When co-founder Ben Moody departed the Evanescence team in late 2004, questions were asked as to whether goth-lite princess Amy Lee could steady the ship alone. After all, Moody was the genius behind 2003-4 über-hits Bring Me To Life and My Immortal (musically, that is). The intrigue was bolstered by Lee’s talk pre-release that this was the album “I’d wanted to make all along,” and how it was on a level more personal to herself, free of Moody’s constraints. Nonetheless, questions were asked, and with the release of the bands 2006 sophomore album, The Open Door, the baying public finally have some answers…
The Open Door is indeed a more personal record for Ms Lee, but not how it’d surely been intended. Lead single Call Me When You’re Sober – a kiss-off to ex-boyfriend (and Seether vocalist) Shaun Morgan – is as pretentious as anything Fallen had seen three years prior. Self indulgent to almost breaking point, the clichéd as hell lyrics and overly generic backing make for a shockingly horrid song, and one that serves as first indicator as to just how much the band miss Moody. Opener Sweet Sacrifice serves no better; a turgid attempt to recapture past glories, the heard-before riffs and shockingly average vocals act as a slap from the proverbial wet fish. Yack.
The band ape their best chugga chugga riffs time and time again throughout the album’s 13 tracks, and where Lee’s vocals were once there to save them from obscurity, it’s just not happening this time over. Weight Of The World is your everyday rocker that’s been done to death. Pleasant to listen to once or twice, it’s the type of ham-fisted rubbish the band had desperately tried to avoid last time out. Lithium (unfortunately not connected to the once great Nirvana track) and Cloud 9 serve up added doses of trite, melodramatic rubbish, and with the former falling woefully short of (what looks like an attempt to re-do) 2003’s My Immortal, it shows just how far Evanescence have fallen (ha, see what I did there?) considerably since Moody’s departure.
There is the odd saving grace however. Like You sees Lee trouble herself over the passing of her younger sister; lyrically moving, it’s one of the few times the band recapture their old charm. Its soaring melody plays off; Lee’s best vocal performance to give the discs undoubted highlight. Melodramatic? Maybe. Decent? Oh yes.
The Only One and Your Star unfortunately bring the disc back to earth with a bump. The former’s building piano intro wishes it could have been onFallen, whilst the latter couples (another) piano intro with Lee’s off-canter vocals before building into yet another overly-generic rock-out. Ms Lee attempts to sound angry on the clichéd All That I’m Living For, but the expected power chords curtail the track before it gets off the ground.
Seeing Amy Lee’s lyrics go as drastically down the pan as this resembles watching a bad car crash. It’s nigh on inconceivable that the angelic-vocaled woman that once wrote the moving/emotive/whatever MyImmortal could churn out such dross as Call Me When You’re Sober. Musically it’s power chords and big riffs-ahoy, generic, mundane, boring stuff. The Open Door is an exercise in how not to make a sophomore album (or any album for that matter) and it’s a shame, for these guys were once a great, great band.