Evanescence – The Open Door (2006) – Review

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RockmusicRaider Review - Evanescence - The Open Door - Album CoverLithium, I am longing for lithium! Only this eases my own and very private pain. This is how the 2nd studio album ‘The Open Door‘ of ‘Evanescence‘ comes across when you start listening.  

In the beginning I was not too convinced about The Open Door, knowing that ‘Ben Moody’ left in a hurry in October 2003 in the midst of the ‘Fallen‘ live tour. After all he played a key role in the creation of the last album. Also, other band members left as well after that, leaving Amy being the undisputed leader of this band. And indeed ‘Evanescence‘ has in principle become very much herself after that – hair, voice and bodice, the whole package. But – still – after listening to ‘The Open Door‘ a few times, it sticks surprisingly well and there is a lot of good trademark ‘Evanescence‘ in this mix of tunes.

And it is by all means, very solid Gothic Rock and Metal, down to the red-black lipstick in Amy’s face. Kind of psychedelic, laid back sound, very ‘Evanescence‘, even with ‘Ben Moody’ long gone on to brighter horizons. Or was he really? Methinks he still existed in Amy Lee‘s mind very much when this album was made. Dreamy music passages exchanged with rockier stuff, together with Amy Lee‘s stellar voice.

And this is a sound many other bands have – by the way – tried to reproduce, none quite managing their tune. In tribute to this, ‘The Open Door‘ got very good billboard chart ratings, peaking at number one for quite a few of them. And it stayed there for a very long time. Impressive!

Terry Balsamo – the then new guitarist of the band – has certainly left his mark on this album, worthily replacing Ben Moody – both with song writing and – of course – adding his own sound to the production. But – I daresay and despite that – they all managed to keep the trademark ‘Evanescence‘ sound alive. And the record hit a setback whilst in preparation: Terry suffered a stroke in 2005, right during the recording of this here album.

It is a deeply disturbed production too, but THIS is very much where its attraction lies as well. And it is also a creepy album in the scary sense. Evil tongues have suggested that this record very much reflects Amy Lee‘s state of mind at the time of recording and some of that may very well be true. The way she complains, bitches and moans about stuff is very – scary. On top of that there is the infamous song ‘Lithium‘, speaking about a substance which is used to combat a number of mental ailments, plus things like eating disorders. It is also famously used in batteries and other industrial applications (Hmm!!). A few other bands have – by the way – also written songs about this substance – Kurt Cobain‘s Nirvana being one of them in Nevermind. Again, a scary thought when knowing what happened to Kurt.

All of that stuff from lost loves to – I do not know for sure – stalkers (?) to psychopaths and psychopathy; it all comes down to a sense of weirdness that drips off the walls of Amy’s own nightmare. And once you listen to The Open Door some more, it threatens to become your own. Like in the witch wood, when the record’s dark roots starts to grip you, will get to you and will not let you go. Jeez, this is scary indeed, I can tell ya. But also the sign of very big talent on the part of the band. In truth, to transmit this kind of feeling takes a lot of know-how. 

By and large, however, the record – whilst attempting to drown itself in a sea of sorrow – is rock solid ‘Evanescence‘ (moins Ben Moody). Deep dark, but light Gothic Rock and  Metal with Pop injections.

Noteworthy in there is ‘Sweet Sacrifice‘, apparently about the break up with Ben Moody, so I hear. There are really hurtcore style songs in there, like ‘Lithium‘ and ‘Snow White Queen‘, which is really like something that just escaped the asylum – deep dark and full of fear. Gosh, writing this I soon will need lithium as well – or at least some Xanax. ‘Cloud Nine‘ is a little lighter, but still scary enough to make you bounce off the padded walls in your own study of sorrows.

Call Me when you’re Sober‘ is nothing to write home about – apparently talking about Amy’s relationship with her then boyfriend. It got pretty good acclaim on the billboard charts of this world and even won a single back in its time, which played for a long while. But I could never quite warm up to it. Compared to old ‘Evanescence‘ hits like ‘My Immortal‘ it sounds flat and boring.

Towards the end of the record, ‘All That I’m Living For‘ delivers very good and rock solid ‘Evanescence‘ sound to round everything up.

To produce a worthy follow-on to their last record ‘Fallen‘ was a real feat and the band mastered that challenge very well. Perhaps a bit too gloom and doom for my taste and really – same as the last album – not a mood improver if you care to listen to the lyrics. However, many tracks are very good and none of them are really bad. And – most definitely – a lot of thought went into the songwriting. So, a worthy production and something I definitely would buy again.

*****

Record Rating: 8/10 | Label: Wind-Up Records | Web: Official Site

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