First Listen – Evanescence, ‘Evanescence’

It’s been eight whole years since Evanescence shot to the top of the UK singles chart with their debut cut ‘Bring Me To Life’ and five years since they last released a studio album. Given the pseudo nu metal tendencies of that debut smash, the operatic leanings of singer Amy Lee’s voice and their brief dabble in the bonkers, yet extremely profitable world of Christian rock, they’ve been billed as proponents of just about every genre over the years.

Now back with their self-titled third record, in spite of the fact that pretty much the band’s whole line-up, bar Lee, has been dispensed with and replaced over the years, it’s pretty much business as you were, musically speaking.

‘What You Want’
You’ll have heard this one. A big thumping drumbeat and driving guitar riff kick things off, before giving way to a stomping chorus written with NFL stadiums in mind. They’re back alright.

‘Made Of Stone’
Probably the heaviest track on the record, with a riff that could have been taken straight from ‘Ride The Lightning’. It features Amy Lee being confrontational on a former flame and being ‘all out of love’. This is the Arkansas rockers at their spikiest.

‘The Change’
Built around a grinding riff, a super operatic vocal line from Amy Lee and a ridiculously catchy chorus, this is one of the album’s poppier moments.

‘My Heart Is Broken’
This one sounds quite a lot like a Disney ballad, beginning with Amy Lee cooing “I will wander until the end of time” over a piano line straight off Powers Ballad Vol.12. It gets heavier at the end though, don’t worry.

‘The Other Side’
Kicking off with a sludgy, almost Meshuggah esque riff, this is one of the record’s gloomiest moments, with Lee seeming to reach out to someone beyond the grave in the chorus.

‘Erase This’
Things get really intense here, with a swirling set of strings and Lee singing about being caught in a flood. It gets very metal in the outro too, with a riff that Kerry King would be proud of thundering over the last 30 seconds.

‘Lost In Paradise’
Another piano ballad, but more much stripped back than ‘My Heart Is Broken’. Quite reminiscent of ‘My Immortal’ from the band’s debut ‘Fallen’ before it was re-recorded with that massive guitar breakdown.

After the ballad comes the backlash, with Lee spitting persistently snarling “I’m sick of it all” over a Soundgarden inspired guitar wall.

‘End Of The Dream’
Another heavy one, which is built around a muscular riff, a menancing low slung bassline and a big soaring chorus. No quiet fade out yet.

The record’s most brooding moment, with Lee gently singing over a latter day Nine Inch Nails style synth. A big ass riff kicks in when the chorus comes around though.

‘Never Go Back’
Now we’re back to heavy again and a major upping of the tempo. A blistering track, that sounds like something Iron Maiden might have recorded if Bruce Dickinson called in sick and they drafted in Sarah Cracknell for the day.

‘Swimming Home’
The album’s swansong is a slow fade out, with Lee’s vocals draped over a minimal backdrop of electronica. She spends the whole song apologizing too, which seems like a bizarre way to send off an album.

It’s pretty good and surprisingly heavy. The riffs rock pretty hard and Amy Lee has kept her tendency toward big ballads down to two. It won’t win anybody over who wasn’t keen on the band’s early stuff. But it’ll certainly satisfy rabid fanbase who’ve had to make do with Nightwish for the last five years.