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Evanescence - The Open Door

Published Oct. 18 2006

=Staff's pick

Sweet Sacrifice*
Call Me When You're Sober
Weight Of The World
Cloud Nine*
Snow White Queen
Like You
Lose Control
The Only One
Your Star
All That I'm Living For
Good Enough

Genre Gothic Rock
Amy Lee
Tracks 13
Terry Balsamo
Runningtime 54 Min.
John LeCompt
Label Wind-Up Records
Will Boyd
Release 03 Oct. 2006
Rocky Gray
Country USA
Amy Lee
Similar artists Lacuna Coil

I absolutely loved Evanescence's breakthrough-album Fallen upon its release in 2003, and apparently I wasn't the only one. The record went on to sell unbelievable 14 million copies worldwide, which means six-time platinum. Then a long wait for a follow-up ensued, as vocalist/songwriter Amy Lee struggled on her own after co-songwriter Ben Moody decided to leave the band in the middle of a tour in the fall of 2003.

In the music business, three years feels like an eternity, and that's how long the wait for The Open Door has been. And when the first single Call Me When You're Sober finally surfaced, it turned out to be a slight disappointment. The track only seemed to be a personal showcase for Amy Lee's stunning voice, and you had to scratch hard to find a proper song under there. The song did have some nice guitar-hooks, but still: three years of wait, and this was it? Plus, when miss Lee claimed that the crappy vampire-movie "Van Helsing" was a source of inspiration for the album I had to lower my expectations even more.

After listening to The Open Door, there is little doubt that the true hit-maker of the band left after Fallen, which means that there are no commercial chart-toppers like Going Under or Bring Me To Life here. Ben Moody has used his talent to write songs for pop artists like Avril Lavigne and Kelly Clarkson, and proved to be good at it. Amy Lee, on the other hand, seem eager to take Evanescence as far from the airplay-friendly sound of Fallen as possible on The Open Door. This is a decision that I totally approve of.

The opener Sweet Sacrifice is proof enough that the collaboration between Amy Lee and Terry Balsamo (former guitarist in Cold, who stepped in when Moody departed) has been fruitful. Together they are responsible for nine out of the thirteen tracks, many of which are among the best of the album. While few of the tracks are flirting with commercial radio stations (exceptions being Weight Of The World and the excellent Cloud Nine) Balsamo seem to have lured out other qualities in Lee's song writing. Lithium, in particular, is an impressive effort that comes straight from Lee's pen, or rather her piano keys.

The pinnacle of the album is hands down Lacrymosa, which is based upon the violin motif in Mozart's similarly titled Lacrimosa, from his arguably most famous composition Requiem. Evanescence builds on from there with majestic choirs, soaring vocals and blasting guitars. Unfortunately there are one or two tracks on the second half of the album that drags a bit and perhaps should have been kicked out the door. One might also think that it's impossible to get fed up with Amy Lee's ethereal voice, but at 54 minutes it becomes slightly straining.

The unknown debut Origin is still number one in my book, but The Open Door is still a brave effort from Evanescence and a step in the right direction. While not necessarily being the superior album, The Open Door is a much darker, grittier and more personal journey than Fallen ever was.






7 chalices of 10 - Niklas

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