A bold show of emotions that occasionally gets lost in translation
Vicky Greer
11:56 22nd March 2021

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Evanescence are back with their first album of new material in over nine years. Continuing with guitar-driven songs and Amy Lee’s haunting vocals, The Bitter Truth is boldly emotional, but occasionally the meaning gets lost in the music.

Starting off with the sparse and synthy ‘Artifact/ The Turn’, Evanescence build up to their typical heaviness in the album’s introduction, before blending in with the more classically drum- and guitar-driven ‘Broken Pieces Shine’. This second track is one of the best on the album, a biting anthem that fans will delight in. The arrival of guitars on the album is bold and theatrical.

Amy Lee is no doubt one of the most recognisable vocalists in rock music. Her voice is in fine form on The Bitter Truth, with ‘The Game is Over’ showcasing her talent. However, in other places on the album, the vocals and lyrics are somewhat lost in production, lacking a certain emphasis – if you don’t listen at maximum volume, you might miss out on some of the finer details of the album.

The Bitter Truth is full of emotion, specifically a sense of anger and cynicism that weaves its way through several songs on the album. The most obvious manifestation of this anger comes from previously released single ‘Yeah Right’ as Lee emphatically declares “I don’t need you anymore” with a real biting sarcasm in the chorus of “yeah right, that sounds nice / everything we ever wanted and more”. The thread continues in ‘Take Cover’ when she talks about becoming “the bitch you made me out to be”. There’s a palpable emotional catharsis on the album that draws from Amy Lee’s experiences of misogyny in the music industry throughout the two decades that she’s been making music.

‘Feeding The Dark’ is where the core message starts to get a little muddied, despite the impressive drum beat. The song structure from this point remains pretty consistent, and soon borders on the side of repetitive. Without another style to break up the album, it gets a little difficult to differentiate between certain songs. Melodic and emphatic ‘Wasted On You’ helps to a certain extent, but the same problem lies in ‘Better Without You’ and ‘Take Cover’.

‘Use My Voice’ is an album highlight, featuring other prolific rock vocalists like Lzzy Hale and Taylor Momsen contributing to the backing vocals. The song stands up for women everywhere who have been silenced and encourages speaking out in the name of justice.

The piano led ‘Far From Heaven’ allows Lee’s voice to take centre stage and adds a welcome variety to The Bitter Truth’s sound. This musical breather allows the emotions to really come through to the listener, and so ‘Far From Heaven’ is by far the most emotional song on the album.

‘Part Of Me’ and ‘Blind Belief’ bring The Bitter Truth to a strong conclusion, returning to the typically heavy sound, which is much more effective after the emotional powerhouse of ‘Far From Heaven’. The album has its powerful moments, there’s no doubt about it. But the firm focus on one style can at times compromise the emotional strength of The Bitter Truth.

The Bitter Truth arrives 26 March via Sony.

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Photo: Press