Evanescence - The Open Door

2006-10-22 15:31
The Evanescence project represents a lot of bad things about modern rock music. For one, it’s obsessed with engaging a fashionable teenage audience above all else; for two, it clearly demonstrates the “throw money at it and something will stick” attitude of corporate business; and for three, it has succeeded in fooling its entire fanbase into thinking that it is something spectacularly alternative to mainstream.

For those who still cling to the delusion that Evanescence is a Goth band, you’ll be happy to know that The Open Door delivers more of the same stuff that sold you on Fallen (2003) – heavy makeup, much wailing and gnashing, and… more wailing and gnashing.

But these things alone painteth not a Gothic portrait. If that were the case, the Democratic Alliance would be addressing Parliament in heavy eyeliner and PVC corsets. No, what Evanescence actually puts forth is a teenage poetry reading, complete with evil butterflies in the corners of the pages. Seriously, the inner sleeve design has a dark blue moth on it. I kid you not.

And taken cynically, it actually works. In one passage, Lee declares: “If you loved me / you would be here with me”. In the next song she sings: “If you love me, then let go of me.” Radiant stuff if it’s intended to speak to confused tenth-graders under pressure to have sex for the first time.

You could argue, I suppose, that the poeticism is wonderfully self-referential. And what an entire album of these lyrics would then imply about Amy Lee’s private life is frightening, so it's probably better to leave that probability to wallow in its own mire.

Musically, the band does a bit better. There’s competent performance and a fair share of arrangement flair (the choir works well when employed to effect). But it’s awfully conceited of the industry to pass this off as “alternative”, and offensive for mainstream media to swallow it.

And with due respect to Amy Lee as an artist – she can hold a tune somewhat – a lot of what she gets to do feels very one-dimensional. There’s a particular vocal harmonic interval used over and over again, a similarly grungy guitar bottom line used over and over again, and string arrangements to add a big, dramatic sweep to proceedings used over and over again. Like we said: more of the same.

To this album’s credit, there are a few moments of levity this time – we hope they’re intentional. “Call Me When You’re Sober” is a title that offers promise, and could really have added something spectacular if it had been executed as a faux Country and Western kick. Sadly, the fun is over as soon as the rest of the lyric starts, degenerating into just another big dark rock behemoth spawned from the illicit union of MTV and Sprite Lite.

- Anton Marshall
With all the changes going on in Amy Lee’s life, you’d think that the new Evanescence album had something different to offer. Sadly not.

What to read next: Kalahari

Roo! 2006/10/23 6:53 AM
Blah, blah, fish paste It appears to me that another abbreviation has been rewritten. First we had “R 'n B” (Rhythm and Blues) which today is more like “Ruthless and Boring” (This use to be the realm of greats like BB King and Gary Moore). Then we had “R 'n R” (Rock and Roll) which now seems to mean “Ruined and Repetitive”!!!
Andriette 2006/10/23 7:18 AM
The Open Door Rocks I totally disagree with the rubbish review of this CD. It is just as great as Fallen and offers a much darker side of Evanescence as seen in their earlier work. I love the sounds of the guitar's and Amy's haunting voice.
Didi 2006/10/23 7:38 AM
Evanesance ROCKS the GoTh way! Well, I guess goth rock doesnt suit everybody! You cant compare bands because they each have their own sentimental deep meanings. All are unique...The open door is just an expression of Amy lee's fantasy! She put her all into this one and I love it.
storm benjamin 2006/10/23 10:11 AM
what on earth are you talking about?????? this article seems to be based purely on opinion. granted you are entitled to your but dont make assumtions based on what you have heard or seen. yes, there will always be people that dont like this type of music, but i can honestly say that it is an enormous irritation to here that someone would write an article so harsh and,in MY OPINION, have no clue what they are talking about. one would argue that a band like AC/DC is one of the most brilliant bands to have hit the planet, yet its a fact that a well known sadistic mass-murderer listened to them whilst killing his victims. different people take different music in different ways. Just DO NOT try tell me that you think you know how every grade 10 pupil perceives amy lee's music. its generalizing and stereotyping and most of all one big load of bible-hugging, closed minded bull!!!!!! next time you write an article about our teen-age minds and how the music WE like is(BY BIAS OPINION) bad.... remember you are always offending someone,
Greg Reading 2006/10/23 10:26 AM
Evanescence- The Open Door The first time I listened to this cd the start was great, the middle was ok, and by the end I had had enough. However after a few days I gave it another listen and now the album is growing on me in a big way. I think its that type of production. Once its grown on you you will love it. its probably better than previous albums
Frans 2006/10/23 11:20 AM
Evanescence An album called Evanescence was brought out by Maria Schneider in 1992. Just Google "evanescence" for details
Adrian 2006/10/23 11:45 AM
Evanesance has a unique sound. Obviously the person who wrote this review is not much of a music fan and only knows how to be very unjustly critical. I think you should broaden your music base a little. Evanesance might not be very Goth to you, but I'll accept that. They have become mainstream, but there sound is unique and its not something your going to find anywhere else. They will always have there loyal fans of which I am. There sound has grown over the years. I own a cd that they release before fallen and from that cd through fallen to now you can see how there music has progressed and improved lyrically and musically. You are in titled to you review and opinion, but just remember just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean that everyone else will agree with you.
Cow 2006/10/23 11:49 AM
Storm Benjamin... Not sure what the AC/DC stuff has to do with this, but at the risk of defending the reviewer, he never said that all the music you listen to is bad. Just Evanescence. And he's probably right. And DIDI. Sure, it's goth. If by Goth you mean " the illicit union of MTV and Sprite Lite". Great quote.
Frost 2006/10/23 12:06 PM
Intelligence is a dying art Of all the reviews out there on this album, Anotn Marshall has hit a home run. It turns out that sense and sensibility are not a mismatch when it comes to being objective about the album. While I am a huge Evanescence fan, turth be told, the album does lack a breath of fresh air. Not that we want to see something different, just better. Anton did tactfully give due credit, but come on.......the album does not measure up to the 2003 surge!
darkangelBDF 2006/10/23 12:48 PM
Worth the wait I had to really take some time and breathe before replying. I am an avid Evanescence fan and was becoming just a little bit frustrated with having to wait so long for their second album. The wait was well-worth it. From the reviewer's "review" it is obvious he has no concept of what kind of people really listen to this kind of music. Sure, one song says one thing, and the next song says something different. Have you ANY idea what goes on inside the minds of so many human beings? My moods change on a daily (and sometimes hourly) basis. My writing differs from day to day. I write what I feel at that very moment, and tomorrow I might write the total opposite. This is the case with Amy Lee. She writes what she feels at particular moments... There was also a comment about she can hold a note SOMEWHAT? Okay, I do not understand what he meant by that. Amy Lee's voice is unique, haunting and unlike any other. She can more than hold a note, that much is for sure. All in all,
Mariska 2006/10/23 1:42 PM
So little time... I guess there MUST be a reason why the Music stores are ALWAYS sold out and the songs still on the Top rating on radio stations... geez, I 'wonder' why ...
am 2006/10/23 2:10 PM
Mariska... Adrian: No motivated criticism is unjust. As for being entitled to an opinion, well, yes... I am. And at no point is there a requirement posted on this website that says you have to agree with me. But arguing that my (or any other reviewer's) critiquw is unjustified because you (falsely) believe my music "base" is inadequate is problematic. You can't diagree with an opinion you feel is invalid. Mariska: I hope you're not suggesting that it must be good because it sells a lot and is in high rotation on commercial radio? I mean... That would make Crazy Frog and Cheeky Girls the most important music of the 21st Century so far.
J 2006/10/23 2:31 PM
Mmmm. Franlky I think everyone is entitled to an opinion, I just wish reviewers would listen like the listeners for whom the album was meant. Goths etc, would most likely like the music, while a metal or trance listener would not like the type of music. People are not stupid. They know what type of music they like, and they know which bands produce that music. Pesonally I like the new album.
Josef K. 2006/10/23 2:33 PM
There is no defence for mediocrity I applaud Anton Marshall for his excellent review. Rather than worthless praise for recuperated mainstream trash, he pierces the ignorance of the indignant and gullible losers who listen to this album. Sadly to all Evanescence fans who consider themselves alternative, or Gothic, or feel the music communicates on a level beyond bubble-gum pop ("It really mimics the despair and isolation of what it means to be a Goth" quoth one misguided sheep), you have merely allowed the commercial machine to lower your standards such that can't recognize an aesthetic con-job. There is nothing intelligent about the music of Evanscence; The only problem that exists here, is antithetical normals, who fail to realize that the same commerical values are hidden alongside that dark blue moth- The normals who fail to realize that their 'alternative' obsession with Evanescence is nothing more than ironic conformity. This album is utterly worthless. The truly great Gothic bands died out with the 80s. I'd apprec
Drew 2006/10/23 2:59 PM
Whats up with the reviewer! I agree with the fact that everyone is entitled to there own opinion and thats great to have one but J has hit the nail on the head, listen to it the way we would listen. To be quite honest if i were reviewing a new album from 50 cent i would feel sick at the thought of just touching the album cover. Now you have to ask yourself, what kind of taste does the reviewer hold to, classical, opra... etc. Give the new rock albums to a rocker to crit and give a classical album to a classicist. This is the kind of album that grows on you. I, like all Evanescence fans, waited patiently for the release of this ablum and what a beaut. keep listening to it reviewer and then we'll chat.
am 2006/10/23 3:26 PM
drew "Give the new rock albums to a rocker to crit"? And if that rocker (assuming that it isn't me because according to your criticism I can't be a "rocker" and not like Evanescence) writes that the album is the best thing since sliced cheese, would that "crit" would be more valid than one that said it represented a lot of bad things about modern rock music?
Jaco 2006/10/23 3:38 PM
Rock music Why is it that rock music is always demoralised and get a bad name? But like Mariska said, most of these albums are sold everywhere in this country but still we don't have proper market for any rock music. Most of my rock/metal CD's and DVD's have been imported. If any album are reviewed that's metal or just rock, the album immediatly gets demoted. So, speaking about unjust morals.......
Leo 2006/10/23 4:46 PM
Evanescence - your new album rocks! To the writer of the above review - Mr. Marshall - we are all entitled to our own opinions, but I believe the Open Door works very well. It's certainly not Goth, as you rightly point out, but who said it had to be? It's a beautifully put-together album and I'm glad Evanescence took their time with this second one, and didn't rush with it after the huge success of their first one. I own both albums, plus the live album and enjoy them all thoroughly.
3`s 2006/10/23 6:36 PM
Thanks Anton I agree with Joseph an Anton, Goth music is becoming a joke, any idiot can humn a sad melody to a unimaginative chord progression! Cmon Evenescence! give us something new! I dont however agree that all the truly great goth bands died in the 80`s, what about bands like Nightwish or Lacuna Coil, or even Dragonforce for that matter!
Kim 2006/10/23 7:01 PM
What junk Evanecense is at their peak after a long time, and this album is a brilliant comeback! Of course they will never be a gothic band as such but they definatley qualify as an alternate rock band. I think this reviewer is wrong in most of his views and is a bit biased to a point. But all in all Evanecense should be complimented on this enticing album with emotion too deep for this reviewer to see the bottom!
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