Album Review: EVANESCENCE - The Bitter Truth

Artist: Evanescence

Album: The Bitter Truth

Genre: Hard Rock

Review by Darren Hurford

It’s hard to believe that Evanescence’s first album ‘Fallen’ was from 2003 (that’s a whole 18 years ago) and the band is still going. With their fair share of line-up changes over the years, 2021 brings a new album from Evanescence that on the whole sounds like an experienced and matured band that still retains the essence of what made them a hit all those years ago. ‘The Bitter Truth’ is the band’s fifth studio album and has all the things you might expect from Evanescence with the operatic vocals, piano interludes, catchy guitar hooks and slick drums. However, this album brings with it a certain heaviness that we haven’t seen before, making it feel more like a collaborative effort as opposed to an Amy Lee project.

Given it’s been 10 years since a proper full album from the band (2016’s ‘Lost Whispers’ a primarily B-sides album and 2017’s ‘Synthesis’ being all about “orchestra and electronica”), the opening track 'Artifact The Turn' serves as a gentle introduction to invite you back into the world of Evanescence. The band have most definitely embraced the electronic element and expertly interwoven it into the piano, vocals and synths that make up this track, feeling like a ray of sunshine about to break into a new day by the end.

Enter the second song, 'Broken Pieces Shine'. Ok, now we’re back in familiar territory! Heavy low-end drums, thumping bass and even what sounds like a church bell (which could be a piano note with a whole lot of reverb). We’re quickly reminded that Amy Lee still has arguably some of the best vocal chops in the genre and those come out in full force by the time the chorus bursts in. This is a similar feeling to the next track, 'Game Over', with the music having an impending sense of evil lurking under the surface, whilst simultaneously inspiring hope.

'Yeah Right' is a new sound for the band, the heavily synthasised circus-like bass line and playful lyrics reminiscent of something straight out of a Muse song. 'Feeding The Dark' and 'Blind Belief' sound like a throwback to the ‘Fallen’ era with the jagged guitars and haunting harmonies a feature throughout, as well as signature piano tinkering amidst the breakdown. Evanescence confidently explore the full range of their genre, showcasing songs like ‘Wasted On you’ which is a rock lullaby that could easily replace ‘Anyone Who Knows What Love Is’, the recurring theme song of Black Mirror, and ‘Use My Voice’ sounding like a stadium rock anthem.

The album is definitely a ballsier, heavier sounding effort than anything previous, in part due to production, part to a consistent line-up of musicians collaboratively writing the songs and understanding the band’s intentions. However, this album does beg the question: Are a hard rock band with borderline operatic vocals that had their breakout in the early 2000’s still relevant today? One could argue yes, as this album demonstrates not only an evolution of their sound but an ability to still grab and hold the listener’s attention whilst delivering some solid hard rock.

Best Part: Hearing this music and reminiscing about my teenage years.

Worst Part: Reminiscing about my teenage years.

The Bitter Truth, will be released on March 26, 2021 via Sony Music Australia.

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