Two years ago, Cristina Scabbia was considering how she would cope not if, but when, the worst happened. The Lacuna Coil vocalist’s father had died suddenly in December 2016 and now cancer was about to take her mother’s life, too. At around the same time, a long-term relationship with Slipknot guitarist Jim Root was coming to an end.
It was a potent combination of circumstances, enough to make anyone look inward, to retreat into an increasingly isolated world. The fact that her band was approaching its 20th anniversary and undergoing a profound visual makeover was, at first, scant consolation for the escalating losses she faced.
“You try to imagine how it will be, so you can prepare yourself,” Cristina reflects. “I was expecting to be devastated, but I also expected to shut off. I thought of shutting myself away from the world in my house and feeling depressed, not going out unless I had to.”
Today, Cristina is in London to talk about Black Anima, the band’s newest and, inevitably, darkest release to date. Despite this fact, she’s in good spirits, and none of it looks like an act. Like many artists, she’s found a way to put the intensity of sadness to good use – using music as therapy.
“Every time you’re going through a tough moment, of course it is hard to overcome those feelings,” she shrugs, “but then you sit and think about yourself, or your ex, and about what you can do to get out of the bullshit.
“Those times when you’re not feeling great are actually the perfect moments to create art, whether it’s writing music or painting or whatever. You have to take the best out of everything. I’m at my least creative when I’m happy and carefree – I would never write a song while in that mood.”
While the new music will feel familiar enough to Lacuna Coil fans, showcasing Cristina’s soaring melodies alongside harsh, throat busting assaults from co-vocalist Andrea Ferro, it’s as if the sting got sharper, and the shadows deeper. The album’s title translates as ‘black souls’, an apt reflection of how the Italian band – completed by bassist Marco Coti Zelati, guitarist Diego Cavallotti and new drummer Richard Meiz – were feeling as they worked studiously to complete it in their hometown of Milan earlier this year.
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