The Open Door



by scpttrerulz USER (14 Reviews)
September 24th, 2006 | 78 replies

Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

[Note: This review is being submitted since this album released today in Poland]

Evanescence. There’s not many people who haven’t heard of them. Hailing originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, they hit it mighty big with their debut full length album Fallen. Selling over 15 million copies worldwide, it made them into one of the biggest rock acts in the world. Lately it seems they’ve been having their share of controversy. First the departure of Ben Moody and him later confessing that he had bipolar disorder after which Terry Balsamo of Cold then stepped into his shoes. Then there was the episode where Amy Lee announced to the world that Cold had broken up upsetting Cold fans everywhere. These are knocks that rock stars all take as part of being new to the whole famous-so-watch-what-you-say thing. The thing people were looking forward to was their new album (The fact that it is one of the top ten albums being ordered on iTunes stands testimony to this). So here it is.

The line up on this album:
Amy Lee – vocals, piano
Terry Balsamo – guitars
John LeCompt – guitars
William Boyd – bass
Rocky Gray – drums

I’ve always enjoyed listening to Evanescence. It’s true that their songs have a tendency of sounding alike but it is good music and there’s no denying that Amy Lee’s got a powerful voice. So when their new album came out, I went and got it. I was a little scared at first if I had done to go out and buy it so quickly as many mainstream artists over the past couple of years have released some mediocre to bad albums as follow ups to good albums. As the first song Sweet Sacrifice started, that fear began to grow. It sounded like something out of Fallen and made me wonder if this album would become Fallen Pt.2, something the world really did not need.

But once the album actually kicked in, it kinda drew me in. It wasn’t very different, not in terms of musicianship, not in terms of songwriting, not in terms of overall production. They didn’t really do too much new on this album, but they’re doing whatever they did on the past album much better this time around which is not a bad thing. Let me explain.

I think one question most people are wondering about is the kind of effect new guitarist Terry Balsamo would have on the band. I don’t know good or bad, but the guitars don’t sound too different to what Ben would’ve probably done. Mostly chugga chugga hard rock riffage. But the guitar lines themselves are much darker than on the last album. There are a few good riffs distributed over the album and also a lead but not much else in the album ( Lose Control and Weight of the World are two of the better songs guitar wise with some good riffs and interludes). There are more effects used on the album (I’m guessing that’s a Cold thing) but more or less its there for just the same purpose as the last album: the wall of sound. The rest of the band is the same and sound pretty much the same.

At this point I would like to note that the bass and the drums are still relative letdowns on this album. I thought they were the weakest part of the last album and it doesn’t change here. The bass follows the guitars around 99% of the time and is actually distinctly audible only when the guitar doesn’t play. Also the drumming is oversimplified to very simple 4/4 beats in a lot of cases; there’s just a little bit of cool fills and exciting double bass drumming (which he does use sparingly on this album). Don’t get me wrong. The drumming is solid if a little unimpressive just like the last record but their drummer is pretty good and can do some real cool stuff. The drumming on Weight of the World is pretty much the best stuff he does on the album.

On the upside Amy Lee is singing beautifully on this album. She has now incorporated a couple of new styles of singing in the album and does the change to falsetto more often and very well; from a commanding powerful high note to a soft falsetto and still hitting the notes bang on which is not easy. Another notable style inclusion is hints of Broadway. In fact the whole album does sound like a one-man (or in this case woman) musical (Opera meets Rock meets Broadway actually) which was actually a pleasant surprise. The lyrics however, have not changed in topic that much; mostly still relationship based angst.

What has improved on the album in terms of musicianship is the background orchestrations. They’ve become more intense with more complicated and on many occasions very well composed and arranged string sections. Also the use of the operatic voice has increased and thus the influence of Wagnerian Rock shows through very strongly here, especially in songs like Lacrymosa where samples from Mozart’s Requiem have been used and probably makes for one of the best songs on the album.

Once I finished listening to the overall album a couple of things struck me in retrospect. The first thing that surprised me about the album was its consistency. There’s no song that can be labeled bad. In fact all songs go between 3.5 and 4. Only Lacrymosa and Good Enough , the last song on the album which is the softest song on the album with just the strings, piano and Amy Lee are the only ones that go to 4.5. There’s just enough variation to stop things from getting boring. And not many people have doubted their melodies.

The second thing that I liked about the album on the whole is a softness that’s been added to the songs. This is mainly due to two reasons. First, unlike the previous album there’s no demarcation between the piano ballads and the rock ballads, with a more mix and match situation, with the piano being used nearly on all songs. The second is the use of more majors and minors as opposed to pure power chords. There’s some of that technique too where you use notes from a major scale while using chords of the minor scale which suddenly seems to be a female rock/metal band fetish (seriously, like Lacuna Coil – Swamped, Wicked Wisdom – Bleed All Over Me, Arch Enemy – We Will Rise etc.) but here it gives it the album a whole happy sad mood (the best example for this is the last song Good Enough).

The techno influences on this album are closer to their Origin days, which is pretty cool. Some really nice samples have been used throughout the album and sampled beats are still used during the verses of quite a few songs.

On the whole, Evanescence’s new release is a more than a worthwhile listen. The album is more brooding, though slightly less dark, overall, than their previous offering. Despite the lack of growth of musicianship individually, on the whole the band has managed to come out with an album that’s strong, fun to listen to, usually touching and even though doesn’t really offer too much new, does whatever they tried to do in Fallen much better. Amy Lee was quoted saying that she felt very free as a writer with Terry around and it shows on the album. For their next album, however, I wish they explore a little more of their progressive influences, as they’re capable of pulling it off IMO.

My Rating: 3.75/5 (Note: this is only after the initial couple of listens…. And it might actually grow on me with time. I think this is that kind of album)

Recommended Tracks:
Good Enough
Weight of the World

All the other tracks are on the same level of good.
Maybe the distorted voice intro to Cloud Nine makes it the worst track on the album

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user ratings (842)
other reviews of this album
Altmer (2)
The tunes are limp....

CCSara12 (4.5)
Many people were in awe with Evanescence made The Open Door....

linkjerk (4)
“It takes less time to do a thing right than to explain why you did it wrong.” - Henry Longfel...

Comments:Add a Comment 
September 24th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Please feel free to comment....

Also can someone plzz tell me how to format the text (bold, italics etc)... I did all that in Word but I guess all that's lost... I'll then format this thing a little bit and make it more presentable...

thanks.... cheers!

September 24th 2006


is it better than their last album, and to bold you do this

(B)(/B), except ('s are ['s (the ones underneath)
italics you use (I) and underline (u)This Message Edited On 09.24.06

September 24th 2006


this review is good

September 24th 2006


I like their first album.

September 24th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

thanks acey ... yes .. this is much better than their last album

September 24th 2006


no problem, i might check this out, considering i liked thier last one.

September 24th 2006


Aw, damn, I wanted to get this album as soon as I could, and be the first to review it. I knew that was too good of an idea to be true. Likely, I'll get this, and review it, anyway. Well-written review, btw. I pretty much forgot about Evanescence for the past few months(maybe even a year...), but I've overlistened some of my other stuff, and this seems like a good thing to get back into, since I really enjoyed Fallen.This Message Edited On 09.24.06

Staff Reviewer
September 24th 2006


Yeah, Cold had a lot of effects in their guitars, especially Terry. And yeah, that's the only thing I care about in regards to this album, was to see how different the guitar parts are compared to what Moody would have done. Cool review, too.

September 24th 2006


Is that the same Paul McCoy that sang/sings in 12 stones? I don't even know if they're together anymore.

September 24th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

sorry ... some misinformation there... was an unintentional mistake... thanx for calling it to my attention Cush ... changed it...

THough they do have a new bassist now

thnx JOm ... i know ... even I was kinda intrigued by what he'd do ... the result isn't bad at all.

September 25th 2006


This is an alright album. Evanescence for you.

They havent really changed much since their debut. But this is still an enjoyable album once in a while. I really like the emotional parts.

Good review, btw.

September 25th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

I like the chunky riffs on Cloud Nine. Lithium is also very impressive vocally. Excellent album and good review, btw.

September 25th 2006


My Mom bought the first one, and when I listened to it I enjoyed it for a little bit. I don't know if I'll pick this up though. Good review too.

September 25th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

I enjoyed this album a lot. I hate all the crap Evanescence takes. They are a very talented band, well Amy Lee is very talented at least and the backing band behind her doesn't sound horrible, even if it is simplistic. Its not there to blow you away with the musicianship it is there, like you said, to add to the wall of sound behind her. I actually kind of like this more than Fallen...

I like the dark vibe.

September 25th 2006


Huh...I should pick this up. The first album was decent enough...nothing special, but it had its moments. Good review too.

September 25th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

I want this.

September 25th 2006


Great review, can't wait to pick this album up.

September 25th 2006


Fallen was decent, it's probably not worth getting this if it's pretty much just more of the same.

September 25th 2006


@Luc214: If a good deal of the songs on this album are just as good as (if not better than) Call Me When You're Sober, it'll be worth it.

But you're right about the Fallen thing, only the first 4-5 songs were great.

September 25th 2006


I guess I'm in the minority here, since I couldn't stand Fallen. Well, at least it makes it easy to say I don't need to get this one!

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