Evanescence is a band worth its goth salt. And with the release of their new album, they hope to once again skyrocket to the same fame as their debut.
There’s just a slight problem, though. Like an ailing mother or a battered car, Evanescence coughs and sputters in uneven measures, ranging from the glorious moments to the absurdly cliche. The fact remains–there is no originality left in the band that once gripped our hearts. Amy Lee, one of the most recognizable voices in music, can still hit the perfect notes, which is a good thing. But it seems the rest of the band have a lot of catching up to do.
The main problem is not the musicianship: they manage to do a good enough job of playing. The problem is that they play almost the same way throughout the album, leaving Moody, Hodges, Gray, and LeCompt-sized holes of originality. I do not know if this is on purpose (I certainly hope it isn’t), but a single listen and it becomes clear that the descent since Fallen and Moody’s exit has all of a sudden steepened. They sound too forced, and by sounding too forced they leave Lee’s excellent vocal work hanging.
There are some good songs on the album such as the amazing “Sick” and the beautiful “Oceans,” but other that these and a couple of others, the rest sound the same. Take the first six songs, for example: “What You Want” sounds like Evanescence all through, which is good. So do “Made of Stone,” “The Change,” “My Heart is Broken,” and the last two, and frankly it becomes really boring after the first three. There is a lot of filler, obviously, but it somehow manages to sound like a true Evanescence record without winning anything for originality.
The good thing about the album is it really rocks. Yes, it is not original, and yes, Lee should either apologize to her former bandmates or get better, more innovative musicians. But the current lineup knows how to rock, which is awesome. If you want to simply rock out and breathe in that Amy Lee essence Fallen first introduced us to, this is the album. If you want the intensity of their debut, maybe you’ll like some of Evanescence. But if you want the creativity of their debut, or its writing skills, look elsewhere. It is a beautiful album, but overall it is nothing special.
The overall defining statement of this album, and by extension, Evanescence themselves, would be: Evanescence is a great band, capable of great music and reaching the top of the musical pyramid. They would be nothing without graceful singer Amy Lee, but without Ben Moody, David Hodges, Rocky Gray and John LeCompt, they wouldn’t be Evanescence, either. I recommend this one to fans of the band, but if you’re looking for innovation, creativity or originality, or if you want to begin listening to this band or gothic rock in general, please skip this one if you’re short on cash.
Overall rating: three and a half out of five stars.