Lacuna Coil / Eluveitie / Infected Rain

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Lacuna Coil / Eluveitie / Infected Rain - The O2 Ritz, Manchester (UK) - 12 November 2019

It feels as though it has been a while since Italy's premier Gothic Metal band Lacuna Coil last toured the UK. In fact, I believe they were here last in January 2018 to film and record the '119' show in London, as a celebration of their 20th anniversary. With two like-minded support bands it was good to see the "Sold Out" signs adorning the posters and a healthy queue waiting to get in the venue as I arrived early for a pre-show interview.

Moldovan female-fronted Metal outfit Infected Rain are new to me and brief YouTube flirtations revealed extreme musical passages that flirted with the style In This Moment are well known for. I wasn't overly keen on some of the death-growling, but when the vocal delivery was cleaner Elena Katarga proved to be quite formidable and the band certainly had the energy to warm up the capacity crowd, receiving a healthy response as they left the stage.

Swiss Folk Metal nine-piece Eluveitie had a good fifty minutes to make an impression and raised the temperature levels another notch. I'm unfamiliar with their recorded output so can't shed any song-title light. Not being able to relate to lyrics was a bit of an issue, so I struggled with the set as a whole. Founder member and male lead-singer Chrigel Glanzmann is a commanding figure and his guttural howl is in stark contrast to the ethereal voice of female singer Fabienne Erni. Musically there were many things to admire, though the subtleties of the violin, harp and flutes tended to get lost in a sound dominated by two guitars, bass and drums. They obviously already had many fans in the crowd and I'm sure they made a few more based on the night's performance.

The first time I saw Lacuna Coil was fifteen or so years ago, when they were in the UK to promote the 'Comalies' album. Though there have been several line-up changes in the intervening years, the core of Marco 'Maki' Coti-Zelati (bass), Andrea Ferro (male vocals) and Cristina Scabbia (female vocals) remains intact. Guitarist Diego 'DD' Cavallotti has been with the band since 2016, whilst drummer Richard Meiz is the latest addition to the ranks, joining in time to participate in the recording of the most recent 'Black Anima' album. Speaking to Cristina before the show it was clear how confident they are with the new material and this was emphasised by including four of the new songs in the sixteen-song set. 'Blood, Tears, Dust', 'Trip The Darkness' and 'Our Truth' got things off to an intense start and fortunately the mix was crystal clear, allowing the power of the on-stage instrumentation to mesh perfectly with the vocals of Ferro and Scabbia. 'Black Anima' is possibly Lacuna Coil's heaviest album to date and the material gives Ferro plenty of room to use his more comfortable harsh vocals. He is complimented by Scabbia and the two work in tandem to create a hypnotic blend. The new songs 'Layers Of Time', 'Reckless', 'Veneficium' and 'Sword Of Anger' battered the senses and with Coti-Zelati, Cavallotti and Meiz all wearing devilish face make-up the atmosphere was a Gothic treat. The cover of Depeche Mode's 'Enjoy The Silence' is now a staple feature of a Coil show and was the perfect chance to get the crowd involved. Following a brief break the band returned with a seasonal song called 'Naughty Christmas', before bringing things to a close with the popular 'Heaven's A Lie' and 'Swamped' and finally the new Lacuna Coil anthem 'Nothing Stands In Our Way'.

Cristina alluded to their dedicated fanbase earlier in the evening and as both a fan of the band and music journalist I can only hope we can celebrate fourty years of their enduring craft in the same way that twenty were celebrated.

Dave Bott

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