Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Evanescence - The Open Door Review

Back in February of 2003, some friends and I decided to check out Daredevil, and while the film itself was nothing too amazing, I heard a few tracks that I simply couldn't get out of my head. After doing a little searching around, I discovered these tracks, "Bring Me to Life" and "My Immortal," where by a new American band entitled Evanescence.

Unfortunately, their debut album had yet to be released here in Canada and was actually slated for release a few months after the American release date. Finally, at long last, Fallen hit shelves, however I suppose the band was still unknown here as the HMV guy gave me a weird "are you serious" look when I bought the disc. Well, based on the huge success Evanescence has enjoyed, I can safely say "nuts to you" HMV guy.

Fallen, while not possessing the strongest instrumentals I've ever heard, is an aural treat. Amy Lee's voice is simply intoxicating, there's no better way to put it. Her voice simply flows from track to track in such an eerie and riveting fashion, the strings on the disc are strong, and I simply couldn't set aside the fact that I was listening to a Yank band that was actually putting forth what amounted to effort; their angst wasn't pre-packaged.

Needless to say, Evanescence was the first band in a long, long time to impress me. Their sound was pure, marketable yet not commercial, and they actually had real, honest to God feeling in each of their tracks.

Flash forward 3.5 years and we now have their follow up album, The Open Door. Does it hold a torch to Fallen and is it an evolution for the band? Well, yes and no. If I recall right, during the tour for Fallen, Moody (guitarist and song writer) had a falling out with Amy, and his departure has hurt a certain creative aspect for the band, however that forced Amy to truly do her own thing, and the result is very strong. While Fallen featured tracks of varying theme, from loud and hard to softer, piano melodies, The Open Door is more one-track minded with a bit of variation thrown in for good measure.

Amy's voice is as captivating and enthralling in The Open Door as it was in Fallen; it is simply beautiful and there's no other way to put it. The tracks themselves are generally strong, though unlike Fallen a few are weaker than others, however they still flow very well.

Even with Moody's departure, I find The Open Door still suffers from the same weakness, in that the strings are strong, but the rest of the instrumental is a bit weak. Nothing awful, mind you, but it is a noticeable soft spot. The tracks themselves also seem a little more commercial and radio friendly than the tracks of Fallen, but again the album doesn't suffer from it.

Throughout its career, a band is ever changing and evolving. Sometimes the band changes with the market/target audience, sometimes they'll have creative issues, and other times key sources of inspiration will up and leave. The latter's where Evanescence stands right now. They're re-discovering themselves after the loss of a key member, and while the end result doesn't have the same impact as their debut disc, The Open Door is a great album and worthy of a spot in any fan's CD collection.

In my personal opinion, strong CDs (like most media) are few and far between these days, however The Open Door thankfully offers us some relief. The disc is everywhere so go pick it up.

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