Updated: Mar 28
Evanescence power their way through first album in a decade
Evanescence became a household name with their 2003 debut 'Fallen'. Their gloriously dark melodies dripped with introspection, pain, emotion and were all topped off with one of the best female rock vocals of all time.
With every release that followed, they gradually faded from the public consciousness, just as their name suggested. For alt-rock fans, their music may have slipped out of the poppy, commercial limelight, but it never really went away.
Along with the distinctive crunching guitars and machine-gun drums, it was always Amy Lee's haunting siren song that was the beating heart of the band. Now as the only original member, the band has largely steered clear of the treadmill of the music biz and were intent on doing things their way. 'The Bitter Truth' may be the band's first album of new material in a decade, but it makes for a very relevant and striking return.
As the title and artwork suggest, "the truth" is a bitter pill that some may want to twist, some may not want to swallow and some may want to "drown in an ocean of lies". In a world of fake news and personal truths, this is an album that aims to separate the two, whether they be internal or external. It's a call to take charge of emotions and confront realities. At times it's forceful, at others deeply cathartic, but running through its veins in Lee's soaring emotional vocal.
'Broken Pieces Shine' and the 'Game is Over' represent a classic sound while 'Yeah Right' swaps their usual industrial tones for a Muse style electronic beat. It's slightly unexpected since 2017's 'Synthesis' album hinted that the band may follow a more symphonic sound, but typically the band are forging their own path once more.
On 'Far From Heaven' Lee gives us an insight into her grief and crisis with faith following the death of her brother. It's a Cri de Coeur that feels uncomfortably intrusive but encapsulates the trust that Lee has conferred on her fans for the last two decades.
The album may be filled with soul-bearing Evanasence tropes, but this time it's also politically charged with metal protests songs. 'Use Your voice' is an empowering track that advocates change in our attitudes and society. It's also a deeply personal one for Lee who, despite her puissant and distinctive voice, has had her own battles with sexism and been silenced throughout her career. 'Blind Belief' is another song that deals with the attitudes of the past and attempting to make the future a better place. While the subtle lyrics indicate the song was inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests, the track also has an empathic resonance to other calls for change and captures the zeitgeist.
The album reflects the journey for the fans and the band alike. Those angsty, tweeny goths that were following the band nearly twenty years ago have stopped shoe-gazing and become politically, socially and emotionally conscious. No longer concerned with cyberpunk fantasies and luxuriating in melancholia, the outcasts are now united in embracing their own personal truths, however painful, and wearing their scars with pride.
Verity may be a rare thing in this day and age and the album acts as a soundtrack to the complex world we find ourselves in. The truth may be bitter, but like much of the band's work, it's also laced with hope, even in the darkest moments. The album's ultimate message this time rings out loud and clear: "above all, to thine own self be true".