Monday, September 18, 2006

The Open Door by Evanescence

It's been three and a half years since the award-winning band Evanescence released their multi-platinum major-label debut album Fallen (the live album Anywhere But Home notwithstanding).  The wait has been long thanks to a change in management, the departure of some members of the band, and the guitarist's stroke last year, but the band emerges from the rough times with their sophomore album The Open Door in stores October 3rd.  So, how does the new album hold up?

First let's take a quick look back at FallenBring Me to Life and My Immortal received a significant amount of publicity thanks to the big-screen adaptation of Daredevil.  Other tracks from the album such as Going Under found their way to virtually every radio station across the country.  The album managed to hit that sweet spot of sound that appealed to so many consumers with its delicate balance between hard rocking guitar and dramatic emotional piano, all backed by the amazing sound of Amy Lee's voice.  It was intricate and dark.

The Open Door certainly takes many of these winning elements and makes a solid effort, but I was a tad bit disappointed on the first trip through.  Whereas the first album was complex, balancing a few select ethereal melodies on the piano with a driving--almost industrial--gothic sound of the guitar work, this new album seems simpler and more down to earth with a few too many slower spots.  The overall feel of the album lacks the otherworldly beauty of Fallen, but after getting over the initial shock of the new material, its subtle beauty emerges.

The first cut from the album is the second track, Call Me When You're Sober.  This is probably one of the tracks that is most like their previous album and is a great segue to the new material.  Sweet Sacrifice, Weight of the World, and Cloud Nine help open up the album in a similar fashion and will all probably end up as overplayed radio tracks.  My personal favorite, despite its too-short length of less than four minutes, is the fourth track entitled Lithium, which hearkens back to the eerie and emotional style of My Immortal and the sound reminds me a lot of European goth metal bands such as Flowing TearsSnow White Queen has an odd distortion effect on the guitars through the verses that may take a few listens to really appreciate.  The Only One, Your Star, and All That I'm Living For are some of the better tracks that help close out the second half of the album.

I think that I went into the album with my hopes set way too high.  The first few listens, nothing except Lithium really jumped out at me, unlike the first album.  It took a few complete passes through the entire set to fully appreciate this album.  The official band website proclaims that this album "is a logical (but certainly not predictable) transformation of epic proportions for the band".  I'm not sure if I would agree on the "epic" part, but the album is definitely evolved, though subtly, from the first one and well worth picking up.  Give it some time, pull back the darker veil that may have Fallen upon your ears, and you too will see the new beauty behind The Open Door.

Rating: 4.5


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