Italian rock band based in Milan. And, before you snicker over the idea of Italian rock, this is probably one of the best bands the late 1990s produced. Apparently, while the US and UK scenes were trying to outdo each other in the noise department, some continental European bands were reinventing melody. Lacuna Coil are one of the later representatives of a generation led by The Gathering that shone in Europe throughout the musically disappointing 1990s.

Formed in 1996, led by the unusual male/female vocal duet of Scabbia and Ferro and backed by solid musical skills and decent songwriting, they've become one of the top acts in European non-mainstream music today. Scabbia, while clearly untrained as a singer, makes up for the lack of schooling and technique with talent and a showy, outgoing stage personality that unquestionably makes her the band's frontperson. They signed with Century Media and released their first recording in 1998.

Their music is hard to describe but Lacuna Coil (the name roughly translates to "empty spiral") have their goth, their metal and their ballady rock moments. They're easier to classify by relating them to other artists such as Moonspell or Tiamat than by genre. All in all, worth listening to and probably worth their money if they happen to be coming to your town.

Cristina Scabbia (vocals)
Marco Zelati (bass)
Andrea Ferro (vocals)
Cristiano Migliore (guitars)
Marco Biazzi (guitars)
Cristiano Mozzati (drums)

Lacuna Coil EP (1998)
In A Reverie (1999)
Halflife EP (2000)
Unleashed Memories (2001)
Comalies (2002)

I'd recommend In A Reverie as the better of their albums, though Unleashed Memories is musically stronger and more polished.