Evanescence – ‘The Bitter Truth’

By Louis Kerry

Not many bands in rock have penned a career that inspired a generation while changing the musical landscape around them quite like Evanescence. From their multi million selling debut album, to bringing symphonic rock/metal to the mainstream, songstress Amy Lee has flown the alternative flag in front of everyone’s eyes and now, after almost ten years without hardly any new music, her and the band she leads, return with a bold fourth full length album, ‘The Bitter Truth.’

Back with heavyweight producer Nick Raskulinecz (Stone Sour, Foo Fighters, Code Orange) after such a long gap since their last big release, what does Evanescence have left to offer almost two decades since ‘Bring Me To Life’ drove them to superstardom? The Bitter Truth is not about the evolution of the band itself but more the growth of Amy Lee’s character and her outlook on the world. It’s a little political, with dashes of new musical influences and some joyous feelings of nostalgia thrown in. Even if the album doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it comes with a defined purpose alongside one of the most iconic voices in rock that fans have been longing to hear again.

From the slow burn intros on opener ‘Artifact/The Turn’ alongside the added electronic elements (something they have been experimenting with since 2017’s Synthesis that reworked classic tracks), there’s plenty of new territory that the band sound confident enough to explore deeper than before, but it’s Lee’s haunting melodies that as always steal the show.

Amy Lee’s one of a kind voice leads the album effortlessly, giving it the atmospheric force that she has become synonymous with. When she sings the way she does, with lyrics that are so crushingly personal, it drives her feelings of anger, hurt and defiance straight through your ears and into your gut. Despite laying herself bare, the lyrics at times lack depth but when sung with the tenacity only she can do, the pain can be felt.

‘Feeding the Dark’ is arguably the most classic sounding Evanescence song on the album featuring the combination of big riffs, incredible vocals that send a shiver all the way down to your tailbone and some of the darkest lyrics. Elsewhere, latest single ‘Yeah Right’ is a weird sarcastic soft rock thriller that takes shots at the industry that almost chewed up and spat out the band’s career remorselessly. It has  an unusual bounce to it in direct contrast to the pissed off tone of the song and is a little out of the box, but carries an attitude they’ve rightfully earned.

Political thriller ‘Use My Voice’ features moments of metal and ‘whoas’ to end all whoas. The anthemic chorus that everyone should get behind reminds you that Amy hasn’t forgotten how to pen a singalong as “Drown every truth in an ocean of lies” is spat with an articulated venom that only she could conjure.

Elsewhere, the overproduced ‘Wasted On You’ could have been the next ‘My Immortal’ if it was just Amy behind a piano but it suffers from a barrage of different ideas that don’t work all that cohesively. Luckily, ‘Far From Heaven’ is the ‘Fallen’ moment of the album. Stripped bare with just keys, some well placed strings and that emotionally honest voice, this is the standout moment of ‘The Bitter Truth’.

Evanescence still launch their aggressive side on tracks like ‘Part of Me’ which features epic drum fills, while Tim McCord’s heavy bass leads drive each song, matching the power of Lee’s pipes as she shines through.

‘Blind Belief’ ends the album with a statement that they are still at the top of their game. Hitting big notes with some of the biggest riffs behind her. The high end production might not be for everyone but whether it’s the gut busting solos from Troy McLawhorn or the skyscraper sized vocals, ‘The Bitter Truth’ proves that the iconic band still has plenty to offer. A role model to the next generation of rock singers, Amy Lee continues to be a true rockstar in the purest sense of the word and as she says in her own words “I never lost my crown.”

Louis Kerry

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