Evanescence – Evanescence (2011) – Review

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Oh my! I am in mourning. Black clad, bound in leather, a painting of somber colors and polished silver.

What a total and sad downgrade from the heights of Fallen to this album, kind of unhappily named Evanescence. Only that the evanescence1) of this gig seems to have finally disappeared completely.

First signs for this to happen already appeared on their former record The Open Door. The record that suffered from a certain lack of direction and oomph in the lower parts of the tracklist. Yet, the latter contained a lot of good stuff to render it more memorable. And – indeed – it would garner some reluctant yet pretty hefty acclaim much later.

This record here, however, pretty much punched its own ticket once the RMR negative alert went bright red. Evanescence sounds like Amy Lee propped herself on top of a bunch of studio musicians. And this is exactly what this record is. The true essence seems to be out the door and the compass lost at the same time.

Now, we get it. After Ben Moody‘s departure the band never quite recovered. And in truth, the treatment Lee received was far from appropriate when a number of original members left with him. But sometimes destiny can be cruel, as Moody never quite went anywhere with his own projects as well. Even his more promising endeavors like the hate-project We Are The Fallen ultimately went nowhere. But – boy – the folks at Evanescence must get over it finally. Right?

So, we find ourselves with a typical case of the good old style cold-stone dead and the new one yet undiscovered. Usually, that kind of thing should generate a boost of creativity, should. Yet here the band ended up somewhere deep down in the vile mainstream with a lot of dime-a-dozen stuff prominently splashed all over the super lengthy tracklist.

Now, Amy Lee did her best to project her very own style, though. You’ll find pretty sturdy tracks like What You Want on their self-titled record. Especially, the line – and I quote – “…hello, hello, remember me? I’m everything you can’t control…” got the best of our grungy selves. Now, this – at first – made me think that Evanescence – the album – could not possibly be that bad.

But little did I know that after the third track or so things would deteriorate. There is a certain lack of direction or purpose. A perception that found some substance in certain statements Lee made during interviews. Of course, only the next album will tell if there was any significance to that statement.

But of course, not all is bad on this album. As I said before, the first tracks are rocky to a point. And you get ballads like Lost in Paradise that are hauntingly beautiful after all. But Evanescence – yet again – stuffed their piece full of everything and sundry. And that facet definitely isn’t quite conducive to a crisp and successful album.

Or, let me put it another way. If Secret Door, the very last bonus track,2) turns out best of all, then someone, somewhere forgot to take that left turn. Because bonus tracks weren’t in the first selection. You get my drift.

In the end, this record is not something I would go for again. It kinda felt like having a well-trained racehorse replaced with a donkey cart.

Yet for the future, I for sure hope that any follow-up album will again be consistent and worthy of Evanescence. And preferably grounded in a more metallic or – at least – consistent way. One that gives credit to a talent of Amy Lee‘s caliber.

And perhaps, Amy Lee should just try to break free from Evanescence and truly live by her own style, unencumbered by the past. This would truly carve enough space for those soaring soundscapes to shine. Without needlessly noodling aimlessly about a lengthy tracklist.

Just sayin’.

Ed’s note: This edition replaces the review of November 2014. Oh, and why don’t you find out about The Bitter Truth?

Record Rating: 2/10 | Label: Wind-Up Records | Web: Official Site
Release date: 11 October 2011


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