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The genesis of Lacuna Coil can be traced back to Milan, 1994 when guitarist and songwriter Marco Coti-Zelati and his friend, Andrea Ferro, form the band Sleep of Right. Marco plays guitar, Andrea plays bass, and Raffaele Zagaria joins them on guitar and Michelangelo on the drums. The band plays their first live gig in Bologna, Italy in 1994. They record Bleeding Souls which sees release in 1995 on the Noise of Bolgia compilation CD.
Marco soon moves to playing bass so that Andrea can concentrate on vocals and they are joined by Claudio Leo, as second guitarist, and Leonardo Forti on drums; following the departure of Michelangelo. Their next decision no doubt changes the direction their future music would take forever; they ask a female friend, Cristina Scabbia, to sing some backing tracks for them.
It is clear that Cristina’s soaring, natural vocals, perfectly compliment the deep growling of Andrea Ferro and they ask her to join the band permanently.
After the inclusion of Cristina Scabbia as female vocals the band changes their name to Ethereal and in May 1996 a two-track demo tape, with the songs Shallow End and Frozen Feeling, is recorded and sent to several European record labels. The band receives responses from Nuclear Blast and Century Media and decides to sign the deal with Century Media. Now, with the record deal in place the band discover that the name Ethereal has already been taken by a Greek band. The bands now firmly established line-up - Cristina Scabbia, Andrea Ferro, Marco Coti-Zelati, Claudio Leo, Raffaele Zagaria, and Leonardo Forti - settle on the name LACUNA COIL, meaning “Empty Spiral”, reflecting their vision on life.
The First EP and the Break-up
In 1997 at the Woodhouse Studio, in Germany, LACUNA COIL set about recording their first songs with Century Media; with the band sleeping in an old run down flat right above “Spirit” club. It becomes apparent in the studio that there are musical differences between Raffaele, Leonardo, and the rest of the band. Despite these problems the band records six songs, produced by Grip Inc guitarist Waldemar Sorychta. Ultimately however, the decision is made to not include the tracks from the Ethereal demo tape as they do not fit in with the bands emerging style.
With the EP due for release in early 1998 the band join Portuguese goth-metal act Moonspell in December 1997, on a promotional European tour, and LACUNA COIL have their first live experience. Anxiety, stage fright and intense emotions result in Raffaele Zagaria, Claudio Leo, and Leonardo Forti leaving the band after only three shows of the twelve-show tour. Undaunted, LACUNA COIL continue performing, with the help of Anders Iwers of Tiamat on guitar, and Markus of Kreator on drums.
In January 1998 they recruit Cristiano Migliore from Thy Nature and Cristiano ‘Criz’ Mozzati from Time Machine. Their arrival brings renewed enthusiasm just in time for the EP release in February, and a show in Lisbon in front of four thousand people, opening for Moonspell. It would be the first of a number of shows with the new line-up supporting the self-titled EP.
In March the band starts their second European tour with Dutch band The Gathering, and Siegmen. During the tour Node’s Steve Minelli plays guitar after new LACUNA COIL guitarist Cristiano Migliore injures himself shortly beforehand. Additionally, Alice Chiarelli helps with keyboards and the shows with The Gathering are memorable with Cristina Scabbia performing duets with Anneke Van Giersbergen a number of times.
In August 1998 LACUNA COIL’s first festival experience comes when they play at Germany’s Wacken Open-Air festival and they follow the show with their first signing session. Suddenly people are starting to take notice of the Italian band, and due to the nature of the direction they see their music taking, they decide to look for a second guitarist instead of using keyboards. It will not be until after the recording of their first full-length album that the position will be filled however.
In A Reverie
In October 1998 LACUNA COIL return to the Woodhouse Studio in Germany and, once more with producer Waldemar Sorychta, they record their first full-length album entitled In A Reverie. The sound is heavier than the debut EP and earns the group further recognition in Europe, notably in Germany and Scandinavia. However their metal music does not give them fame in their home country, except perhaps in the underground club scene.
January 1999 finally sees the line-up of the band complete after twenty-two year old Marco ‘Maus’ Biazzi is recruited to play second guitar, and in February they play their first show supporting In A Reverie at Milan’s ‘Rolling Stone’ venue in front of fifteen hundred people.
Much of the rest of 1999 is spent touring throughout Europe, firstly in April with England’s Skyclad playing fifteen dates, and then in May with the ‘Into the Darkness’ tour alongside Samael, My Insanity, and Grip Inc – they play another twenty two shows culminating at the Dynamo Open Air Festival on May 21st in front of twenty thousand people; a number of them waving Italian flags and hailing Cristina Scabbia. June 5th sees LACUNA COIL back in Italy playing at the ‘Gods of Metal’ festival in front of twenty five thousand people, with Metallica headlining.
After a couple of further shows in Rotterdam and Altheim in July, (Marco Biazzi is not available and Patrick Graziosi of Thy Nature helps with second guitar) the band complete their touring schedule in September and into October with a fourteen date sell-out tour throughout Germany, headlined by Lacrimosa. LACUNA COIL cancel the last three dates of the tour after Marco Coti Zelati breaks a rib helping a light tech.
The beginning of the new millennium sees LACUNA COIL and Waldemar Sorychta enter the studio once more, this time in Ventimiglia to record a new EP entitled Halflife. Containing five songs and exploring new avenues, for the first time they use digital recording techniques and include a cover song (Stars, previously released by English pop-band Dub Star). They release an all-Italian track Senzafine that would become a fan favourite. The musical quality of the EP continues to build on the male/female duality of much of their music, and further defines their unique style.
On March 20th 2000 The Halflife EP is officially released and the band’s success is such that a series of headlining dates are held across Europe. Highlights include the reception at ‘The Borderline’ in London, and one particular lowlight occurs in Dublin at ‘Frazers Bar’ on April 16th when Andrea Ferro falls on stage and dislocates his shoulder.
At the Pala Aquatica, Milan, in May whilst playing in front of over two and a half thousand people, LACUNA COIL are forced to cut their show short because of a small technical problem; the mini disk containing all the keyboards and loops is forgotten! Making up for this band go for a heavier and faster sound to ensure that the evening is memorable for the audience. This decision is perhaps an indication of things to come…
After a holiday in August, October 2000 LACUNA COIL and Waldemar Sorychta enter the Woodhouse Studio in Germany for the third time to record their second full length album Unleashed Memories. The album, slower with a heavier feel, contains nine new tracks and a different variation of Senzafine that, according to the band, is how the song was originally arranged. The album is completed by the end of November and in December the band head for Mexico to play two dates with Theatre of Tragedy at Guadalajara and Mexico City on the 16th and 17th respectively.
As well as the release of Unleashed Memories on January 29th, 2001 is to be an intense year of touring for the band - starting with a thirty-one date European tour with Theatre of Tragedy and Beseech throughout January and February. They are also included in the high-profile ‘Metal Odyssey’ tour with Dimmu Borgir, Nevermore, In Flames, and Susperia playing thirteen dates throughout Europe. April sees LACUNA COIL back in Italy playing a series of headlining tours.
The band play at a number of shows and festivals throughout the summer, including Wacken and Neerpelt in August, however Marco Coti Zelati doesn’t join the rest of the band on a number of the festivals, due to an operation on his knee ligaments. The festivals re-unite LACUNA COIL with In Flames, Dimmu Borgir, Nevermore, and Theatre of Tragedy, and on September 1st at the Mera Luna festival Cristina Scabbia performs with You Can Have All My Love Tonight with Lucyfire.
As the summer festivals come to an end, LACUNA COIL are once more working on new material for another album - only ten months after the release of Unleashed Memories. The band still finds time to support the new Italian music ‘Rock TV’ channel with a show at the ‘Rolling Stone’ venue in their hometown of Milan. Marco Biazzi and Cristiano Mozzati also later appear on the channels ‘Database’ music selection programme. It will not be the last time the band makes such an appearance.
2001 also proves an eventful year for previous members of LACUNA COIL with founding member guitarists Claudio Leo and Raffaele Zagaria forming gothic metal band Cayne and later this year the band’s first album Old Faded Pictures is released through Scarlet Records. Additionally late 2001 sees Alice Chiarelli, who had previously played keyboards live with the band announces a new Doom Metal project Alice in Darkland, with the The Evil’s Entrails album released March 2002.
Even taking into account the release of LACUNA COIL’s album Unleashed Memories in January, a notable highlight for the band in 2001 is their first US tour, playing twelve shows with Portuguese label-mates Moonspell throughout December. The band suffers at the hands of the tour bus company, and is forced to cancel two Canadian dates because of breakdowns. However this does not detract from an eventful tour that foreshadows the prolific touring schedule to come in later years.
After their return from America, and a break for Christmas, LACUNA COIL enters the practise room and work on material for their third album. The band continue to support the Italian ‘Rock TV’ channel, finding time to interview other artists, including Slipknot, Nickelback, POD, System of A Down, and others, but the next few months are devoted in the most part to rehearsing, writing, and more rehearsing. In April 2002 LACUNA COIL work on pre-production in Milan, with long-term producer and friend Waldemar Sorychta and on the 17th of April they enter the Woodhouse studio in Germany and commence recording the album that will ultimately bring them global recognition.
By May 2002, after an intensive two months of production, the album is complete and the band name it Comalies after the coma-like, isolated, state that the band went through during recording. The album, heavier and arguably more dynamic than the gothic Unleashed Memories that preceded it, sees LACUNA COIL exploring new avenues once more, and continual to develop in unique ways. The title track Comalies is sung in both English and Italian and the interlude-like Aeon with its ‘jumping’ remix will confound listeners for months and years to come. LACUNA COIL are proving that they will not be bound by convention, and are eager to explore their musical style.
Comalies is released in September 2002 to positive reviews, and there are signs that this could be LACUNA COILs breakthrough album. However, the schedule does not slow down and October sees the band starting a twenty-eight date European Tour supporting Sentenced. The new songs are heard live for the first time and the single Heavens a Lie does much to entrench the band as a highlight of the post-gothic scene. A production video, filmed during the recording of the Comalies album is played on 'Rock TV' but it would be only the beginning of that songs visual story.
After the tour with Sentenced, LACUNA COIL take a short break before hitting 2003 at a run, with the first of a prolific touring schedule; starting an Italian tour in February; heading for the US in April for a thirty-date tour with Opeth. During this tour the band work with director Chade Seide to produce a new video for Heavens A Lie. They also play a number of US headlining dates for the first time, and Heavens A Lie starts to play on radio stations throughout the US. By October 2003 the song could be heard on sixty-five different stations.
The touring continues throughout the summer, firstly returning to Europe to play a number of festivals. Most notable of these is the Heineken Jammin’ Festiva in Imola in front of 40,000 people. Soon after LACUNA COIL return to the US for tours with Type O Negative and Anthrax, totalling seventy-six separate shows from July to December.
With the popularity of Heavens A Lie continuing to grow, LACUNA COIL decide to re-record a new video, and work with Director Patric Ullaeus. The song is also remixed and shortened for this release, which is first shown on 'Fuse TV' in the US on December 9th, with airtime on MTVs 'Headbangers Ball and numerous American and European Rock channels soon after.
After the seemingly endless touring throughout 2003, LACUNA COIL refuse to take a break. They join Moonspell, Passenger, and Poison Black to headline a fourteen-date Xmas Tour starting on Christmas day in Hamburg, and including a memorable show at Z7 in Pratteln as the new year begins.
After the band re-sign to the Century Media record label in January, 2004 starts relatively quietly for LACUNA COIL with the Piorno Festival in Spain. But by April the band are touring Italy with an extensive number of dates, as Heaven’s A Lie continues to dominate Italian radio, and on the 1st of May LACUNA COIL joins POD on a two month US tour.
This tour prompts increasing mainstream recognition and the band continue to make an impression with a live acoustic appearance on MTV’s ‘Headbanger’s Ball’ at the end of May. It is also during this time that US sales of Comalies surpass 60,000, however the momentum is not slowing; the band enters the studio to record some acoustic tracks for a special realise of Comalies to commemorate one of the band’s largest achievements to date: ‘Ozzfest’. They also release a new single from the album; Swamped. The single will soon be heard on over one hundred radio stations in the US alone and a video, directed by Patric Ullaeus, is released at the end of May.
Ozzfest Breakthrough Band
The Ozzfest extravaganza; twenty-six dates across the US from July to September 2004, sees the band playing on the second stage to huge crowds. The Ozzfest edition of their 2002 album Comalies is released and includes acoustic tracks of a number of their songs and as well as videos for both of the bands singles.
In July it would be revealed that not only had Comalies passed the 100,000 sales mark in the USA, but also LACUNA COIL had become Century Media's top selling artist to date and, with over 250,000 sales Worldwide, the highest selling Italian Rock act. This momentum would push the album into the Billboard charts in July at No.194 by selling 5,818 copies in a week. Not only would this be LACUNA COIL's Billboard debut but also Century Media first Billboard appearance.
More recognition comes with the inclusion of Swamped on the soundtrack to the 'Resident Evil: Apocalypse' movie. Others would follow.
LACUNA COIL, always a touring band, are not content with Ozzfest alone, and play a series of ‘off-fest’ shows with Superjoint Ritual, and stage a series of free acoustic performances in bookshops around the US, to an increasing fan-base.
As the US touring schedule finally comes to a close the band return to Italy. Cristina Scabbia almost immediately finds herself back in the recording studio though, duetting with famous Italian singer Franco Battiato on the song I'm That on his album Dieci Stratagemmi for release through Sony Records.
By November 2004, Comalies is now over two years old and LACUNA COIL start to work on new material in Milan with Waldemar Sorychta. The band take a break from pre-production to perform a special performance on 27th December at the Carling Apollo, Hammersmith in London with In Flames, Caliban, and Chimaira.
Century Media ends the band’s most successful year by announcing that not only is Comalies the label's best selling record to date, selling nearly 150,000 copies in the U.S. in 2004 alone, but that the album has broken all sales records for the company.
The beginning of 2005 sees the band continuing to work on the new album, whilst in the background Comalies continues to sell well and by March the album has surpassed the 200,000 sales mark. The albums eagerly awaited successor is tentatively cited for release in the third quarter of the year, however the band are later to reveal that they are taking their time with the recording process and it becomes less likely as the year goes on that it will be released in 2005.
As the summer approaches Lacuna Coil, whilst in the background continuing to write songs for a new album, prepare to attend a number of the largest festivals in Europe. They start on the 21st May at the Rotonde Festival in France and surprise the attendees by playing a new song. The music is heavier, without detracting from the bands style, and though it is to be a long wait for the album, the introduction of the new music seems to energise the band to new heights of performance. On June 12th at Donnington Park Lacuna Coil play at Download Festival, alongside Slipknot, System of a Down, Mastodon, and others. It’s an event that leads to a full tour later in the year, and further recognition in the UK.
In July 2005 Century Media, re-release all of Lacuna Coil’s albums and EPs prior to Comalies, with new packaging and extras, and on September 14th announce that the forthcoming album is to be named Karmacode. With no confirmed date in sight it is now likely that it will not be released until 2006.
The festivals continue throughout the summer months with the band continuing to play the new song and gain many new fans, and on the 22nd October at the Metal Female Voices Fest in Wieze, Belguim Lacuna Coil play another new song. This again re-enforces the direction the band are taking; combining American and European influences to create a refreshing, heavy sound. The following day the international press are invited to a special listening session at the Galaxy Studios in Mol, Belgium where the band reveal six new songs - "What I see", "Fragile", "In Visible Light", "Fragments of Faith", "Within Me", "Our Truth".
Lacuna Coil’s growing popularity in the UK, and the success of their appearance at Download Festival in June, result in the bands first UK tour in October of 2005. Playing five dates, starting with London and culminating on All Hallows Eve at Wulfrun Hall in Wolverhampton, the ‘Evening with Lacuna Coil’ tour plays to capacity crowds throughout. The band play two sets at each of the shows, first a short intimate acoustic set, and then a full electric set. Marco Colti Zelati spends all of the tour suffering from back problems, but still manages to play every night.
As 2005 comes to a close, and with the final stages of recording being completed Lacuna Coil prepare for the release of their new album Karmacode and the touring to follow. The album is due for release at the beginning of April 2006...