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  • Writer's pictureConny Chavez

Album Review: Evanescence – The Bitter Truth

A broken record

The infamous gothic rock band Evanescence is back with their fifth studio album, The Bitter Truth. The 12-track album is a guitar-driven record with featured touches of electronica and pop. The Bitter Truth is like no other Evanescence album—it definitely has a wider range of genres than usual, but it also touches on social issues. It’s a welcome venture outside of the band’s usual deeply emotional lyrics. Amy Lee is still flaunting her unbelievable vocal ability, as always. With The Bitter Truth, Evanescence has gifted fans a glimpse of the past, while also welcoming a new audience through entirely unexpected material.

It’s worth noting that despite the fact that every Evanescence album has had a different lineup, The Bitter Truth features tracks that might sound familiar to many fans; it employs the musical services of vocalist and pianist Amy Lee, guitarists Jen Majura and Troy McLawhorn, bassist Tim McCord and drummer Will Hunt.

The album begins with a two-part opener. The soft melodies of “Artifact/ The Turn” build up alongside some electronic sounds, then transition directly into “Broken Pieces Shine,” which quickly evolves into a rock song with heavy guitars and bashing drums. The two-part introduction is quite theatrical, and the smooth transitions successfully make the tracks a continuously rewarding experience.

The most outstanding track is the politically focused song, “Use My Voice.” Though it was inspired by the testimony of Chanel Miller, a survivor of sexual assault, the track was used for a HeadCount campaign to encourage Americans to vote in the U.S. presidential election. The track has a pop feel to it, yet still manages to earnestly touch on important social issues, such as using the ability to change things with one’s individual voice.

“Better Without You” begins with the sound of someone winding up a music box, followed by a lullaby playing for a split second before the device breaks, and the track transitions into heavy guitars and bashing drums—if only the transition was a bit smoother, allowing the lullaby to play out for a few seconds longer. In its current form, the intro just feels a bit cramped and ineffectual. Accompanied by the heavy staccato beat, Lee narrates her struggles in the music industry with a heavy helping of sarcasm: “Don’t get caught up in pretend cause you’re not in control/ Cause this is my world, little girl you’d be lost on your own,” she sings.

The orchestral track “Far From Heaven” sounds heavily influenced by Evanescence’s previous album Synthesis, a project on which the group reworked previous releases, often with the addition of ornate orchestral arrangements.

It’s nice to see that rock bands from the 2000s are making a comeback. However, Evanescence seems to be just stuck in the 2000s. Though The Bitter Truth is a respectable attempt to branch out to new sounds and musical experiences, only a few songs actually stand out in this slog of blurred sounds. Regardless, Evanescence is still in top form lyrically, giving the album an ever-important emotional kick. The roughness around the edges is just part of the ride on The Bitter Truth.

(Originally published in MXDWN.)

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