The veteran vocalist the discusses cohesiveness of the band, the longevity of their sound, and how the gothic groundbreakers changed the game with their third album.
Back in 2002, Lacuna Coil released an album that set a benchmark, not only for the band, but for gothic metal as a whole. This Saturday marks the 20th anniversary for Lacuna Coil’s groundbreaking third studio album, Comalies. The millennial classic ushered in a new swath of metal fans with its accessible darkness, drawing fans in with the haunting and beautiful composition.
We sat down with vocalist Cristina Scabbia to discuss the album’s influence on the genre and fans, something she never expected on October 29, 2002, when the album first hit the shelves in the US.
“It’s already rare that, after 20 years, a band can still be around and active,” Cristina begins. “…and even MORE active I would say, because we’ve been pretty busy with tours and events and music. But back then, it was a surprise for us as well. We had a feeling something bigger was coming because we were more capable, not only on the songwriting side, but also we got more support from our label because we were selling more copies. We were getting more attention from Europe. But after OzzFest 2004 the attention exploded for us and we understood something really big had happened.
But thinking about it after 20 years, especially seeing how many people were influenced in a way or how important it was to so many people, it makes me so happy. I never thought about the record in an inspirational way or that it would introduce people to metal for the first time, because I’m looking at this record from the inside. And it’s a great feeling! This record brought so many people together, fans that became forever friends. I have the feeling, even now, that the fans are still in love with this record and they love the new version which makes me really happy, because you never know.”
This year, Lacuna Coil decided to give this opus, not an upgrade, but a 2022 refresh with Comalies XX. The “deconstruction” of Comalies involved completely reworking the album from the ground up, stripping back the programming and synths, and bringing a darker, more grand feel to the album, fit for the angst of 2022.
Cristina elaborated: “We treated it as a new record. We never thought about “Ok, let’s take the old record and do something similar” or “Let’s do a remaster.” We literally rewrote it. We changed some of the vocal lines, the music was re-recorded from scratch, so are the vocals and it was as exciting as writing a new record, but with even more tension because we were touching holy grounds. We wanted to be able to recreate the same vibe, but taking advantage of modern recording and technology. So, we wanted something really modern, but could sound familiar. We made it darker, more cinematic and more intense.”
As Cristina mentioned above, it is very rare for a band to not only continue, but to flourish 20 years into their career and there are many factors as to why Lacuna Coil can continue to keep going. “We are very lucky to have started our careers in a period where fans were very attached to the growth of a band,” she said. “Our fans are more of a family to us. We know many of them personally, we meet at concerts, they’re extremely supportive and we appreciate them as much as they appreciate us and our music.
Also the fact that we are a family. I love the other members of the band and we actually spend time together outside of the music, because we’re real friends. And this helps, especially when you’re on tour. We love each other very much and this is very important. When you’re friends and there is a problem or a moment in which you’re down, or you’re tired, there is always someone you can count on and talk to. We are lucky.”
We know now that everything is different, everything is faster. If you’re a new band, you have to fight with many other bands that are out there at the same time being fed in the face of the “consumer”. It’s not like in the past where you would discover new music, you’d love a band and you’d follow that band. Now, everything is super quick and I don’t know if I like it, haha!”
This album is a very personal one for me. Comalies was one of those gateways into the heavier and darker side of music. There were others for sure, but Lacuna Coil showed me the accessibility that metal could have for girls my age, being 13 at the time of this album’s release. When asked how it felt knowing that one of the reasons I was sitting in front of her having this conversation, and why so many women my age are out in the crowd now, Cristina reacted in the most wholesome (and very Cristina way) you could imagine.
“It feels so weird! It almost embarrasses me!
But it’s true. When I started with Lacuna Coil, there were not so many bands with women. There were more bands in Europe than in the states. It was us, Nightwish, Within Temptation, The Gathering, Europe had some women in bands. But it is very true that there were not a lot of ladies in the crowd, because it was still weird to go to a metal concert. Maybe they were listening to metal at home, but they didn’t have the confidence to come to shows. Now, I am so very happy that things are more equal. It is not uncommon to have one or more ladies, or even all ladies, in the band and to see ladies at the shows. I love it. Because music is for everybody. “Oh, metal should just be for guys!” – that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”
And it is true! Especially this year, I have seen more women and girls unafraid to tear it up in the pit, jump on top of the crowd and go surfing, or just let loose at shows than I have ever seen in my 20+ years of going to shows.
As the music scene rapidly changes, the next 20 years are almost unfathomable to think about. So many things have changed and continue to change, that we don’t know what music will look like in 2042, but Cristina has her hopes.
“I really hope that more importance will be given to the music,” she states. “That music will not be taken for granted as sometimes happens. Especially with the new generations, it’s harder and harder for them to understand that if they’re finding music, it’s because real people are taking the time, spending money, closing themselves in a room or a studio to make it happen. When I talk to some people, it is almost like music materializes out of nowhere, without all the work, in their mind. So I really hope that it will be more clear that to write music, it takes time and it’s not as easy as it seems. It’s not done on purpose, but it is a different kind of education they need.”
In Cristina Scabbia’s long career, nobody has asked her this final question, but you all know what is coming. What is her favorite dinosaur?
“T-Rex! Triceratops is cool too, but T-Rex was always my favorite. It’s great how a creature can be so scary and funny looking at the same time, with those little hands. I really wish we could transport ourselves to see how it really was. Maybe they weren’t even scary at all, maybe they were really silly!”
Comalies is, and always will be, one of those albums that opens doors and invites people into this genre. The accessibility and beauty of the album will continue to bring new fans in 2022 as it did in 2002. You can grab a copy of Comalies XX, which includes the original Comalies album, HERE.