Although Lacuna Coil’s style has always been immediately catchy, its music has never been too pretty for guys. In other words, it’s never tried to be a pop metal band. It hasn’t turned into one on new album Dark Andrenaline, either – but it comes close. There’s nothing wrong with that, but perhaps the group hasn’t fully come to terms with that musical route or it doesn’t even realize it’s following that orbit, because Andrenaline feels self-consciousness for some unexplainable reason.

There are straight-up metal moments, to be sure: The tracks “I Don’t Believe in Tomorrow” and “Upsidedown” launch themselves with buzzsaw guitars, with a swift guitar solo packaged into the latter song. But you can’t shake the feeling that once you’ve heard introductory track “Trip the Darkness” you’ve heard the whole collection of cool-but-not-quite-epic songs. A cover of R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion,” stripped of its zingy mandolin riff, falls slightly flat as Lacuna Coil gives it a makeover with dance beats and pensive keyboards.

Dark Andrenaline best comes to life during “End of Time” because the band finally stops trying to “stay metal” and wraps its arms around a great melody, tortured subject matter and pop song architecture, with great results. If Lacuna Coil stays on this road (and lets itself enjoy the trip), it could achieve the major U.S. radio breakthrough it was denied back in 2006 when its album Karmacode was released.

Track Listing:

01. Trip the Darkness
02. Against You
03. Kill the Light
04. Give Me Something More
05. Upsidedown
06. End of Time
07. I Don’t Believe in Tomorrow
08. Intoxicated
09. The Army Inside
10. Losing My Religion
11. Fire
12. My Spirit

Run Time: 42:21
Release Date: January 24, 2012

Check out the song: “Trip the Darkness”