at The Corporation, Sheffield, U.K., October 17, 2006

The Corporation in Sheffield is not a great venue for a gig, in fact, the words “flea-pit” spring to mind. With its cavernous layout, low ceiling, and long, narrow, dark composition, it’s not easy getting a good view of the rather low stage. Tonight the place was packed… people were shoe-horned in and the walls were literally busting at the seams. Even when armed with the much sought after Metal Express Radio approved photo pass, there was no parting of the waves, a la Wayne’s World.

As showtime arrived, the lights went out and the atmospheric strains of “You Create” filled the hall before crashing into “What I See” from the excellent new Karmacode album. The opening impact of the band on the stage is simple, yet highly effective. The band members are entirely static, with blank masked faces from the cover of Karmacode, giving a rather eerie, futuristic atmosphere to the opening section, before twin vocalists Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro entered the fray in matching white shirts and black half-mast ties, giving them an almost military look. As the band remained statuesque, Scabbia and Ferro duck and weave like a couple of prize fighters trading lines instead of punches.

By the end of the song, the masks were off and the band fully animated with flailing hair in rhythm to the ultra heavy riffing of “Fragments.” Scabbia, in particular, shines throughout the show. Her voice is clear and strong and cuts through the dense wall of riffs with ease, showing no signs of wear and tear that one would associate with the end of a lengthy tour. Ferro, however, at times struggles to be heard over the music with his lower register voice, lacking the cutting edge of his counterpart.

“Swamped” from Comalies sees the band bathed in atmospheric white and purple lights, and headbanging frantically in unison before the Eastern tinged “Fragile,” the opening song from Karmacode, thundered along with its huge groove-laden riff. It is a testament to the strength of their new album that over half of tonight’s set was comprised of material from Karmacode, with the commercial romp of the new single “Closer” being greeted like an old friend, and “Devoted” featuring a bass heavy monolithic riff, which shook the foundations to their very core.

Older fans were not left out with “To Live Is To Hide” and “1.19” from Unleashed Memories, replete with an atmospheric solo from Marco ‘Maus’ Biazzi, but unfortunately no “Senzafine,” but then you can’t have everything. There were moments in the show where the intensity dropped and the pace slowed, nowhere more so than during the haunting “Entwined,” which saw Scabbia and Ferro singing to each other, illuminated by a moody orange glow.

Visually, Scabbia is a sensation… not only does she look great, but her overall charisma provides the visual key to the band’s performance as she whips the crowd into a frenzy whether she is demanding that hands be thrust into the air or whether conducting the old favorite “which side is loudest?” screaming contest before “To The Edge.” All of this would be somewhat superficial if she didn’t come up with the goods, but she scored on that point too, and yes, she can rock as hard as any man!

The band included a cover by Depeche Mode, which may appear to some as rather strange, but given the Lacuna Coil treatment, this turned into a rousing crowd sing-a-long, which lifted the energy levels up a step and was made all the more special by Scabbia’s acapella intro. The set closed with more crowd pleasing fare in the shape of “Heaven’s A Lie” and the gargantuan riff-fest of “Our Truth,” powered by another groove heavy riff.

Lacuna Coil are not a band that have become an overnight sensation courtesy of MTV; they have taken the traditional route of building a solid and loyal fan base by constant touring and releasing progressively stronger albums upon each release. What is certain, judging from tonight’s performance and the strength of the current Karmacode album, is the next time Lacuna Coil visit the shores of the UK, they won’t be playing in dives like The Corporation, but in theatres and arenas, venues more befitting of their rising status.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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