Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Evanescence - The Open Door (Wind-Up)

Evanescence have never been the coolest band in the world, have they? Sure, they turned a few heads a couple of years back, but post shock tactics, they’re often dismissed as little more than a gaggle of church camp loners crafting metal-for-beginners. So, with the release of their second album, have they managed to sneak out from under this niche?

The changes musically aren’t necessarily as vast as the changes personnel-wise, although this does alter the dynamic of the band noticeably. With The Open Door we’re granted Evanescence as a band, rather than an angsty soloist fresh from Lilith Fair. The immediate impression of deep feminine vigour is proven to be little more than an aesthetic marketing implement, soon giving way to the blokey, sweaty, roadie-rock provided by Amy Lee’s counterparts. Not that she doesn’t shine throughout – there’s clearly a star of the show, but the substance is undoubtedly the result of a group effort.

The superior freshness of Bring Me To Life as a launch single led to some bemusement with breakthrough album Fallen, for the most part an anthology of ghostly refrains. The Open Door is the album that Fallen promised to be; an energetic, emotive matrimony of gothic and space-age.

The dizzying Lacrymosa and the insistent Call Me When You’re Sober are among the numbers that dictate the tone of the album. Still, it’s not without its poignant endeavours, the darkly prickly ballad Like You and the menacing tranquil of Lose Control illustrating the aggrieved tones developed on their debut. Overall, it makes for a grand array of tracks on which to emphasise the range of Lee’s voice, extending from ethereal murmurs to operatic hollers.

The Open Door isn’t just menstruarock for stroppy adolescents. It may not be the pioneering album Fallen arguably was, but it’s certainly a natural progression from the prototype. Evanescence’s biggest crime is that they’re successful. And in this album, it’s something they’ll be even guiltier of.

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