Hard Reviews 2
by Martin Popoff

Lacuna Coil - Unleashed Memories
(Century Media)

Italian quintet Lacuna Coil have really become the salve on the wounds for those who think The Gathering take too long (or go too far) to make their point. Now one full-length and two EPs deep, it is a pleasure to find oneself immediately wrapped up in their fairly straight-forward, sensibly recorded, not all that depressive, slow metal tracks (I don't even want to call this goth: it's more like dreamy Sentenced or Lake Of Tears, the loss of, I lament). The spotlight is on female vocalist Cristina Scabbia, who has a regular voice and sings in a, er, sensible range, her forte being those long, deep vocal melodies, countering Andrea Ferro's male vocals which work sometimes, and other times, stick out because of his accent. Fave tracks include Senzafine (sung in Italian) and closer Wave Of Anguish, which are quite percussive and proggy, while serving as metaphors for the starlight and puffy cloud melodies strung on top of whatever controlled and measured mayhem is going on under the covers. Arrangements too are sensible, mostly stuff that wouldn't be hard to pull off live, good chunky metal like commercial, communicative rock star My Dying Bride, 'cept Aaron's creaky croak is replaced by a sweet songbird.
Rating 8

The Company Of Snakes - Here They Go Again

Proving how, right now, a desperate accelerated world (or at least a harried moi) craves for good, simple, stupid songwriting, I find myself summarily enjoying this two-CD live at Wacken recording of old Whitesnake songs by three alumni and a bit o' help, of course, none of the up-yours lot being a certain consummate blues rock vocalist. The core band is Bernie Marsden, Micky Moody and Neil Murray, g, g and b respectively, and the songs, for that reason are all early Whitesnake chump changers, hapless loveable rockers somewhere between Kiss and Free with the occasional half fresh widdly metal riff, topped with an unknown Swedish vocalist Stefan Berggren who does a nice high version of Dave, as well as stepping into his own boots. All in all, the effect is pleasant if impossible to be earth-shattering, given the rudimentary writing on these songs, and the fact that it is a Wacken live performance, nothing recorded there ever rising above functional. And hey, these guys wrote the stuff, so like, there's another good reason you don't get some kind of bulked-up, modern flash reinterpretations here. It's the old goods, dated even twenty years ago, done the old way, and man, that's fine by an old codger like me.
Rating 7

Hard Reviews Page 3