Album Review: Evanescence – Evanescence (iTunes Deluxe Version)

October 11, 2011 at 4:19 pm Leave a comment

In recent years, while many had forgotten the name Evanescence (or thought the group had broken up), those of us who have been fans since the beginning were waiting patiently for new material. The band remained completely silent, hardly ever updating fans on what was going on. Writing for the album began in 2009, but due to the band changing producers and wanting to write more material, the release date kept getting pushed back.

It’s been five years since the release of the group’s second album, The Open Door, and eight since the release of debut Fallen. Now, Evanescence present us with their self-titled LP, a pounding, rollercoaster ride of an album that will command your attention for its entirety.

Evanescence begins with the album’s first single, “What You Want,” which was released in August. This edgy-but-still-poppy track instantly reminded me of the band’s material that was recorded before Fallen (specifically “Anything For You”). “What You Want” has the formula of a radio-friendly rock song, but maintains its signature Evanescence sound with introspective lyrics and a grandiose bridge.

With its smooth guitar work and midtempo drumming, “Made of Stone” could very well be a track off DeftonesDiamond Eyes. The soft beginning of “The Change” sets the stage for the big chorus of “oh”s that sounds much like the bridge of “Lose Control” off The Open Door.

At this point in the record, it’s apparent that the instrumentation behind frontwoman Amy Lee has evolved significantly since their debut, and it should have, considering the lineup changes that have occurred over the years. Second single “My Heart Is Broken” is Evanescence at its finest; a haunting intro is followed by fast piano licks, charging guitars and soaring harmonies.

“The Other Side” slows things down a bit, but it has one of the best hooks on the album. Lyrically, the song centers on the death of a loved one (most likely Lee’s sister Bonnie, who also inspired Fallen‘s “Hello” and The Open Door‘s “Like You”).

The fast-paced beat of “Erase This” is quickly met with a fiery riff that adds a welcome new dimension to Evanescence’s usually chuggy, powerchord-laden guitar parts. The energy on this track is undeniable, and truly makes it a standout on the record.

I admit that although I enjoyed the beginning of this album, I was secretly hoping for a “Lithium”/”Good Enough”-esque number to come along. My prayers were answered with “Lost In Paradise,” which has one of the best intros of any Evanescence song in existence. Lee’s vocals are unbelievably well-controlled here, and grow gradually stronger as the song progresses slowly into a rock ballad. But even as she belts out the strongest notes in the song, it is still easy to sense her vulnerability. “Lost in Paradise” is a very honest and powerful moment, the kind that made fans fall in love with this band all those years ago.

The rock comes back in full swing with “Sick” and “End of the Dream,” two wonderfully executed tracks that are sure to please fans of The Open Door. “Oceans” really kicks things up a notch though, with Lee’s vocals driving the verses into one of the best choruses of the entire album. I’ve been trying to avoid using this word, but the music is so epic on this track that it’s hard not to picture some kind of Lord of the Rings-style battle going on while you listen.

“Never Go Back” begins like a punk song with its rapid guitar riffs, but flows into another sweeping, piano-backed chorus. The standard version of the record ends with “Swimming Home,” a sleepy downtempo number that features Lee on the harp and Imogen Heap-like synthesized vocals.

The iTunes deluxe version of Evanescence contains four bonus tracks, and I strongly recommend purchasing this version, if not for just the last two songs. The first, “New Way To Bleed” and “Say You Will” are as equally strong as the rest of the album, but “Disappear” and “Secret Door” stand out from the crowd. “Disappear” is full of a vibrant energy that never slows down for a second, and features a fun playfulness between the guitars and piano. Anchored by mysterious strings and Lee’s gorgeous harp playing, “Secret Door” is one of the most beautiful tracks to come from the band yet.

One of the best aspects of Evanescence is that, as the title hints, it is a band‘s record. While much of the focus has been on Lee in the past, the band behind her really spread their wings on this album and ventured into territory that Evanescence had not yet explored. The album is full of energy and melody, and it seems as though both the music and the vocals are perfectly balanced in their contributions.

If you’re a diehard Evanescence fan praying for a return to the more simplistic side of Fallen, this record will honestly not do it for you. Evanescence has matured significantly in the past eight years, which has allowed them to build upon their sound and create a powerful, emotional and cohesive record that was well worth the wait.

Rating: 4.5/5 A-


1. What You Want
2. Made Of Stone
3. The Change
4. My Heart Is Broken
5. The Other Side
6. Erase This
7. Lost In Paradise
8. Sick
9. End Of The Dream
10. Oceans
11. Never Go Back
12. Swimming Home
13. New Way To Bleed (iTunes Bonus Track)
14. Say You Will (iTunes Bonus Track)
15. Disappear (iTunes Bonus Track)
16. The Secret Door (iTunes Bonus Track)


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