LACUNA COIL

"Comalies"

Century Media

A few years ago, a Dutch filmmaker compiled a cinematic essay, "Diva Dolorosa," using clips from such fervid Italian silent melodramas as "Rapsodia Satanica." Had she been born a century earlier, raven-haired beauty Cristina Scabbia might have starred in such movies. Instead, she's one of the two lead singers in Lacuna Coil, a goth-metal band that sounds like Milan's answer to Evanescence (although the Italian band, which began in 1996, actually preceded the American one).

"Heaven's a Lie" proclaims the title of one song on the sextet's "Comalies," but its rhapsodies aren't as satanic as much contemporary metal. Lacuna Coil's music is basically arena-rock, characterized by broad dynamic range, sweeping choruses and such standard embroidery as phasing, electrobeats, keyboard ostinatos and acoustic-guitar passages. Dial down singer Andrea Ferro's declamatory style and Scabbia's life-as-horror-movie lyrics -- almost all in English, by the way -- and Lacuna Coil resembles dozens of hard-rock bands with boy-girl vocals, stretching all the way back to Jefferson Airplane, or at least Jefferson Starship. Okay, so maybe Lacuna Coil is a little satanic, but there's nothing on "Comalies" that's as diabolical as "We Built This City."

-- Mark Jenkins

Appearing Wednesday at Jaxx. * To hear a free Sound Bite from Lacuna Coil, call Post-Haste at 301-313-2200 and press 8124. (Prince William residents, call 703-690-4110.)

Lacuna Coil is a bit like Evanescence, but with better shoes (probably because the band's from Italy).