something that Lacuna Coil do not include in every song. There has never been any secret made of the fact that tapes are used to enhance the live sound and maximise the effect (keyboards and computerised elements), but that has never been an issue for me as I feel they are an integral ingredient and something that a lot of acts now use. New songs such as 'Ultima Ratio', 'Blood, Tears, Dust', 'Ghost In The Mist' and 'Downfall' sit nicely next to the more established 'Spellbound', 'Die And Rise', 'Heaven's A Lie' and 'Our Truth' and it is also great to hear a newly arranged version of 'The Ghost Woman And The Hunter' (from the 'Comalies' album), a song that has not been performed live for quite a while. The stage set has a nice claustrophobic design that is meant to give the impression of a sanatorium and each member of the band is either wearing face paint or a simulated straight-jacket (in some cases both). The crowd gets to flex their vocal muscle during Depeche Mode's 'Enjoy The Silence' before 'Nothing Stands In Our Way' brings the main set to a close. 'Delirium', 'Zombies' and 'House Of Shame' make up a charged encore before it is time to step out into the cold Manchester air once more.

The Forever Still/Lacuna Coil pairing was an excellent one and the packed crowd (should have been held in a bigger room) certainly got value for money. I'll be there every time Lacuna Coil tour but I have now added Forever Still to my must see calendar.

Dave Bott

(photo credit: Katja Kuhl)

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