Swiss folk metal band Eluveitie and gothic metal legends Lacuna Coil from Italy are embracing an almost two-month-long European tour, which is taking them to all the major corners of the continent until mid-December. Bristol, the city of culture and birthplace of the original Darth Vader David Prowse, was last night’s destination. Some eager people started queuing as early as 4pm in the cold temperatures to get the best spot for this sold-out performance at the fantastic SWX, which has a crowd capacity of a mammoth 1050.

Eluveitie, who have an impressive total of 9 members, are a bit of an unlikely main support for gothic Lacuna Coil. Their melodic death metal mixed with the Celtic folk sound includes a variety of traditional European instruments such as the hurdy-gurdy, mandola, bagpipes, fiddle, harp and violin, giving them their very distinct, heavy yet enchanting sound. The band have released their 8th studio album called ‘Ategnatos’ (meaning Reborn in ancient Celtic language Gaulish) in April, and this tour is supporting its release, with the setlist consisting of a balance of new and old songs including ‘Death Walker’, ‘Call Of The Wilds’, ‘Ambiramus’, ‘Rebirth’ and ‘Inis Mona’. The opening song of the show was the first track of the album, also called ‘Ategnatos’, the beginning of which immediately set a fierce aura in the room.

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The moment the highly talented Fabienne Erni started singing her parts, the entire crowd stood in awe and shock, trying to fully grasp the power and ability behind her voice. She also plays the harp, which she has only started learning when she joined the band in 2017, but she manages to headbang with it like a pro. Erni, who has never been in a band before outside of school projects, is one of three new members of the band after Anna Murphy (ex-vocals), Ivo Henzi (ex-guitar) and Merlin Sutter (ex-drummer) left the band in 2016 to focus on their other projects, subsequent to being in the band for 10 years. However, she fits the role perfectly and has contributed to taking the band to the next level, musically. Chrigel Glazmann commented: “Looking back on how things have developed, I’m extremely happy. It was probably one of the best things that could have happened for everybody”.

Glazmann; vocalist, mandolin and bagpipe player as well as the founder of the band, quickly changed the atmosphere, as he walked onto the stage, showing off his bursting, harsh vocals that give the band a very metal feeling, especially on the new album where the guitars are fiercer. It has also been pointed out that this album has unintentionally got similarities to their 2008 album ‘Slania’. The contrasting energy between the two vocalists created an equilibrium in the room which could never be explained in words. Image @ Kat Skarpetowska / RawMusicTV. All Rights Reserved.

The unique combination of all the acoustic instruments and metal created an energy that could give anybody goosebumps all over their bodies, almost like the Celtic magic has come to life through the vibrations of the beautiful, raw sound. Taking into consideration that SWX had spent about £300,000 on their sound and lighting system, this made the music was pretty much flawless, every instrument added an extra layer of depth which you could not resist getting lost to on a spiritual level. Although their studio records are outstanding, there is something about the live show that needs to be felt to be understood.

There is a realisation throughout this record that it is sometimes okay to not be okay. I don’t think darkness is wholly negative
- Vocalist Cristina Scabbia

Eluveitie’s show holds the power to take you on an adventure to a mystical realm, without even leaving the venue.

As the changeover was taking place, any remaining empty spots in the audience had been taken up by this point and the front barrier had virtually no space to even breathe. The crowd had just been purified by Eluveitie’s Celtic death metal and was pumped for Lacuna Coil to now leave their mark. 2016 was the last time the group were in Bristol, so it was definitely time for them to be back, and Bristol made that very clear by turning this into another sold-out UK date. The large, dark stage was lit up with an impressive red projection of the band’s new album art for ‘Black Anima’, or ‘black soul’ if translated from Italian: “As for the title, Black Anima, I like to put together words. Like Comalies and Karmacode, for example. Black Anima was the same thing, really.

“We’ve played a lot of live shows between Delirium and Black Anima," explains Cristina. "We published our book, a chronicle of the Lacuna Coil story. And we crossed paths with our 20th Anniversary, which resulted in a quick switch from the Delirium album cycle to the 20th Anniversary one. We had a big change in our look. Our show changed a lot. We had special effects and artists performing on stage with us. That became The 119 Show, actually.”

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The two words tie together perfectly to define the concept, Anima means ‘soul’ in Italian and the feeling throughout the record is dark, black, so it was easy to pair the words together.” Explained Andrea Ferro, vocalist and founder of the band, when talking about the new release. The 9th studio album came out in October this year and portrays the band’s much darker side, which can be heard as well as seen on all visual aspects, however, this doesn’t seem to have swayed away any of the old school fans as the new record still screams “Lacuna Coil” all over.

Although this tour is in support of Black Anima, ‘Blood, Tears, Dust’ from previous 2016 album Delirium was the first on the list. Make-upped drummer Richard Meiz, who is currently filling in on the tour as the previous drummer Ryan Folden made the decision to leave the band earlier this year, was the first one out and stirred the excitement in the already eager crowds. Songs followed with more favourite oldies ‘Trip The Darkness’ and ‘Our Truth’ before the first new song ‘Layers Of Time’ emerged. Even though the song is still new, the fans clearly appreciate the hard work and thought that Lacuna Coil has put into this album, with passionate fans singing along to every word.

“We’ve stopped comparing records,” Scabbia says. “Every record we’ve done was a picture of the time in which we wrote it. This record, Black Anima, was really written around our live performances. The songs we enjoy playing live the most are the heavier ones. So, when we started writing, the songs naturally were heavier."

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It keeps being repeated that this album is their heaviest material so far, and even though that’s definitely true musically, it is also true lyrically – a lot of meaning and emotion has been poured into this work of art, like it was the band’s outlet to get rid of their negativity and other various feelings, and create something positive from it. The band have also been, rightfully, very proud of how important the visuals for this album are, with an intricate album cover design and tarot card styled descriptions of every song, this album clearly marks an important part of the band’s life, both personally and as a group. Other new songs included ‘Reckless’, ‘Veneficium’ and ‘Cybersleep’, all of which got an overwhelmingly positive response.

When you listen to the record at home, it makes you want to take a moment to think about what you are being presented with. When listening to the music in person, being performed for real right in front of you, something about the rawness of the emotions hits you. You suddenly feel the energy of the people on stage and you know you are involved with something deep, yet profoundly amazing. Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro, the two vocalists who have been in the band since the ’90s, share an astounding vocal range between them. Cristina’s voice alone can leave a person stunned, with her ability to hit the extraordinarily high-pitched notes, but also bringing that down to an impressively low level. Andrea makes the band a whole, with a mixture of angry cleans and passionate screams that contrast Cristina’s, creating the true Lacuna Coil sound that is now recognised internationally.

The band treated fans to their well-known and cherished cover of Depeche Mode’s ‘Enjoy The Silence’, to which everybody in the crowds was singing to, before bringing some early Christmas vibes with an encore of ‘Naughty Christmas’. Instead of dipping straight into the last song, Scabbia had an important message to tell everybody in the room. “Don’t listen to what anybody has to say, if you have a vision you take it and run”. With the band’s very unpredictable start in the mid-’90s, when being a female vocalist in a metal band was not popular or normal, we can all learn something from Scabbia’s confidence and determination to keep us going, especially when times get tough.

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Scabbia’s attitude and fight to succeed throughout her career in the face of negativity and the stereotypical controversy she has dealt with, especially considering the global political climate many people are struggling to deal with at the moment, helped tonight’s performance resonate with the audience and reminded us all that no matter how tough day to day life can be, there is a shining light waiting to burst through the darkest of times. Tonight, that shining light was, Lacuna Coil.

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“There is a realisation throughout this record that it is sometimes okay to not be okay. I don’t think darkness is wholly negative. We learn who we are in darkness. Sadness is a huge part of life. It’s okay not to be happy. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m always trying to look for the light in the darkness, but it’s okay to live within the darkness for a bit too. I think when you embrace all the shades of life you can live a happier life than if you deny any of it.” – Cristina Scabbia, speaking to NME.

Author Bio: Kat Skarpetowska

Staff Writer

Educated at Oxford Brookes University in the field of graphic design, live & promotional photography has been my main passion since 2016, which ventured into writing gig reviews, album reviews and interviews. I also love travelling, especially if I can catch a good show out there too!


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