31st July 2009, Review by by Fatima Meah
Photography by Fusiontx
The lead up to the annual Kerrang! Awards ceremony, usually sees a series of gigs with a Kerrang! Week of Rock. With the likes of Buckcherry, DragonForce and YouMeSix all playing earlier in the week, this years choices werent too bad, given that, in my opinion, the magazine is now basically a glorified Smash Hits for the younger alternative generation.
First up were London band The Defiled, with their heavy 80s metal and suitably flamboyant attire. Described by Kerrang! as an explosive mangle of Manson stagecraft and middle finger metal, their set was met with some initial reservation. Drowned out by the appalling state of the sound system at the Forum, they were barely audible beyond an incomprehensible collection of sounds and screaming droning repeatedly from the speakers. Onstage, they were more visually appealing with an entertaining stage presence.
Prancing around, headbanging, raised solos and the sheer number of expletives thrown to the audience were all too conventionally rock n roll to be taken seriously. Yes we expect that, but we want more. They certainly had style but lacked substance to back up their self assured presence on stage especially when all they screamed of was mediocrity. The audience wondered whether or not their keyboardist was actually a functioning member of the band or had the Bez role, running across the stage bashing his keyboard sporadically whilst also climbing up the stage props, not once did we hear what he played. It spent more time vertical than horizontal (unlike Russell Brand…).
Next up were Swedish pop metallers Dead by April. Their deliberate epic riffs and an attempt at a layered sound were a little too emo for my liking and a majority of the audiences too. Their sound was a stereotypical set up of whiny vocals, big guitars, riffs and synths. Likeable enough but it wasnt exactly awe-inspiring.
Slipknot side project Dirty Little Rabbits pulled out at the last minute, replaced by the Cancer Bats. As interesting as it would have been to hear them, the Cancer Bats pulled off a feat winning the audience almost immediately. As with all bands playing this evening, they all visually looked the part great hairdos, ripped clothes etc etc. They were entertaining to watch and the music wasnt bad but they werent spectacular. Another band with too much hype, only noteworthy this evening because they offered something more than the other support bands.
Given that over the last fourteen years, Lacuna Coil have released a fair few albums and had their style repeatedly copied, their latest album Shallow Life was disappointingly similar to their contemporaries copies. So then, I anticipated this gig with some trepidation somewhat needlessly as they were far from disappointing. Ok, so their support bands were nowhere near an indication of what was to come unsurprising given that they were handpicked especially for the occasion by Kerrang! Magazine.
It was pretty much a shameless message of what they think we ought to be listening to and how in they are rather than focusing on the quality of the music. Their set began with a mirage of images and videos sporadically projected onto a white curtain, with the phrase I Will Not Live a Shallow Life appearing across the screen.
The band enters the stage to brilliant red flashing lights and launch straight into Survive. It wasnt difficult to see why Lacuna Coil have such a massive following with a wide variety of fans. They are spell binding live fusing melodic metal, growling male vocals alongside a powerfully haunting voice. All three combined compliment each other, with their whole set sounding heavier and more aggressive than captured on record.
Cristina Scabia is an enigmatic front woman, engaging with the audience whilst immersing herself in their music. At times, the male vocals sometimes felt unnecessary (especially on the tracks where he barely sings) but tracks such as Daylight Dancer, Swamped, Fragile and Spellbound took on a life of their own. Final track Our Song, their most popular hit to date was thumpingly heavy ending the gig on a euphoric high. Lacuna Coil prove that in age of copycats, they still have what it takes to set them apart from the mundane hum drum of the crowd.