Man, judging from the other reviews, longtime Lacuna Coil fans really don't seem to like Karmacode. I suppose I can understand why. I've been a fan of the band since their self-titled EP and saw them in concert supporting bands they have since overshadowed. On the one hand, I think everyone wants the band to experience the success they deserve. On the other hand, I think we tend to regard Lacuna Coil as "our band" and don't want to see them get so big they become some unrecognizable MTV entity.
A lot of things have changed since Comalies was released. Evanescence's success cast a spotlight on this kind of music, and Lacuna Coil started to garner some much deserved attention as a result. The band's videos from Comalies enjoyed heavy rotation on MTV's metalcore obsessed Headbanger's Ball. The band even secured a spot on the Ozzfest lineup. These factors were bound to play a role in the direction of Lacuna Coil's next album, and the fear was that the band would take a more accessible, nu-metal influenced route. With Karmacode, the band did exactly that.
But it works.
I was a total skeptic going in, but after a few short weeks Karmacode is fast becoming my favorite Lacuna Coil album. Yes, there are some nu-metal elements, most notably the much more prominent, Korn-style bass sound. Christina & co. don't resort to rapping, but there is a sharper vocal delivery on some tracks. It's as if they looked at the various elements of American metal and incorporated those elements that would truly enhance their music. This isn't some shameless attempt to win over American audiences, but rather an example of a band willing to grow and progress.
As much as I enjoyed Comalies, In a Reverie, and Unleashed Memories, each album had a very similar sound, and had some less than exciting moments. Karmacode is not only a step forward in terms of style, but is also the first Lacuna Coil album that stays interesting from start to finish. The album's first three tracks (including the single Our Truth, which never fails to have me turning up the volume and banging my head) hit so hard that by the time the slower-paced Devoted comes around; you need to take a deep breath. Then it's right back to heavier songs until the album's closer, a faithful and appropriate rendition of Depeche Mode's Enjoy the Silence. Throw in a video clip for Our Truth, a documentary video, and a price tag under $10, and you have an album that is a winner any way you look at it.
While I can partially understand some of the negative reaction, it's hard to reconcile that with the fact that Karmacode is so freaking good. If this album gives Lacuna Coil more mainstream success and a wider audience, then so be it. They have nothing to be ashamed of (quite the opposite) with Karmacode, and deserve whatever success they get.