Before they matured into one of Century Media's most successful acts (arguably their best worldwide seller, too), Italy's Lacuna Coil seemed bound to languish in the shadows of the renowned heavy metal label's other female-fronted priority, the Gathering. Indeed, while the pioneering Dutch ensemble's seminal late-‘90s releases were establishing the very blueprint to be followed in short order by literally dozens of heavy metal bands helmed by sweet-singing sirens (Nightwish, Within Temptation, After Forever, etc.), Lacuna Coil's concurrent efforts sounded, at best, capably imitative, at worst, clumsy and derivative. This is why 2009's Manifesto of Lacuna Coil retrospective wisely takes stock of the Italians' career to date in reverse chronological order, beginning with the commercial (and frequently critical) triumphs achieved by 2006's crowning Karmacode and 2002's creative breakthrough Comalies -- both of which found irresistible gothic/electronic/metallic numbers like "Our Truth," "Heaven's a Lie," and "Daylight Dancer" striking a near-perfect balance between accessibility and heaviness. (The rise of vocalist Cristina Scabbia as a heavy metal sex symbol was of course just gravy.) By comparison, the selected highlights from 2001's Unleashed Memories, 1999's In Reverie, and the band's eponymous 1998 EP sound, respectively, like cases of "close but no cigar" (the best track being "To Live Is to Hide"), better luck next time ("My Wings" gets top marks), and "don't call us, we'll call you" (the rickety "The Secret"). All of which raises the hypothesis that perhaps this collection's biggest takeaway is serving as a tribute to Century Media's persistence and devotion to artist development, because despite being a well-balanced summary of Lacuna Coil's entire career, this Manifesto is not as ideal a starting point for neophytes as the aforementioned, superlative Comalies.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia