Saturday, October 15, 2011

"Evanescence" | Evanescence

Five years have passed since Evanescence released their last album, The Open Door. Since they've been my favorite band since 2005 I have been especially excited for this album... not to mention quite impatient in the midst of my anticipation. Finally, they've come back with a different line-up as well as a general feel that sepreates from their previous albums in many ways. Everyone in the band contributed to the songwriting this time around, which was a big reason why they decided to name the album Evanescence. 

The album opens with the first single, "What You Want" and it may surprise people because it's so upbeat for Evanescence. It has a catchy hook and is undeniably infectious, making me unable to sit still. Amy's voice is a powerhouse and the band is rocking harder than ever, with Amy's piano of course.

"Made of Stone" follows, and it opens with heavy guitars with an eerie piano part overlapping it in the second half of the intro. Like the previous track, it's quite catchy. Amy's voice is angry and gorgeous all at the same time in this rock tune, repeatedly enforcing "It's never enough!". But, the bridge includes a very pretty piano bit that quickly gathers the drums and guitars and crescendos back into the band's new found heaviness.

The third track is called "The Change," and though the verses seem rather chill, the chorus blows up (I mean that in a good way). Amy's vocalizing might remind one of Alice in Chains and it sounds memorable and awesome! The lyrics are very good, much like in the next song, "My Heart is Broken." Although it certainly fits this new era, it reminds me of older Evanescence music, with Amy's soaring voice, the moving melodies, and combination of hard rock and classical. The piano is very potent throughout this piece as well, very soft at the beginning but it has a higher tempo for the rest of the song. All Evanescence fans should enjoy this one.

"The Other Side" is about death... but done differently. The drums begin the song, and even as the guitars and Amy's voice come in, it still sounds pretty upbeat. What is probably most noticeable is the fluiditys in the vocal line, and how cool it sounds when Amy sings "take me higher." But, the chorus and bridge are much bigger and darker than the verses, creating a very interesting track that captures a few different emotions. Next, we have "Erase This." A very catchy piano riff goes on throughout the song.

Evanescence has made the best ballads ever created in the history of the world and "Lost in Paradise" is no exception. Simplistic piano chords open the track, and Amy's voice sounds ethereal and vulnerable as she sings the best lyrics of the album. The piano picks up, strings come in, and between the chord progression and the emotion in Amy's voice, I get chills each time I hear her sing "...but I"m broken." When the band comes in, it emphasizes all the emotion in the lyrics and strengthens them. This will be the Evanescence fan anthem forever since it's about how Amy was "lost in paradise" when she took a break from the band. Amy herself has called it an "apology to the fans" in a track-by-track explanation with NME. It's beautiful and definitely my favorite from this album.

The eighth song is called "Sick," and the chorus immediately drew me in and had me pumping my fist. Amy's voice almost sounds scary as she belts out "Sick we are! Sick we are!" and for whatever reason it makes me think of the film V for Vendetta and overthrowing totalitarian governments. "End of the Dream" follows with a much more relaxing (yet still heavy) feel. The bridge sounds very metal-ish with the pounding, rythemic drums.

"Oceans" comes next, and it is one of my favorites. It opens with an electronic vibe, but it doesn't last long; the guitars kick in at the chorus, and are full-force in the urgent bridge. The vocalizing in the background of the chorus sounds purely amazing, and the line "cross the oceans in my mind" is just so classic to me. It's a great composition that will appeal to fans of just about any of Evanescence's eras.

The heaviest of the album is "Never Go Back," another one of the album's best tracks, written about the tsunami disaster in Japan. This is especially evident in my favorite line from the song: "The only world I've ever known sleeps beneath the waves." Metal is basically the only word to describe the heavy guitars, and Amy's voice still manages to soar above them. One of the best elements of this track is the epic bridge, where piano and guitars collide theatrically. I love it!

"Swimming Home" ends the standard edition of the album. It's by far the most different song from Evanescence; it's electronic and the harp is included for the first time. Again, it's about death, but in an usual way. It's about actually dying and saying goodbye. As previously mentioned, Evanescence is superior in the ballad department, but "Swimming Home" is probably the prettiest. Amy's gorgeous voice, the harp, and electronic composition is an otherworldly blend that will touch your heart.

The deluxe edition comes with four bonus tracks that are just as promising as this wonderful album. This includes "A New Way to Bleed," an awesome track that includes harp in the bridge; "Say You Will," a more upbeat track; "Disappear," a powerful song that won't disappoint those who enjoyed this album; and "Secret Door," a very unique and beautiful classical song that features the harp. "Secret Door" is probably the most relaxing song that's come from this band.

Evanescence has renovated their sound with every album, so the fact that this self-titled piece of work differs from the rest shouldn't be surprising to fans. Even so, I don't think that many will be disappointed in this new release. It's still very Evanescence-y and includes many fantastic songs. In my opinion, one of the biggest things that drives this band's music is the emotion put into each song that no one else can really capture, and there's plenty of that. Not to mention the incredible music.

Lyrically, this album is very strong. Amy seems more confident than ever, and in her writing it is evident that she knows there's a way out of darkness. It makes the album more positive than the other albums, yet it still has the dark vibe that comes with Evanescence's amazing music. She's a stronger person than ever before, and it shows.

Evanescence is back, and they are still the perfect band I've always believed them to be.

5/5 Stars

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