By Jonathan Smith
Perhaps a surprise to no one who has been following the band over the past few years, Lacuna Coil’s Shallow Life is an interesting step for the band but showcases a bland end result that dilutes the possibilities of the stylistic shift. Even with a lot of recognizable sounds and effects throughout, all the songs are very short and generally rock radio friendly. However, the trouble is that they all seem to blend together and the album is digested very quickly without much of an aftertaste. In a good move, Shallow Life doesn’t play out the same way as the last two Lacuna Coil albums did — there is no now-familiar mid-album instrumental that serves as an intro for another track, for example. Instead we’re offered different things such as an out-and-out ballad with “Wide Awake,” and that’s as clear a sign as any that things have been toned down this time out. Lyrically things largely focus on self-affirmation and self-empowerment, and with song titles such as “I Survive,” “I Like It,“and “I’m Not Afraid” there are recurring themes but nothing that really makes any songs stand out in particular. Vocalist Christina Scabbia is definitely front-and-center this time out, which is good to hear, but it does leave Andrea Ferro sounding as though he has been largely relegated to a supporting role at this point. While there is nothing wrong with working with a more mainstream sound, Shallow Life lacks a needed depth and ends up sounding rather. . . well. . . shallow.