Despite parting ways with two guitarists and a drummer, Lacuna Coil turn inward as a quartet and reveal a scope hitherto unseen in their catalog on Delirium, their eighth studio album. The band named the album after a foray to a sanitarium in northern Italy, and the songs were inspired by the struggles of mental illnesses, failed treatments, and the demons each bandmember had faced over the years. For such a bleak outlook, Delirium is a focused wonder. Forgoing outside production help, the band opted to stay in-house with bassist and principal songwriter Marco "Maki" Coti Zelati (who also took on most of the guitar and synth work for Delirium). The result is a sprawling epic that is their most exciting and melodic work since 2006's Karmacode. Guitar riffs chug and churn -- in addition to Zelati's work, a slew of guest shredders contribute killer solos, including Myles Kennedy on the chill-inducing "Downfall" -- while new drummer Ryan Blake Folden pounds the skins into the ground. Lacuna Coil's not-so-secret weapon of vocal pair Andrea Ferro and Cristina Scabbia stuns, especially when the band gives Scabbia enough space to work with her instrument. Her vocal gymnastics elicit shivers on the ethereal opener "The House of Shame," while her melismatic runs lend a groove to "Broken Things." Through the synthesized swirls on "Blood, Tears, Dust" and "Ultima Ratio," Scabbia's voice penetrates the instrumental sludge like a bolt of lightning. The Amy Lee comparisons can still be made here, but the theatrical dramatics of the various Nightwish vocalists also serve well. Scabbia has the ability to elevate each song into the heavens, both with pure force ("Delirium") and restraint ("Ghost in the Mist"). Ferro continues to complement her with his guttural growls, adding a feral grit that makes Scabbia's pristine singing even more prominent. Visceral and divine, Delirium is a highlight in the Lacuna Coil discography, breathing life into the newly altered lineup and sparking fresh creative avenues for the Italian metal crew.
AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung