Evanescence

The Open Door

Written by: PP on 26/10/2006 15:16:44

"Bring Me To Life" was a fantastic song, even if it did borrow heavily from Lacuna Coil and Within Temptation, bands that had worked for years to reach the status Evanescence jumped into with just one single. On top of that, many songs on "Fallen" were surprisingly non-conventional for being written with the assistance of hit-writers. Therefore it was with mixed expectations that the fans and critics were awaiting for their third album "The Open Door" as it would turn out to be the make or break album for the band.

In many ways, "The Open Door" is a 'make' album for Evanescence. The band can no doubt look forward to playing arena-sized venues after "Call Me When You're Sober" reached number one on MTV's TRL earlier this year. And though "The Open Door" probably won't break the over 14 million units shifted record set by sophomore album "Fallen", it'll still easily be in the millions and make Amy Lee & co millionaires. But in just as many ways, "The Open Door" is a break album. Stylistically the band has toned down their sound significantly which can directly be heard in the much softer single. The guitars aren't heavy enough for a goth metal band anymore, and Amy's beautifully soft and silky voice that once reached the skies now barely gets up to the first clouds before it takes a U turn downward in its range. See the ultra soft "Lacrymosa" as an example where her range stays distinctly moderate, nothing in comparison to the hit "Bring Me To Life" for instance.

That isn't the only stylistic fallout, though. The heavy songs are strongly outnumbered by the ballads written with the radio in mind. The entirely conventional verse chorus verse chorus song structure is never deviated from, causing majority of the songs to suffer from the amount of predictability that demands your laughter. Indeed, half way through the album I actually laughed out loud and asked myself aloud "who buys this crap?". Mind you, there are a few decent songs on the album and at least one weirdo. "Lithium", while belonging both to the ballady and totally obvious melodies category, is irresistably catchy and Amy's ability to extend her voice for long breathless moments still astonishes from time to time. "Cloud Nine", on the other hand, is the only song the band dares to take some risks on. Remember Mel C's hard rock-ish song "Goin' Down"? Then you're more than half way there imagining how "Cloud Nine" sounds like. The guitars have been toned much lower here creating a much heavier and more credible setting for a goth 'metal' band- and Amy's verse vocals aren't as soft and silky as before, but instead more intense and aggressively scratchy much in the same way as in parts of "Bring Me To Life".

But overall, the album suffers from the common sophomore slump in mainstream bands: once you create an unbeliavably successful album your next one is a much more toned down one, often by request of your label, instantly branding the band as sell-outs in the eyes of most people. "The Open Door", without a doubt, will be seen as 'fantastic' and 'best goth metal album in 2006' by mainstream press and fans alike, but here in the independent press we like to dub it as pseudo-goth and pseudo-metal, or in other words, pseudo-talent.

4

Download: Lithium, Cloud Nine
For the fans of: Linkin Park, Avril Lavigne, 3 Doors Down, Within Temptation
Listen: Myspace

Release date 03.10.2006
Wind-Up Records

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