on October 11, 2011
I personally think too many people are jumping the gun to write reviews on this album. At first, I was unsure about the album as well. As previously mentioned by another reviewer, the standard album has been up on Spin magazine's website streaming for free for the past week, and I haven't been able to stop listening to it since the first day of its premiere. I'm almost sure the band took that step and slowly releasing all the songs to gain back their skeptic fan base. Once you get past the generic "What You Want" (which I still love,) and get over the disappointment that this album isn't the same old same from Evanescence it's truly soul enriching.
It's certainly different from anything they've ever done before. It's still Evanescence, it's still Amy Lee, but you have to remember it's a different band line up behind her, and they're trying to grow as a whole. Also remember, that initially this was suppose to be an electro-pop album, but Wind-Up scrapped it, and thus you get the album you hear before you.
There are still some dark undertones, but instead of being sad and emo-ish (which I'm not opposed to since I've been a fan of Ev since the days of the first LP and EP, Orgin, etc...) the album is more powerful. To me, with the new line up everything is more cohesive, and they feel like they're finally in a happy arrangement, and comfortable as oppose to the tension and anger you could sense before within the band.
Keep in mind Amy isn't a one trick pony, and she's always trying to reinvent her sound to show that she's an amazing composer, singer, and songwriter. I was even intrigued by the prospect of the original electro-pop idea, and was a little disappointed to see it had been tossed because I truly believe she'd be amazing no matter what she attempted. Heck, I'd follow her straight into a solo attempt if she ever went that route, but I know Evanescence is far too important of an entity to her...
I read one commenter on the Spin board that said she cried over Swimming Home because it had too many electronics behind it, and it didn't sound like Evanescence. I have to say - it's one of my favorites. I appreciate that artistically they went out of the norm and were willing to tinker with something they've never done before. Yes, a good portion of the album has some electronic undertones, but in this track it's definitely noticeable. Amy wanted to pay homage to the band's that inspire her like MGMT and Portishead (the latter, one of my personal favorites as well) and in this track it was certainly achieved, and Amy is fantastic on her debut with the harp.
The songs that strike me and make my heart swell when I listen to them are My Heart is Broken, Lost in Paradise, and End of the Dream. Not to say there aren't other vocally intense songs, but these are without a doubt the most emotional songs on the album, and at points depending on my mood - the epic power behind Amy's voice on those tracks along with musical arrangements could make me cry.
Evanescence is back. Five years in the making, but they're back. Stronger than ever. Don't be so quick to judge it, go in with and open mind, give it time to grow on you. If you're a true Evanescence fan, but are deterred by the electronics so you decide to pass up on this album (deluxe or standard) - you're making a horrible mistake. If you're still on the fence about actually spending the money to buy it: listen to it here at the Spin magazine website. ([...])
on October 13, 2011
I'm rating this product as a mainstream rock album with dark elements; in which case, I'd give it five stars for production quality and vocals. However, I will always miss their darker and "gothy" sound that their commercial debut, "Fallen," offers. I even enjoyed "The Open Door." I am not surprised that the band totally went much more mainstream with their third studio album, "Evanescence." More money is usually involved when artists/bands go this route, as well as more exposure. You really can't blame them for that, since the goal of being a musician is generally to gain as much exposure as possible. But by the same token, it's a risk when it comes to losing old fans and the sound you were once known for (though, die-hard fans will most likely stay loyal). But these artists/bands do tend to gain new fans as well. Anyway, enough about that! On to the tracks!
I'm not surprised that "What You Want" is the lead single. It's catchy and very radio-friendly. I would've guessed it to be the lead if I had never known it was. "Made of Stone" will most likely be a single with its equal hook. I predict "Lost in Paradise" to be one of the upcoming singles. I hope so because you can never not enjoy any of Amy Lee's piano ballads (which a few of them have become singles). This one is no exception. "Swimming Home" is an excellent track, despite its downtempo style. But it really captured my attention, and Amy Lee's vocals seem somewhat sultry in it. You can definitely hear more depth when it comes to the emotions and meaning of the track. "Swimming Home" and "Lost in Paradise" are definitely my favorites so far (I'm a fan of mysterious piano ballads and piano-heavy tracks). The rest of the tracks are all good just from the first listen, but they are somewhat similar to each other. I do like that the band still uses piano melodies through some of the rock tracks.
Overall, the album is consistent, and not very many tracks stand out too much, since they all blend well together. For those who are anti-mainstream (not that Evanescence was never mainstream to begin with), you may not care too much for this album. But hey, I'd much rather listen to this on the radio than the likes of Britney, Katy Perry, and J.Lo (no offense to those who enjoy those artists, just not my preference). So, yes... five stars. There is no reason for me to give it a lower rating if I enjoyed listening to it. At the end of the day, isn't that what's most important?
P.S. I still want Amy Lee to release a solo album of nothing but piano ballads. Am I the only one who feels this way? She'd totally be a much darker Tori, only with lyrics that wouldn't make the average radio listener's head hurt. I don't mind my brain being wracked by advanced, intelligent storytelling, but this is top 40 we're talking about. You can't really expect much.
on October 11, 2011
(This is my original album review plus the deluxe stuff at the bottom.)
Five years later Evanescence is back in a big way. This self-titled album is hands down the band's most cohesive offering--featuring Amy Lee Hartzler's trademark vocals, big guitars, soaring choruses, full orchestra backup and a faster tempo drum. While the band initially went through more lineup changes after "Open Door," all of them (Balsamo, Hunt, McCord, McLawhorn) are back and it's clear they have all been involved in the process for this album. Instead of songs centered solely on Amy and her piano, the music is more complex and rich.
The more up-tempo drumming and fuller sound is actually what differentiates this album musically from "Fallen." And it's quite different from "Open Door" in that it lacks some of the experimental sounds that really put off some fans. However, while musically it's more reminiscent of "Fallen" this is not to say the band hasn't switched it up as they've added different instruments like harps and synth keyboards which really accent their sound. I do wish they had pushed themselves a little more out of the box musically though. Probably my biggest disappointment with the album though is the lack of ballads--like it or not, there is nothing more gutting than Amy singing power ballads in her haunting voice. Unfortunately, there's only like two songs that could be considered as such which is bad considering that's where Amy's at her best.
But really the biggest difference about this album is the tone. While still firmly in the gothic hard rock category, "Evanescence" sounds much less emo and depressing than its predecessors, and instead powerful and commanding. I think it's a natural and important evolution for Evanescence (and probably means Amy is in a much better emotional state), but I can't deny that I found myself missing some of that chilling sadness found on songs like "Like You." That's not to say that the songs aren't as emotional or never are sad (the epic "Lost in Paradise" being a prime example), just I found the album as a whole is more empowering than cathartic.
Spin has been streaming this album for about a week now, and while I've had it continuously on repeat--I'm not sure I'm in a place yet where I can give a definitive review. It will probably take me another month to be able to do that. But for now, I can say with conviction that this album is exciting, powerful and beautiful.
I was sincerely hoping that Amy would include more ballads on the deluxe version as there are hardly any on the album--but alas it is not so. Only the last song "Secret Door" is, and I'm currently not that big of a fan of it (maybe it needs to grow? as many people think it's brilliant). However, "Say You Will" is worth the price of the other extra songs combined. It's a fast kick butt and take names type of song that is simply fun to listen to.
on October 11, 2011
Let me start by saying, that I have read some of the negative reviews, while I can appreciate some of them, I do not understand certain claims like they've gone mainstream. I actually think most of the album would not go over well by the mainstream, because the sound of the album does not conform to pop mainstream standards. Their most mainstream song on the album, What You Want, is the one they have released as the first single, but honestly, that is what you can call the 'most' mainstream song on the entire album. Plus, I've never been convinced that mainstream is such an overtly evil thing, as there is some good music in mainstream, like Adele. Admittedly, there is a lot on the chart that is, well, not great, but there are some things on the charts that are quite good, so lets not go burn mainstream in an effigy quite yet. Especially as we, the consumers, have the power to speak with our wallets.
I also find it quite funny while one camp insists the songs on this album sound like every other song on the other albums, another contingent insists this doesn't sound like Evanescence's other songs at all. I think the fact that there is this much debate about what the album sounds like means they've done their job. And I also think that both camps are right, it is and it isn't like Evanescence's catalogue.
This album isn't for everyone. If you truly expect another Fallen or another Open Door, I don't think you are going to be satisfied. Yes, that Evanescence feeling and element is in each song, but I think the crafting of each song is different this time around and does produce a bit of a different sound that distinguishes it from the other albums and other songs. That doesn't mean that it does not have similarities to some of Evanescence's other songs, but simililar doesn't mean it isn't different in its own way.
In regards to the songs, there are a few that I'm not in love with (What you Want, Sick), but there are some songs that I think are better than some of Evanescence's old stuff (My Heart Is Broken, Lost in Paradise, The Change, Secret Door). I am actually surprised that one reviewer hated Swimming Home, because in my opinion, that is one of the best songs on the album, because it's so different from the other songs on the album and really evokes the feeling of calmness within tragedy. To each his own, I guess.
Are all songs great on the new album? No, as I've pointed out before, there are some songs that I'm not feeling, but those are few and far between. Overall, I think this album showcases some of their best work and true musicianship.
I think what hits home the most in this album are some of the melodies. In songs such as; My Heart is Broken and Lost in Paradise, you have this very deep emotion that is coming out through both voice and piano, accompanied by crunching guitars, drum and a bass, but it works because it pushes the emotion higher. I adore Amy Lee's voice, I think her voice is one of the very best there is among today's female vocalists, because it can reach soaring heights and crushing lows and carry heavy emotion within it. She can make us feel with her voice and that is what a gifted singer can do.
In terms of lyrics, I don't know if this album truly features the best lyrics there are compared to other Evanescence songs, but some of the lyrics on this album are actually quite good. The pain she describes in Lost in Paradise is something I can understand and relate to and it works with the melody. That is the important thing in these songs, the melody, the lyrics and her voice work in tandem and push the quality of the songs higher and higher. These blended elements are what pushes this album from a merely good album to a great album.
Overall, I think it comes down to what you like. I like the creativity and sound of the new album. I truly feel like they built the sound of this album brick by brick and they came out with something great. I like the fact that some of the songs are emotional outpourings of pain or anguish, while others just make you want to rock your socks off.
Why did I give it five stars? Overall, I do feel this is their best work yet. Their sound has become bigger, the emotions more raw and it still can rock me out like nothing else. I loved Fallen, but I feel it lacked maturity. I loved the Open Door, but I didn't feel there was a stand out song on there. I absolutely adore the self-titled album, because I think they really outdid themselves with most of the material. Quite simply, this album speaks to me and affects me deeply, which is how I know it's good.
on October 26, 2011
I've been reading a lot of reviews on here, and I'm surprised that some of the fans are disappointed with this particular album. The sound is different than their debut, Fallen, but let's face it, the group has grown up. They are all grown musicians who are in the business for more than 10 years, so we must give them credit for trying to break free from the whole "gothic metal" label from the beginning of their career.
I must admit, this album actually sounds like the whole group worked together, as they had stated in numerous interviews. You can still hear the classical parts, but the overall sound is fresh and beautiful. I'm going to say a word or two about each of the songs, although there are much better and thourough reviews on here.
1. What You Want - I think that it's brilliant that they've chosen this song as their first single because it's very fun and catchy, especially the video that comes with the deluxe ediion of this CD.
2. Made Of Stone - A really classic Evanescence song with hard guitars and soft piano parts.
3. The Change - This song has such a beautiful chorus, I absolutely love the electronic intro.
4. My Heart Is Broken - Piano at the beginning is so ethereal that it easily made this song a favorite for me. It's almost magical how good this song is, and the continuous piano just adds to the sound.
5. The Other Side - This song shows the new side of the band, it's hard and bad-ass. The lyrics are really strong.
6. Erase This - Perfect combination of piano and drums at the beginning, and around the chorus the whole band joins in, creating a full sound.
7. Lost In Paradise - Really emotional ballad, Amy Lee has an amazing voice. I easpecially like the slow beginning with cellos in the background, and the powerful ending.
8. Sick - Catchy chorus, similar to What You Want. I think this song would be a great single if they ever choose it.
9. End Of The Dream - Lyrics are so poetic on this one, I think that's what I like the most about this song. It reminds me of a gothic setting.
10. Oceans - The band did wonders to the sound on this one.
11. Never Go back - Amy Lee stated in an interview that this song was inspired by the disaster that hit Japan earlier this year, the song is very powerful.
12. Swimming Home - This is another ballad with slightly electronic beats throughout. It sounds really good and the lyrics are ethereal. Chorus melody is outstanding.
13. New Way To Bleed - What I like the most about this song are the drums at the beginning of the song which gave the sound an oriental touch. The melody is beyond words, I think this is my second favorite on the album.
14. Say You Will - Another catchy and fun song. I like the simplicity of it.
15. Disappear - There is a part around the chorus that is really new in the Evanescence sound and it adds to the music and builds up until the end.
16. Secret Door - Amy Lee took harp lessons during the band hiatus, so this song is entirely played on that beautiful instrument. The lyrics are amazing and really emotional. I'm so glad that they included this song on the deluxe, since it lacks slower songs that were somewhat typical for Evanescence' earlier sound.
on August 3, 2012
I understand what Amy tried to do with this record. I give her credit for writing tunes that are diverse and evolving, combining influences and exploring atmosphere.
My problems are only few. I didn't like how the songs had to be surrounded by distorted guitars and rollicking piano as if Evanescence would lose its fan-base if there was anything but. As diverse as Amy is with her stated influences, I'm not sure why the songs had to be anchored to past albums in this way. The tired power-chords can't possibly be what Amy really wants, song after song. Can it?
Don't get me wrong. Even though I detest the droning sound, I still enjoy the talent. There are more than a few good songs here, but they could have been better.
I'm a musician, a consumer and this is just my opinion. I'll always be a sucker for the gothic orchestral atmosphere, the operatic verses and giant choruses that Evanescence is capable of. I just wish they would evolve the guitars to be more daring/creative and span some octaves. Bring in the classic-rock influences because the distortion is tired and drowning possibilities in a dying genre of rock. Graduate the talent!
on January 15, 2012
One of the best indicators of the quality of any album is how the songs translate live. My wife and I saw Evanescence just last night in Atlanta, second show of the tour, and out of 19 songs, the bulk of the set list was dominated by the new material, which sounded even better, fuller, richer live. These songs hold up really well, are heavy, and do a fine job of blending Amy's haunting, passionate voice with a very heavy rock sound. Awesome album, and the songs sound magnificent live. I highly recommend this set even for the casual fan and certainly the die-hards.
on December 26, 2011
Amy Lee's voice is not like anyone else out there. She's amazing at rocking out and also soft ballads. Her piano playing isn't too shabby either. Anyway, I love the first song on this album and its gotten some significant airplay. I dont really think any other song on the album is as catchy as "what you want". Actually, a lot of the songs kind of sound the same. I might sound like I dont like it but I do, its just not as diverse as the prior albums.
on October 11, 2011
First let me just say that this is how a "deluxe edition" of an album should be done. After Roadrunner Record's flawed "deluxe edition" physical release of Within Temptation's latest masterpiece The Unforgiving (Special Edition CD+DVD) (in which Roadrunner Records failed to include the bonus tracks on the physical release), I am glad that Wind-Up at least thought enough of the fans to include all the extra songs from this album's sessions, on the physical release. I truly wish that all "deluxe editions" could be like this. Much respect to Wind-Up for that move. Now onto the album.
The debut single is 'What You Want', which is definitely a very different song for Evanescence, with an intro hook that sounds more like it should be in a new song for Katy Perry. Once the song gets going, however, it's a pretty decent, catchy track. But there is much better material to be offered by this album. Next up is 'Made Of Stone' which sounds more like a cross of The Open Door and We Are The Fallen's Tear The World Down with some nice vocals, where the tender bridge is the shining moment for me in this song. In my opinion, 'The Change' is one of the best songs to be found on this album. It actually reminds me more of the Evanescence before Fallen, with a beautifully melodic verse and haunting vocal harmonies from Amy, as well as a more brooding bassline/piano that creates a sorrowful atmosphere. Now none of the songs on this album are near as solemn as what the amazing band Katatonia can pull off (like on their latest masterpiece Night Is the New Day), but still there are a few songs that have a darker, more subdued sound (maybe more in the vein of A Perfect Circle?). Needless to say, I really like it!
From there we go into the album's first piano-driven ballad called 'My Heart Is Broken' (sure it's a weak title but don't let that stop you because it's a great song). At first you expect another 'My Immortal' to lull you into a false sense of peace until the crunching guitar riff comes in rather quickly in the first verse. The commanding chorus (with some nice strings added in) really drives this song home and into the "highlights" category. There are some sweet drum moments in 'The Other Side', but the song doesn't stand out as much except during the bridge. 'Erase This' has a more uptempo piano melody that starts the song off with a nice amount of energy and a good chorus and even better bridge once the strings come in behind Amy. Then the next power ballad 'Lost In Paradise' is another beautiful piano driven song which has a very epic chorus that is very hard to not tap your fingers to, especially once the whole band joins in. The orchestra and Amy's vocals during the bridge gives me chills every time. Really powerful and probably my favorite song off the entire cd! Then we get to 'Sick' which has a wicked intro bassline, even briefly bringing to mind the Tool song 'Forty Six And 2'. The drums keep up and add an aggressive driving tempo during the verses. I am not as fond of the chorus, but it's still a very good song for Evanescence and proves they can create some nice rocking rhythms.
After that previous song, 'End Of The Dream' kinda fails to impress me as much, but still a decent song. 'Oceans' begins with another new, unexpected sound from Evanescence, which sounds like a really distorted synth to provide the foundation to the the song as Amy's familiar voice comes in to remind the listener this is still Evanescence, just trying some new (and welcome) sounds. Great melody, great drums, awesome vocals. A lot of people will like the uptempo 'Never Go Back' but for some reason, I don't like it quite as much as the other songs on the album. The guitars would be the highlight here, but the melody of the chorus is what I am not too fond of. Finally, we get yet another unique Evanescence sound which is provided solely by some pop/ambient synths. There is no "rock" to be found here, but Amy sings the song solidly enough to where I actually really like it. It gives another new sound to the cd and it actually is quite a pretty song once you can swallow down the extra cheese. The DVD is pretty much just what it says, the 'What You Want' music video, and several "making of" features.
If I had any one complaint, it really would just have to be the packaging for the deluxe edition. I hate digi-packs because it doesn't take long for them to get ripped up, worn corners and scratches on the cds (especially when they don't have a plastic tray for the discs to snap into, which unfortunately, this album does not have...it's just like the packaging from We Are The Fallen's album where you fit the discs into the disc-scuffing paperstock sleeves). I don't understand why record labels always give the deluxe versions cheaper casings than the standard editions that protect the cds better. But because Wind-Up gave us the four extra songs (of which, 'Disappear' is my favorite, though 'Secret Door' also deserves mention since we hear Amy's harp plucking skills), I can't dwell on that minor issue. Anyways, when all is said and done, do I think this is the next FALLEN? No, I wouldn't go that far because it still lacks the infectious guitar riffs (or another 'My Immortal') from Ben Moody. But I do believe that this album will surpass THE OPEN DOOR (at least in the ears of most fans) and it is a welcome return from Evanescence, who shows that they still have a lot to offer once they can just get past all of the drama. Female fronted bands always seem to deliver quality albums and EVANESCENCE is no exception. So now I say bring on the new Autumn album Cold Comfort for next month!
on December 28, 2011
This is an excellent CD and it's well worth your money.
No, it does not sound the same as previous releases. The reason? Amy Lee, the lead vocalist, is the only original band member.
I've listened to this album entirely, and it's my impression that Evanescence has revitalized with a newfound energy and sound which was lacking, somewhat, in The Open Door.
I've read many reviews which state that Evanescence has changed too little or too much. I disagree with both viewpoints. This is the new Evanescence doing what they do best. This is a new chapter in the band's existance. Instead of whining about too little or too much change, take what they have offered, because it's a fine album that deserves much praise. We all had high expectations for this album and I believe Evanescence has lived up those expectations. They've delivered a strong, well written, well produced piece of work. Amy's vocals are more powerful than ever before. Her lyrics address many of the same topics of previous albums, yet in a more positive and hopeful light. Evanescence does sound differently, but they have maintained the most important qualities of their music, the greatest of which is Amy's amazing voice.
I highly recommend this album to anyone who has enjoyed any of Evanescence' past work.
4.0 of 5.0