Wind-up Records (UK release 10 October)
American rock band Evanescence seemed to disappear for a few years after their 2006 sophomore studio album The Open Door did not quite live up to the hype of their far more successful debut – 2003′s Fallen. But now they are back with their highly anticipated third effort, Evanescence (what a creative name). But will this help them bring alternative metal and rock music back to the mainstream market? It is probably a long shot, but Evanescence have a secured themselves a loyal following that have been waiting excitedly for this new offering, and they will probably not be disappointed with this.
Evanescence offers a good mix of heavy, guitar and drum-driven tracks and gorgeous, melancholy, piano-led rock ballads, which really allow the band’s lead singer and co-founder, Amy Lee to shine. Her stunning voice could mesmerise even the most adamant rock music hater and even on the more upbeat, rockier songs her raw emotion is still evident with every lyric she sings and every note she hits. However, on some songs such as ‘Oceans’ and ‘Never Go Back’, the volume of the other instruments almost seem as if they are trying to compete with Lee for dominance over the song.
Most of the songs touch on themes of freedom, relationships, death, sorrow and reflecting on one’s past. The band has also added new elements to their usual Gothic rock and nu-metal sound, including the use of synthesizers for a more electro feel, and a harp. Standout tracks include the album’s opener and lead single ‘What You Want’, a strong comeback track that proves Evanescence still have that crossover and commercial appeal; the lyrically poetic yet sad and beautiful ‘My Heart Is Not Broken’; ‘The Other Side’, a poignant, sorrowful ballad where Lee’s spellbinding vocals are at their best; and ‘Lost In Paradise’. The deliberative ‘Paradise’ starts off slowly with just Lee’s voice and a piano, before a suite of other instruments come in to build to an epic climax.
After spending time out of the spotlight writing and recording, and after several band line-up changes, Evanescence have swept aside the depressive and ghostly Gothic-Emo persona with which they were associated. They sound tougher, more self-assured and musically more accomplished than before with their most mature album to date. Understandably, this genre of music may not be to everyone’s tastes in the age of commercial, fun, poppy electro-dance and R&B music, but Evanescence would definitely take the crown for this year’s ‘Best Alternative, Non-Pop Album’ – if ever there were one.