by Gyromania USER (57 Reviews)
October 10th, 2011 | 164 replies

Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A surprising album, Evanescence’s self-titled shows maturity and ends up being more engaging than previous records by a huge margin, but something is missing.

“Everyone knows our sound but that's just a foundation and we've danced on top of that! It's still very heavy and dark but we we're having fun with it."

Evanescence took the scene by storm back in 2003 with their goth-rock/nu-metal entry album Fallen. Suddenly their songs were everywhere and received gargantuan amounts of commercial success, being marketed in film (Daredevil), television (Moonlight), and reaching top ten charts in countries all around the world. Within the same year they were also afforded 5 Grammy nominations - two of which were eventually won. Their mark was left and their presence was known: a group whose lead star’s extravagantly done-up dark image appealed to pseudo-goths and nu-metal fans everywhere. Here’s the thing though: for someone feeling nostalgic, Fallen is an album to put on to hearken back to earlier days -- it’s enjoyable in small doses and catchy; however, without sentimentality attached it can be very grating and come off as amateurish and sickeningly tailored for radio play. The elementary - although hooky and mostly inoffensive - tracks like the rap-rock “Bring Me to Life” and nu-metal crowd pleaser “Going Under” were fun, but could obviously be improved upon. Sadly, the band’s offhanded follow-up, The Open Door, did almost nothing to expand on the formula found on Fallen, but was still loved by many. The overflowing cheesiness and refusal to evolve musically and lyrically was frustrating given Amy Lee’s obvious vocal prowess, but it’s also more of what their fans wanted: short songs with unabashedly infectious choruses. Five years later and here we have their self-titled album, a record that - unlike its loosely tethered predecessors - is consistently enjoyable and occasionally brilliant thanks to the influences it draws from.

Evanescence channels the energy of previous albums but also shows a musical evolution for the band, one that’s apparent right from the get-go with their best single to date, “What You Want”. Riffing and upbeat drumming segue into a piano-led chorus where Amy sings: “Hello, hello - remember me? / I’m everything you can’t control / Somewhere beyond the pain there must be a way to believe we can break through”. The percussion and dancy synthesizer shed light on a different, less-damaged sounding Evanescence with the whole band playing to their potential. Here they withdraw from their angst and sing of optimism, a theme not often prevalent in their music. Up until now Amy Lee has been to Evanescence what Hayley Williams is to Paramore: the face of the band. Amy’s band-mates are anonymous to most, often standing in photo-shoots dressed in almost all black, contrasted against her fashionable wardrobe. Beyond an obvious marketing strategy to use aesthetics to promote the band, it’s also a little curious that she’s the most prominent force in every song on previous albums Fallen and The Open Door. Thankfully, on Evanescence the songs feel like a collective work, showing the best traits of each member with no one person ever over-stepping the other. That said, Amy’s voice is still one of the most attractive qualities -- never has she sounded as convicted as she does in “The Change” when she cries: “You've been dreaming if you're thinking that I still belong to you / I've been dying 'cause I'm lying to myself”. Although the lyrical content is a little cliche and juvenile at points, it’s genuinely felt through Amy’s gorgeous vocalization and conveys independence and hope here and there where it counts.

It’s obvious when hearing the synthesizers and production that Evanescence are borrowing influences from cited artists that range from MGMT to Bjork. “Lost in Paradise” pays homage to the latter, starting with gentle piano chords, evolving into a rich piece of music with exhilarating strings and a grandiose climax. “Swimming Home” is the electro-pop song of the album - it rolls along with lush production, slick beats and an oft-used drum kit, showing the band’s electronically conscious side. The variance and musicianship here are what keep Evanescence from being just another typical nu-metal/goth rock outing, and their influences give a fresh new sound to their appeal, but make no mistake: this is still the same band with dark themes, riffs abound, and theatricality to their music, they’ve just outgrown their inability to write a consistent and fluid album.

Still, all of this praise might be a little misguided. While Evanescence is a surprisingly great release from an otherwise average to good band, it’s still not going to steal 2011’s heart, or even trouble users’ top albums lists. Its faults are that some of the songs seem aimless and detract from the flow of the album, like “Made of Stone” and “The Other Side,” the ‘fillers’ of the album, if you will. They aren’t necessarily bad per se, but seem aimless - housing some of Evanescence’s most boring choruses to date and failing to elicit an emotional response. Also impeding on the album’s success are the somewhat overly simplistic and unimaginative lyrics found in songs like “Lost in Paradise”. Despite it being a gorgeous song, evoking Bjork’s cold, cerebral style, the lyrics - hidden in the guise of beauty - are a little corny and typical: “Take it all away / Shadows of you / ‘Cause they won’t let me go, so I have nothing left / And all I feel is this cruel wanting / We’ve been falling for all this time / And now I’m lost in paradise”.

At any rate, Amy and co. have created their first focused album and it’s better than anything they’ve done (EP or otherwise) by a large margin. Evanescence are beginning to pull away from the adolescence that brought us Fallen, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement. If they continue on this way and experiment more, perhaps they’ll still be able to make something worthy of standing the test of time. Even still, Evanescence is a bold step in the right direction.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
October 10th 2011


Streaming here: http://musicfeeds.com.au/news/listen-evanescence-self-titled-full-album-stream/

October 10th 2011


nice to see you're really getting into the groove of things. once my life starts calming down a bit i hope to as well. cheers and pos

October 10th 2011


good job, dude. pos

October 10th 2011



October 10th 2011


that's it Gyro

now for the feature

October 10th 2011


Album Rating: 3.0

Couldn't stand their old stuff, but the single they released for this wasn't bad at all, kinda intrigued.

October 10th 2011


Two songs I heard from this were awful, im content with just sticking with We Are The Fallen because they are a better Evanescence clone than Evanescence them selves.

October 10th 2011


Album Rating: 3.0

Hey, I tried to move this review from the EP to the full album earlier in the day and instead it just fucking disappeared. Glad you had it backed up. Good review.

October 10th 2011


Album Rating: 4.0

Well written review even though I disagree with almost everything here except your criticism of the lyrics.

October 10th 2011


Good review! Glad you're tackling new releases as well. That will help ;).

October 10th 2011


this just oozes feature.... informing Jom right now.

awesome review Matt, though I can probably assume that I'd hate this if I even tried to listen.

October 10th 2011


its no leprosy!

Electric City
October 11th 2011


Haley Williams*

otherwise none too shabby mr french

October 11th 2011


I liked Open Door to an extent, though this band never did much for me

good review, I might check this out later

October 11th 2011


Album Rating: 4.0

*Hayley Williams

And yeah, check this out even if you didn't like past releases or "What You Want." There's some different things going on here.

Electric City
October 11th 2011


lol whoops

October 11th 2011


My problem with Evanescence is that I can't seperate Amy Lee's obvious talent from her personality. A lot of interviews I've seen with her and some of her actions made me think she was kind of a bitch. And whenever I hear Evanescence, I think, "God, she's such a bitch." And then I turn it off. But good review. Pos'd

October 11th 2011


Thanks for all of the kind words from everyone, hopefully any negative experiences people might have
had with Evanescence before won't deter them from looking into this.

Hey, I tried to move this review from the EP to the full album earlier in the day and instead
it just fucking disappeared. Glad you had it backed up. Good review.

Ah, I was wondering what had happened. All of my files are automatically saved thanks to
Googledocs, so no worries there. Thanks for attempting to help though, Trey. Also, I think you
might enjoy this album - let me know what you think if you get around to hearing it.

My problem with Evanescence is that I can't seperate Amy Lee's obvious talent from her

I completely understand your rationale here because I do this with a lot of artists, but a while ago
I just thought "the artist's outside of the studio shouldn't impede on the enjoyment of the music

October 11th 2011


Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I pretty much agree with what Balls said. Great review though.

October 11th 2011


Album Rating: 5.0

I have always liked Evanescence, and this album is even better than anything they have released before. It is more mature, less whiny and it just feels like more of a band effort. It is also produced a lot better than their other albums (particularly The Open Door!). The only negative thing I have to say about it is that some of the songs do feel like fillers (such as Oceans, Made Of Stone and The Other Side) but apart from that, this is one great album!!

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