sat 18/11/2017

CD: Evanescence - Synthesis | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Evanescence - Synthesis

CD: Evanescence - Synthesis

Heinous orchestral M.O.R. goth-pop bombast

Floaty, floaty

Evanescence have been away for a while, and fans looking for a whole album of new material will be disappointed. There are only two proper new songs on Synthesis (plus a couple of instrumental interludes). Instead, it’s an album of operatically-inclined orchestral interpretations of music from the band’s previous three albums, tinted with a light touch of Gary Numan-esque gothic electronica. If you like the idea of Finnish symphonic metallers Nightwish having it out with Canadian mezzo-soprano balladeer Sarah McLachlan, then, hey, Synthesis is for you. Everyone else should stay well away.

Evanescence has long been the vehicle for lead singer Amy Lee, but she’s been off doing solo stuff, TV and film soundtracks, etc, since the band’s last tour finished five years ago. She does not, after all, need to work if she doesn’t want to. Evanescence’s 2003 debut sold enough to provide for her over the course of four or five lifetimes (or more!). So Synthesis is a labour of love, it’s Lee finally embracing her middle-of-the-road aspirations, assisted by Hollywood composer/arranger David Campbell. The tone has more in common with Celine Dion than her stated heroes such as Björk and the like. It’s the bombast of Sarah Brightman attached to the template of goth-pop hits such as Evanescence's globe-dominating chart-topper “Bring Me to Life”.

There’s something stentorian about it, headache-inducing, and not in that good ol’ heavy metal way, just in the sense that it’s teeth-jarringly histrionic. Take “The End of the Dream”, originally on their last eponymous album: it starts out moody and intriguing, Lee’s plaintive vocal emoting over a grumbling electronic tone and some bells but, about two minutes in it explodes into a dirge that then, in turn, blows up into truly preposterous Wagnerian pomp. Of the new tracks “Hi-Lo” and “Imperfection”, the former is forgettable but the latter has a certain gothic electro-pop bounce before it goes completely OTT like all the rest.

There’s a market for this kind of music, a big one, which is great news for Evanescence, but not for music lovers the world over.

Overleaf: watch the video for "Imperfection" by Evanescence

There’s something stentorian about it, headache-inducing, and not in that good ol’ heavy metal way, just in the sense that it’s teeth-jarringly histrionic

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