Every time these guys release something, I get my hopes up. 2003's Fallen was a good, albeit flawed record. There were rockers, there were ballads, there were ***ty rap contributions. But they at least knew what they wanted to sound like, and for that reason, and that reason alone is why this eponymous release fails where Fallen succeeded.
From the moment that this record begins, it's plain to see that Evanescence is struggling to find identity. The first track, also the lead single off of the album, starts off with arena rock drums, and a vocal line reminiscent of the Spice Girls. Even when the crunchy, down-tuned metal guitars kick in, it's still a very watery song. This sets the theme for the record going onwards. Most of the songs have little to no substance to them, and when the opportunity arises for substance to grow, it seems that they want to counter this with bad mixing, and questionable writing. "My Heart is Broken" starts off with a beautiful piano line backed by strings, with a nice melody from Amy Lee's admittedly gorgeous voice. And then the drums kick in. It feels like they took one of their more hard-sounding songs, and transplanted in the drums. They don't fit at all. And with how high they are in the mix, it's almost impossible to ignore how wrong they sound.
"The Change" starts off as a ballad but goes nowhere "Sick" tries at first to sound like a Tool song, fails because the drums are too high in the mix, so you can't hear the bassline. And then progresses into the chord change that is in every nü-metal song out there. Not to mention the corny chanting of "Sick of it all" during the chorus. "End of the Dream" Shows that they worship KoRn and Within Temptation still, with almost blinding unoriginality. These themes just repeat each other again and again and again throughout the record.
Now, while most of the songs on this record are pretty awful, there are usually one or two moments that hint at possible greatness. Aside from that "Made of Stone" and "The Other Side" are genuinely good songs. "Made of Stone" has a really nice guitar riff, and shows that these guys could pull off some really nice goth-pop. While "The Other Side" shows the only respectable percussion on the entire album. Even if the guitar is pretty by-the-numbers Nü-metal. The drums and vocals are top notch.
Evanescence is an unfortunate failure in a sea of oppurtunity. While this album took about 4 years to come out, I feel that if they took some extra time, and worked out the production, mixing, and some of the songwriting kinks, this record could have been a nice addition to their catalog. But, instead it will now serve as bait for the "remember back in the day" ***s. And for once I would have to actually side with them. For a band who had a very clear identity and audience with their debut, searching for a new identity should have a little more work put into it, and not sound like a cluster***.