The International Writers Magazine: Review

Evanescence, The Open Door
Claire Murray

magine a void, a strange nothingness and in this silence excited whispers begin to form. You reach ahead blindly for a handle or some way in. You grasp the cover imagining yourself to be drawn through the open door into a world of gothic sensuality. You yearn to be stroked by the unknown. Where does this doorway lead? Where will this journey take you?

Open this door and unfortunately you are doomed to travel upon a very familiar pathway, winding your way through the collaborative thoughts of Amy Lee and Terry Balsamo. Your guardian is the haunting but potentially tiresome voice of Amy accompanied by a tirade of portent thunderous music which at times creates an inseparable musical fantasy and other times gives an impression of ferocious battling dragons.

All is not lost however; on investigating your new world a little more closely you may at least find it aesthetically pleasing if not aurally so. Take your time and stroll through the exquisitely decadent lyric booklet. Let your eyes feast upon the darkly seductive pictures for this is the closest experience you will have to dining with Angela Carter and Tim Burton. Then wander slowly through the lyrics as Amy who makes a fine travelling companion dressed in her red riding hood cape or corpse bride gown drags you into her intimate world of pain. Look closely and you may find phrases that softly glow amongst the dark shadowy words, lines such as ‘it’s true we are all a little insane but it’s clear now I’m unchained’ and titles such as Lacrymosa (a hybrid of ‘lachrymose’ meaning tearful or mournful) which make this a truly worthwhile visual experience.

But how long can you go on stroking the perfectly smooth cover? Inevitably the fateful time must come when the C.D is laid to rest inside the confines of your stereo in order for you to complete this impending journey. This is the point you should turn back, find your way back through the open door and run as fast as you can, imagine grotesquely salivating wolves at your heels if it helps. The music itself works and provides an interesting and varied assault on the ears but to listen to the whole album in one sitting seems to result in it’s transformation into one long and indefinable song.

When Amy’s voice is in harmony with the music, when it does finally come together then the results can be breathtaking. Snow White Queen for instance manages to stand alone it seems to be the only song that resists the bland merging that occurs when listening to the album as a whole. There is a definite upgrade of emotion and an almost chilling sense of desperation in Amy’s voice perhaps emphasized by the somewhat predatory lyrics of this song which among others contain the ironic ‘don’t scream anymore my love’. If you like your metal highly polished then this is the album for you, it is born out of the slick genre which includes the likes of ‘Him’. Even if you are glad when the journey ends and you are able to retreat back through the open door, it is arguably a journey worth embarking upon.
© Claire Murray October 2006
clairelouisemurray at
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