at The Riverside, Newcastle, U.K., November 14, 2016

LACUNA COIL (Live at The Riverside, Newcastle, U.K., November 14, 2016)
Photo: Mick Burgess

Stepping off the banks of the Tyne into the Riverside was like stepping into another, rather sinister world. With the stage decked out like some sort of demented asylum, with cages, straitjackets and blood stains stretching across the back of the hall, this was more akin to an episode of The American Horror Story than a regular Rock show.

Italy’s Lacuna Coil, have steadily built up a strong following over a career coming rapidly towards the two decade mark. The last couple of years have seen three long-time members leave in what could have finished most bands off but Lacuna Coil are made of sterner stuff and have embraced the changes by bringing in former drum tech Ryan Blake Folden and guitarist Diego Cavallotti into fold.

Their latest album Delirium sees the band at their most direct, most progressive and heaviest yet. One of the strengths of the band is that they never record the same album twice or stick to a rigid formula, each album is different and a step forwards from their previous work and that’s what keeps them a fascinating, growing creative force.

With Delirium being built around the theme of insanity and asylums, Lacuna Coil grabbed the opportunity to present a stunningly, visual show and what an impact they made during opener Ultimo Ratio. Singers Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro in strait jacket style outfits looking as though they’d just escaped from an old Victorian institution, while bassist Marco Coti Zelati’s twisted clown make-up was the image of everyone’s favourite nightmare. Folden, right behind the drums, was spectacular in skull make-up while guitarist Cavallotti looked like he’d just been warmed up from the morgue. Talk about an intensely striking image.

Image is all well and good but if there is no music to back that up then it would all be a waste of time. Lacuna Coil are blessed with a veritable feast of killer material from the uplifting majesty of Spellbound to the dark, dirty almost Grunge of Die and Rise.

The main focal point of the show is the interaction between the two lead singers with Scabbia providing the soaring melodies while Ferro brings a harder, rougher edge to the songs, almost like a musical beauty and the beast. The contrast works so well particularly on the heavier material such as Delirium and The House of Shame, the latter featuring a riff that makes Slipknot sound like Simon and Garfunkel.

During Downfall, Cavallotti and Zelati stood behind cages with a look of outright despair etched across their faces, the sinister edge growing as their make-up started to run. Cavallotti is currently on trial with the band and judging from this performance they’d be well advised to sign him up right now. You Love Me ‘Cause I Hate You had Ferro on a stool while serenading Scabbia who by now was in corpse bride mode but this was no love song.

The eastern tinged Our Truth, always a show stopping moment was colossal with its huge, hulking riff and Scabbia’s soaring vocal before their take on Depeche Mode’s Enjoy The Silence showed just how a cover can be turned into something unique and original.

Lacuna Coil have always had the reputation of being a great live band but they may just have put together their finest production to date and hit on the winning combination of image, intensity and drama combined with a career spanning soundtrack. Absolutely stunning from start to finish.


  • 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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