2006 looks like being a big year for Lacuna Coil. Having taken three years to bring out the follow-up to 'Comalies', 'Karmacode' is now ready to go. The band chose London as the starting point for the long promotional mission which should see extensive touring in the US, headline tours across Europe, many an appearance at summer festivals and trips to new territories to spread the word about this Italian heavy rock act who seem to grow in stature with every move.

Their visit to the UK took in a sold out show in London,
Review here,
And a number of press commitments, including one a few minutes walk from the Kentish Town Forum where they had wowed their ever-growing army of fans the previous night. It was here where I got a preview of the new record, and spent around forty minutes with the band, discussing the new material, touring, Download, downloading of music, general music loves and even football, more on that one later.

A tight promotional schedule ahead of the single and albums release can't have helped, but the band seemed to think that were they to do another tour this soon after their trip to the UK last Autumn,
Reviewed Here,
Rather than just the one show, then we might get sick of them, something I find hard to believe. Fear not if you missed the London show as they promised to return this autumn for a full UK tour, and of course there's Download!

This will be the band's second consecutive appearance at the Donnington event, and is one they're very much looking forward to. Of the other acts on the line-up, it seems Lacuna Coil are most excited about the prospect of mixing with and watching the performances of Tool, Metallica, Korn, Alice in Chains and Deftones, as well as being intrigued like the rest of us to see exactly which mates Axl Rose brings along and what sort of set is played under the banner of Guns n' Roses, although at least one member is not expecting a classic.

"Axl Rose and his friends! I wouldn't really like to see Guns N' Roses unless it was with Slash and the original line-up. Last year had Velvet Revolver, that's almost Guns n' Roses!" Andrea Ferro (vocals)

As somebody who is about to enter my sixth summer as a festival regular, I put it to them that playing the same event a couple of years in a row must be an excellent way of gaging the progress that the band is making, better set time, moving to a bigger stage and larger and more knowledgeable crowds must be something which, even subconsciously, shows that you're moving in the right direction.

"It's going to be interesting, last year we didn't even get chance to check out the bands on the main stage so it's very exciting," Christina Scabbia (vocals).

"This year we're also going to play a festival in Belgium. We've played there twice with 'Comalies' and now we're coming back with a new album. We're gonna hopefully play the main stage before the headliner and with a better set and bigger production. It's always nice to see that even if you play somewhere three times there's new people coming to see the show and the production is improved in three years," Andrea Ferro.

Sadly if you like Lacuna Coil and can't make it to either the Donnington or Dublin versions of Download then you'll have to wait another year to see them on an outdoor stage as no more British festival dates are planned. They will be playing across Europe and returning for seven or eight UK dates in the autumn.

If you saw them on their last visit you may have witnessed a one off, as the acoustic set which they opened the shows with is not intended to be a regular fixture. The band don't want it to become a formality and loose its sense of occasion.

"The acoustic thing was originally meant to be a special thing which we could do at radio stations or instores, but the fact that we did all of this in America gave us the idea to do something like it in Europe as you don't have so many radio shows or signing sessions over here," Cristiano Migliore (guitarist).

Lacuna Coil are bracing themselves for a marathon tour schedule, all in the name of promoting a new record that is set to expose them to a wider audience than that which they have reached so far. New single 'Our Truth'
Reviewed here
is already getting a significant amount of airplay on rock TV channels. Some may argue that they have taken too long to bring out this record, however with the growing success of 'Comalies', especially in the US, the band had very little choice if they were to seize the moment, spending a large amount of the gap between albums on the road. By their own admission they find the creative juices flow better when at home hence the gap. The belief is that despite this length of time, Lacuna Coil is a better band for it:

"There was a lot of touring involved so being on the road and playing the same songs every night meant we could see which ones we still liked and what the people who came to the shows preferred and so it was easy to go into the process of writing," Cristiano Migliore.

The USA has been a happy hunting ground for Lacuna Coil over the past couple of years, something which has inevitably rubbed off on their sound. Having heard the new album in full it seems to be a very accessible record and one which will certainly please the American market. It is possible to spot the sort of bands who may have been on the Lacuna Coil tour bus stereo, Korn is one name which springs to mind.

"You tour with a lot of bands that are the same style. We try to keep our European roots but you are influenced by these other bands. We've always liked bands like Korn or System of a Down and so we've just added some elements to our music that wasn't already there," Cristiano Migliore.

On any possible influence gained from being in the US: "It affects a lot as we spent 11 months in 2 years in the US so you are used to the hit songs from the radio. To see live shows and speak with American people, that is your life at that moment. That also affects your song writing. We're not American and we like to keep our roots and so it is a mixture of both," Cristiano Mozzati (drums).

"We didn't start the song writing saying this song's going to be more commercial or accessible, we just went with the flow. The fact that we've incorporated so many influences means that it is now more dynamic but this was natural and not something we did on purpose," Christina Scabbia.

This time round the band had a bigger budget and a longer period of time to get the recording process absolutely right. The production naturally has more of an American feel to it, but given that they're all perfectionists who are proud of their Italian roots, they won't have created a record which devalues that. 'Karmacode' has it's softer moments, but there is enough balls to make it as strong a collection of songs as you might expect. Of all the thirteen names on the track listing, the one which leaps out at you instantly is 'Enjoy the Silence'. This brings the album to a close and, for those who may not know, was originally done by Depeche Mode at the end of the Eighties. It works well but covering any classic song has an element of risk attached to it.

"When we decided to do a cover it was particularly for the live aspect, we wanted a song which everyone would know and everyone could sing along to. We didn't really choose a song to record or to release as a single, but now it seems that everybody likes it and that it seems like a Lacuna Coil song. It was never our intention to release it. Honestly if you listen to 'Enjoy the Silence' I think it defines the Lacuna Coil sound and there shouldn't be any misunderstanding that the rest of the album is going to sound different from the sound of the cover," Christina Scabbia.

'Enjoy the Silence' is the kind of track which, were they that way inclined, could catapult them towards a more mainstream audience on MTV, but there are a number of strong options for follow up's to 'Our Truth'. So have the band any ideas of where they may go next?

"We don't really have an idea yet. It could be 'Enjoy the Silence' or it could be another one from the album, I think there are so many that could be singles. The point is that you never really know what works the best for radio and so if they (the record company) decide they want to go with something it's probably a good idea to follow even if you're not a hundred percent. It's always good to listen to others to see what works and in the end it's of benefit to everyone. I don't think there's one song which sticks out over another as being more commercial and so if one gets picked out then we're behind it," Cristiano Migliore.

The gig at the Forum was a very important show for Lacuna Coil as it was their first real opportunity to gage the initial reaction from their fans to the music the band is currently making.

"It was kind of weird as people don't know all the songs other than the one or two that you can download from the internet, but it went down pretty well, I really liked the feeling from the show, it will be better after one or two tours, but for the first show of the tour it was amazing," Andrea Ferro.

OK since you mention it, what of that often controversial issue in the record industry, file sharing of music via the Internet? As is so often the case with albums that have an air of expectancy surrounding them, tracks somehow worm their way into Cyberspace.

"At the moment we have the distribution from EMI which is trying to be very tough to put it on the Internet. I think that if they do a good job we can have it so that it's not out until a week before. I think that's a good thing as I don't want people to loose the anticipation. You used to go to the stores and you'd be waiting for the album to come out and then you had the surprise of whether you like it or not. Whereas now this is completely lost because an album is available two months before it is released and people can get the album and say "OK I've got it and will listen to it later" and never really listen to it at all. That's something I don't like, but after that I'm fine with the sharing, I think there is no problem with that. I download stuff and then decide if I like it or not, we're fine with downloading and distribution of files, that's probably helping the band's that's not damaging them," Andrea Ferro.

"Because the albums are so expensive you got to give people a chance to decide if they like it or not," Marco Biazzi (guitarist).

Personally I'm always fascinated to know what kind of music makes a musician tick, partly because I'm just nosey, but also as it can give some indication of what has inspired them, or where they might go in the future.

"At the moment from the newer bands I like God Forbid, Lamb of God and Killswitch Engage. I like two or three bands from metal but I think a lot of it is over rated at the moment and there's too many bands sounding the same. I listened to a lot of the classics like Korn, I don't really have time to discover a lot of new bands as I'm always away on tour," Andrea Ferro.

'Karmacode' is released in early April, and is worth the three-year wait. The Lacuna Coil sound has developed into one which has a very expansive feel to it. Sometimes when you listen to music you can see how it would suit a smaller more intimate venue for live shows, but were Lacuna Coil to move up to the status of an Arena band then their songs have the authority to match the size of the event. With tongue pointing in the direction of cheek I suggested that a home equivalent of a major venue might be the San Siro.

It was at this point that I learnt that Christina Scabbia (possibly more) supports AC Milan. Being a Liverpool supporter and having never met an AC Milan fan before I couldn't resist reminding her of how "being three nil up in the European Cup final and still loosing on penalties was really quite careless". In a saved by the bell moment the interview time was drawing to a close!

Whether the stadium thing becomes a reality one day remains to be seen, I realize it's not something which is in the immediate future, but they've certainly returned with a record that deserves to move them higher up the metal food chain. Their exposure and growing popularity in the US should help them increase their fan base in the UK as for some reason much of the mainstream media will look across the Atlantic rather than towards Europe for inspiration outside of this country. As I left the venue for this press day I couldn't help but wonder what position Lacuna Coil would be in when they return to our shores in six months time.