Label: Sony Music VÖ: March 26, 2021
The Bitter Truth is the first official Evanescence long player in ten years and since singer Amy Lee became a mother. The band won 2 Grammy awards, kicking off their career with their 2003 debut album ‘Fallen,’ which spent 43 weeks in the Billboard Top 10 and sold more than 17 million copies worldwide. The debut single ‘Bring Me To Life’ became a worldwide hit, followed by successful tours around the world, then in 2006 ‘The Open Door’ was released and in 2011 ‘Evanescence’. The symphonic 2017 album with orchestral versions of earlier hits set off a tour with a classical orchestra, but contained only two new songs.
With ‘The Bitter Truth,’ the band returns to their roots – less orchestra, more heavy riffs. The album reflects both personal tragedies that have befallen individual band members (the unexpected death of frontwoman Amy Lee’s brother and the sudden loss of a child in the family of bassist Tim McCord) and the collective tragedies of our planet, eg. racism and the Corona Pandemic. The 2020 pandemic forced the band to record most of the album separately. Nevertheless, the message of the album is clearly positive: hang in there – giving up is not an option!
The opening is still quite gentle, with Artifact/the Turn as the lead-in to “Broken Pieces Shine”, which together with the following track “The Game is Over” sets the tone for the entire album: Evanescence as you know them “from back then”, catchy melodies and harmonies combined with heavy riffs, some electronica and a touch of melancholy to create an epic sound scape. Amy simply has a knack for attractive melodic arcs and arrangements. Of course, I prefer it when things get a bit heavier, which is the case for the majority of song material – see “Feeding The Dark”, “Use My Voice” and “Better Without You”, the progressive song “Take Cover” being my fave. My fears regarding a dominance of soft-fluff and schmaltz did not come true, yet these elements were not completely absent. The ballad “Far From Heaven” is quite OK with me, but the way-too-schmaltzy power ballad “Wasted On You” and the pale pop song “Yeah Right” (which could also be from Lady Gaga, Beyonce or Adele) are those I rather skip over.
In my opinion the band is at their best with an epic symphonic bombastic style, just like in the final track “Part of Me”.
Summing up, for my taste not a 100% bull’s-eye, but a solid album that surely doesn’t disappoint the fans at all.
PS: The album is available as digital version, CD, vinyl (2xLP 180g gatefold) and as Limited Edition Deluxe Fan Box including a bonus CD with the live session from Rock Falcon Studio, a book with a foreword and exclusive material by Amy Lee, an art print and a cassette with a making-of of “The Bitter Truth”.