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Music Review: Ben Moody – All For This

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It took about six years for ex-Evanescence guitarist Ben Moody to finally put out his solo work. A lot of people wondered how it would turn out; would it have that hard, gothic rock flavor that Moody's former band did, or would it sound like something else. As it turned out, Ben Moody's solo album, All For This, is far from what was expected, but in a good way. It is strongly emotional and a beautiful expression of the artist that could not be put forth with Evanescence.

This is not hard rock. Only a few bits of electric guitar show themselves here on the album; almost everything else is done by acoustic guitar, piano, orchestral violin, and percussive drums, every once in a while backed by female vocals. Ben Moody sings with a voice very similar to the vocalists from Shinedown or Breaking Benjamin, but only in the easy going, slow ballad sense. Because that's exactly what All For This is: one monster ballad split into twelve tracks.

Since Moody sings clearly and the musical arrangement is quiet, it forces the listener to pay attention to the lyrics, which are the highlight of the album. It is actually ironic because from tracks like "All For This" and "In Time" there is a very strong Christian reference, and yet on tracks like "10:22" and "Nothing Left of Me" the lyrics are angrier, involve swearing, and biting at the heels of subjects like ex girlfriends or people who just give up on life. Not exactly the most Christian way, but it seems to add much stronger quality to the music because it isn't expected. When listeners think of expected swearing, they think of heavy metal or rap or hard rock, not really slow, ballad music. And the fact it isn't over-used is also a plus. Combined, both the meaningful and bitter edge of the lyrics create a very captivating album.

Another highlight of All For This, and perhaps the only real relation to Evanescence that this album holds, is the use of female vocals. They are used more as part of the instrument than a way to convey the lyrics as they chime in every once in a while to amplify Moody's voice. The vocals DO have a strong resemblance to that of Evanescence- just a little more ethereal and operatic. However, the effect is much more different as instead of being in the foreground of the music or alternating in singing verses. The female vocals come in every once in a while in the background, right behind Moody's, just barely above the other instruments. This enhances the symphonic atmosphere of the music, making it even more dark and haunting.

Moody may not have the commercial fame or support that Evanescence does due to the limited ways of accessing his CD- only through his website or amazon.com- but his skill as a musician, songwriter, and performer are 2nd to none. Perhaps leaving Evanescence was the best thing for him to do to find his own musical path to share with the rest of the world.

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About ColinM

  • Phoenix

    I’m highly disappointed in Ben Moody after listening to this. “All for This” was an excellent solo album, and it’s sad that it didn’t get a wider release as it’s a very good showcase of his skills as a singer/songwriter that weren’t showcased the way they should have been when he was with Evanescence.

    That being said, he’s completely sold out now and formed a band called “We Are the Fallen,” which is apparently meant to be some sort of potshot at Evanescence by saying that they’ll all be a group rather than a vehicle for Amy Lee. Honestly, Moody was on drugs and driving everyone crazy when he left Evanescence, Rocky Gray the drummer was fired along the same lines, the original guitarist left shortly after Ben Moody, so none of them have any standing for this.

    I also wouldn’t be so irritated if they had actually followed Moody’s shining example set forth in “All for This” by making original, compelling music. Thus far, they have recruited Carly (I don’t remember her last name) from American Idol as their lead singer. She sounds *exactly* like Amy Lee except for Carly has a smoker’s voice. Their only single so far is “Bury Me Alive,” which is such a huge rip-off of Evanescence’s sound that I almost gagged.

    On “All for This,” Ben Moody shone as a singular artist. In We Are the Fallen, he’s quickly fallen back into the same old things he tried with Evanescence. Going solo was the best thing that you ever did, Mr. Moody. Unless We Are the Fallen quickly becomes more original, I sincerely hope that you realize this and leave them soon.

  • t.rex

    To be honest, I think Ben’s sole strength as a musician is as a songwriter. He’s a very average guitarist at best. When he left Evanescence, I barely noticed his absence, because the only positive thing he ever contributed to the band was his songwriting. But as far guitar skills go, I can’t tell him apart from the guy that replaced him, or from any average guitarist from an average band. Amy Lee is Evanescence for a reason. I personally believe that she intentionally surrounds herself with mediocre musicians so that she can easily replace them anytime she feels like without suffering any backlash from the fans. Because if they suck, then no one will complain that she drove away a talented band member.

  • immortal_soloist

    Ben is a great guitar player and songwriter. I don’t agree with the above post. The point to get a good replacement is so that the absence isn’t exactly felt. But Ben’s arrangements and solos,specially in the Evanescence demos is great.

    This album is solid and “We Are The Fallen” is not a rip of Evanescence,you can’t copy something that you created.

    Cheers.

    P.S: Great Review.

  • Smhopwood

    We are the fallen is very um nonrememerable. Very nontalented and very non future realistic. Say by by to a so so band.