Words: Brendan O’Mahony
Pictures: (C) Olga Kuzmenko \ Olga Kuzmenko Photography
A gig that has been nearly a decade in the waiting has finally come to pass. Lacuna Coil are back on Irish soil with the help of DME Promotions and of course their new album Black Anima, the Goth Metal legends’ ninth studio album in all. Anticipation is high for this, with the gig having sold out well in advance, and even a bitter chill that would have tested the fellowship on the Caradhras pass can’t keep the hordes from queuing early.
First up tonight is the Moldovan Nu-Metal/Melodic Death group Infected Rain. Fronted by the mesmeric Lena Scissorhands, with her flailing cyber goth dreads and mix of soaring clean and guttural growling vocals, the band make use of every inch of the confines of the Academy’s stage as they fly through a short but effective set, assisted most capably by the headliners own Diego Cavallotti filling in for the absent Sergey Babich. Touring to promote their fourth LP Endorphin, tracks such as ‘Lure’, ‘Passerby’ and ‘Black Gold’ showcase perfectly the next wave of metal coming from Eastern Europe on the Napalm Records label alongside Jinjer.
The second act is something completely different, the Swiss Folk Metal project Eluveitie formed by Chrigel Glanzmann in 2002, a band who were last here nearly five years to the day in the Button Factory. For those of you yet to witness them live, it is definitely one that will make you sit up and take notice with nine musicians playing everything from a harp and violin to a hurdy-gurdy and flute it combines the best elements of a local trad session with the metal we know and love. The always brilliant ‘Call of the Mountain’ or tonight ‘De Ruef vo de Bärge’, as it is performed in Swiss German, gets the crowd involved early on with some even singing it word for word. Blending the old with the new in every sense they too are touring new material in Ategnatos, their eighth album released in April of this year, and it is from which they pull the majority of their set tonight. The immense ‘Deathwalker’ and ‘Breathe’ properly showcase what to expect from an Eluveitie show while the aria ‘Artio’, from the album Evocation II- Pantheon sung by Fabienne Erni in the partially preserved Gaulish language, is a sound and sight to behold. They can’t finish without ‘Inis Mona’, where even the bagpipes get an airing, and given the reaction of a packed Academy they have a gained a legion of new fans.
So, to the main event, as the stage clears and the backdrops change so too does the energy in the room. As new drummer Richard Meiz appears with a maniacal grin from behind the kit the rest of the band storm the stage appearing clad in a mixture of A Nightmare before Christmas makeup and Assassins Creed clothing. They break straight into ‘Blood, Tears and Dust’ from their 2016 Delirium album. With a show spanning six albums worth of material it is ‘Layers of Time’ that gives us the first taste of the new album live and this along with ‘Reckless’ slot seamlessly into the setlist. The range that vocalist Cristina Scabbia can hit is truly incredible and it is her trade-offs with Andrea Ferro that are the essence of the band. ‘Cybersleep’ and ‘The House of Shame’ have the entire front row singing every word back to the vocalists before ‘Enjoy the Silence’ brings the venues voice together as one. Any band that shows respect to Depeche Mode is alright with me and I am left with the somewhat strange feeling that this cover could be better than the original. As the band take a short break the hardcore fans signify that the band will return with ‘Naughty Christmas’ as Santa hats and beards are summoned from stored backpacks, a gesture fully appreciated by the band. It is not often you get Christmas songs from rock and metal bands but it’s a decent effort. Storming through ‘Heaven’s a Lie’, ‘Swamped’ and ‘Nothing Stands in Our Way’ to finish out the encore it is clear why Lacuna Coil have been a metal mainstay for over two decades. Hopefully it won’t be another decade before a promoter asks them to return to our island.