#TBT: LACUNA COIL'S Comalies Is The Perfect Midsummer Goth Dream
Welcome to Throwback Thursday! This is the place where we get to indulge in nostalgia and wax poetic about excellent metal of years past. TBT numbero 75 pays homage to the fireflies and mystery of a balmy, magical summer evening. Jumping on the hype train of the news that Lacuna Coil is going to be releasing their first new piece of music in over 3 years, now is a great time to take a look at an album which changed the direction of the band's sensual, blackened, gothic rivers – Comalies.
LACUNA COIL'S COMALIES
RELEASE DATE: October 2002
RECORD LABEL: Century Media
Comalies, the third studio album from Mediterranean metal monoliths Lacuna Coil, captures the essence of a ghost-laden, moonlit summer night. The music is beautiful and inviting, ethereal and dreamy. Lacuna Coil specialize in combining a spirit of apathy and longing with an unexpected, murky warmth. Comalies is, as the hip teens would say, 'a whole mood'. The album captures an easy intensity (reminiscent of Type O Negative) that energizes and excites the senses. Check out the official music video for album opener "Swamped":
"Swamped" is a great song and smart album opener, however the official music video paints the band into a very specific corner of the alt-verse that only 2002 can provide. From the hair to the video production quality, "Swamped" is a snapshot of turn-of-the-century goth which today's audience might find too cheesy to take seriously.
Despite the official videos "Swamped" and "Heaven's a Lie" inability to age gracefully, the world of 2002 metal embraced Lacuna Coil and Comalies with full, open arms. Commercially, the album did extremely well. In a 2018 article from MetalHammer, Cristina Scabbia states, "We played on Jimmy Kimmel and we were on MTV2, so it opened a lot of channels. Just think of where we’re from, and that back then we were on an independent label. For a European band to make it big in the US…" Blabbermouth reported that Comalies broke the US Billboard 200 charts (peaking at 178), as well as breaking onto the US Heat Seeker charts.
"Heaven's a Lie":
Comalies is from start to finish an extremely pleasurable listen. The record production is full and smooth, and the sultry voice of Cristina Scabbia adds a creamy-toned, muted quality that feels earthy and balancing. Scabbia was, and still is to some, the focal point of the band in a way that detracts from the quality of the music. While some musicians' music and image are two inextricable, essential pieces of their art, I feel as though the emphasis put on the attractiveness of Scabbia tends to overwhelm the conversation about the music Lacuna Coil makes. I am beyond relieved that socially-speaking, music journalism has progressed enough to stop the objectifying "The Hottest Women in Metal" trend. However, since image is a part of art, there will always be a place for misogyny to undermine the talent of a band. For what it's worth, I think it's fine for sex and sexuallity to co-exist with music, even drive the heartbeat of the expression. But metal music is a movement founded on the alternative, the un-heard, the counter-culture and the outcast; and it's one realm in which I would hope that a strong, women-centric presence would be appreciated as much for their talent as their leather-clad aesthetic and looks. Besides, Lacuna Coil doesn't exist alone on the merits of Scabbia. Comalies happens to be an album which features both male and female vocals where I don't find the male vocals to be intrusive (read –Nightwish) and unnecessary.