Lithium, 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 at first.
In the beginning I had my doubts about The Open Door. Ben Moody just 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. Amy Lee thus became the undisputed leader of this band. And indeed: Evanescence very much became her own brand 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 the record is, by any means, very solid Gothic Rock and Metal. Down to the red-black lipstick in Amy’s face. Kind of a psychedelic, laid-back sound, so very Evanescence, even with her co-pilot long gone 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 her stellar voice really proves this one right. And this is a sound many other bands have – by the way – tried to reproduce. Yet, none quite managed to get up to par.
The Open Door got very good billboard chart ratings, peaking at number one for quite a few of them. And it also stayed there for a very long time. Yet another impressive element of this record.
Terry Balsamo – the then new guitarist of the band – certainly left his mark on this album. Both in song writing and – of course – adding his own sound to the production. But they still managed to keep the trademark Evanescence sound alive. Even if the recording was not without drama. Terry suffered a stroke in 2005, during recording of the album.
It is a deeply disturbed production, too.
But THIS is very much where its attraction lies as well. Then again, 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 boils 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. 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 gets of on a little lighter tone, but is 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. It got pretty good acclaim on the billboard charts of this world. And even won single status 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 increasingly 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