Can you remember your old childhood room? Remember the band posters from various magazines adorning your walls? Remember the gorgeous metal ladies? You say you didn’t have any? You only hung sweaty thrashers on your walls? Bullshit! I’m sure there was Tarja, but there was almost certanly a picture of Cristina Scabbia, smiling down at the room. I know I had her poster, even though I only knew a couple of songs. Well, what was I supposed to do, hang the other side of the poster with Carpathian Forest?
True, we used to adore her pictures in the magazines, hang posters of her on the wall, and download music videos on connection speeds so tedious these young’uns would never understand. After 20 years of imagining what one of the prettiest ladies in metal looks like in person, Cristina Scabbia finally stepped onto the stage in front of the Serbian audience.
Of course, LACUNA COIL is more than one woman, no matter how charming and recognizable she might be. It’s hard to believe that in 20 years the band never crossed the Adriatic pond and played in front of their almost neighbors. But as they say, it’s never too late. The faces of the fans who have been waiting for this moment for so long said more than words could. You could see what they were thinking as the band stepped out: pinch me, I’m dreaming.
But before we get into the details of their performance, there are still two support acts to cover. The first ones were their countrymates in SINHERESY. According to the all-knowing Internet, the band started out as a tribute to Nightwish, which is not really too hard to guess. The band did move away from their inspiration into a more modern sounding style, so they’re far from a mere clone. However, I have to admit that what I heard prior to the show did not warm me up for the band too much.
In this case, the band definitely sounds better live than on CD (or Spotify). Their enthusiastic performance definitely did a lot to improve the impression. You can see that these guys and a girl appreciate being given the chance to tour Europe with bands of this magnitude and they are hell-bent on using every minute the best they can. That made their performance impeccable, and the fact that the sound tech did their job absolutely great definitely helped.
The somewhat more prestigious title of special guests fell to a relatively new band on the scene, CELLAR DARLING. But even though the band has only been around for a year, its members have quite an impressive mileage being the former members of the highly acclaimed metal act Eluveitie. Anna Murphy (vocals, hurdy-gurdy), Merlin Sutter (drums) and Ivo Henzi (guitars, bass) left the band to find their own soundscape that might sound familiar, but is nothing like their work with the aforementioned outfit.
If you ask me, that’s a good thing. In my humble opinion, Eluveitie has dwelled in a comfort zone for quite some time. The same cannot be said about Cellar Darling. Their music is everything but predictable. The band presented their enchanting mix of pop and metal. But not the modern pop metal mix in the vein of Amaranthe. Cellar Darling is obviously inspired by traditional pop and world music, but not just because of the use of exotic instruments. You can hear this strong influence in the vocal melodies as well. As far as I’m concerned, their sound is a much-needed refreshment.
Even though the band sounded flawless, I have to out Merlin Sutter as one of the most interesting drummers I’ve heard live. His precision and energy are unrivaled, which is something I did not notice listening to their album at home. Anna was no less impressive, handling all the instruments and singing just like on the CD (or Spotify). I believe we are going to see this band on their headlining tour pretty soon.
After the smoke cleared away, the stage was transformed for the headliners’ show. Depicting an asylum using impressive backdrops, this venue rarely looks this impressive. After a short intro, the band hits the stage as the erratic lights further illustrated the eerie atmosphere of an asylum. The same could be said for the masks or face paint the band is wearing during this tour. Now would be a good time to make an obligatory Slipknot comparison. But I’m not going to.
With 20 years under their belt, it would be bonkers to talk about their stage or musical performance. The people that make up Lacuna Coil are the masters of their craft. Even the recent lineup changes did not shake them. In fact, the new members might have even helped rejuvenate the band and give them strength for the next 20. I have to admit I’ve never understood what Andrea Ferro’s role in the band was before yesterday. I mean, singing and fronting the band next to Cristina seems like an unflattering task. But apart from being in charge of the “edgy” vocals, Ferro is much more active in engaging the audience, giving Cristina the space to focus on vocals.
The thing that caught my ear is that their songs sound much, much heavier live, which helped further animate the crowd. The band focused on their latest effort “Delirium” but did not forget about their colossal hits such as “Spellbound”, “Heaven’s a Lie” or their rendition of “Enjoy the Silence”. That’s the couple of songs I already told you I knew. I’m not going to waste time and crank up the word count by listing the songs here. I’m only going to mention “Naughty Christmas”, as we were treated to an impressive visual treat with fake snow and inflatable snowman and a Christmas tree. Christmas did come early indeed.
The majority of the crowd was concentrated in the front lines to get a better view, which gave off an impression of a big crowd. However, the crowd got thin as I left towards the exit. I definitely expected more for the band’s first show here. However, you could see a major generation contrast in the audience. I honestly did not expect the majority of the crowd to be younger, as I thought this band is one of those bands whose audience is made up of people who grew with their band. Clearly, I was under the wrong impression. It was the young part of the crowd that went nuts when the band played their newer tracks. Cristina’s posters are obviously still smiling from these new kids’ walls as well. And for a reason. The band sounds fresh and relevant. If I learned something from this show is that I should give their new albums a closer listen. And you should too.