Review Summary: Beautiful and bombastic in all the right (and wrong) ways, Synthesis brings Amy Lee's musical vision to life in a sweepingly epic fashion.
I remember back when I was a young kid listening to Fallen
for the first time. The songs 'My Immortal' and 'Hello', whose gorgeous string arrangement mixed in with Amy Lee's vocals, managed to stick in my head. Ever since then I've been wanting Evanescence to make an album of just that: no guitars or drums, no heavy distortion of any kind, just Amy Lee belting out her voice with an orchestra in the background accompanying her.
is probably the closest thing to that kind of album that they've been able to muster. While almost all of the songs on here are reworked versions of older tracks ('My Immortal' being one of them), many of the alternative metal sound has been replaced with a more symphonic, dark pop atmosphere, recreated in the vision that, seemingly enough, only Amy Lee can create. While much of their Gothic rock sound is gone, the tone is still establish incredibly well. The only real difference compared to 'Hello' and the original 'My Immortal' is that Synthesis
is much more dramatic. The orchestration is epic, grandiose, and bombastic, almost equivalent to a Hans Zimmer soundtrack.
However, despite the epic, sweeping orchestration, Lee is always at the center of it all, carrying the emotional heft and adding to the bombast that the album delivers. Not once throughout the entire album does she feel under-powered or overpowering-if anything she feels right at home with this performance, and she should feel proud of it. The album's few distracting moments are laced within the EDM-backed rhythm sections. While 'Imaginary' and 'Your Star' probably should've been more orchestral, they contain a more modern pop-like structure that at times feel unnecessary and actually make the songs more generic. On the other hand, the two original tracks, 'Hi-Lo' and 'Imperfection', both deliver a near-perfect balance of orchestration and electronic elements that really do make them stand out among the album's questionable 62-minute runtime.
By the end of it all however, Synthesis
isn't so much of a look back into Evanescence's career, instead it feels more like a glimpse into the future. It's not perfect by any means, but if anything it should be just enough to bring the band back to life. Sure, some fans are certainly going to be divisive about the change (in fact I highly doubt they'll stick with this sound entirely), but considering how much the band has matured over the years, it shouldn't be surprising as to how much they've changed and how they will evolve in the future. Synthesis
is a gorgeous record that showcases some of Evanescence's best work in Amy Lee's own world.