CD Review of The Open Door by Evanescence

Music Home / Entertainment Channel / Bullz-Eye Home

Buy your copy from Evanescence:
The Open Door
starstarstarhalf starno star Label: Wind-Up Records
Released: 2006
Buy from

The world’s favorite Goth band is back. I was initially very surprised by the overwhelming success of the band’s rookie effort, 2003’s Fallen (14+ million albums sold), but I then realized this was the perfect pseudo-metal album for teens to listen to with their parents on the way to soccer practice. After all, from a parent’s perspective, how could such beautiful music really be about human emotional misery? It’s a gold mine.

The road got rough for Evanescence shortly after they struck it rich. Co-founder Ben Moody left the band in October of 2003, right in the middle of a European tour (“creative differences”). Then there was the whole debacle involving guitarist Terry Balsamo exiting COLD and vocalist Amy Lee telling the world that COLD had broken up when they had not. For the gossip hounds, there was the very public break-up of Lee and Seether frontman Shaun Morgan. Bassist Will Floyd departed in June of 2006 for family reasons. Finally, and most serious of all, Balsamo suffered a stroke in November of 2005, which put a serious crimp in the songwriting process for the new material.

The Open Door is exactly the kind of follow-up album that fans will be expecting. Musically and lyrically, it is superior to Fallen, but the band sticks with the formula that has made them the big bucks – gorgeous piano, crunching guitars, and soaring choruses. The record kicks off with its best track, “Sweet Sacrifice,” sporting Lee’s dynamic and gorgeous voice and creating the kind of haunting atmosphere we’ve come to expect. “Call Me When You’re Sober,” the current iTunes darling, is the kind of generic single that was probably custom-made and tossed on the record for just that purpose. That is the running theme of the album: one thoroughly composed and engaging song for every two that are pumped out by the Evanescence Formula Machine, though that’s not always a bad thing.

Fortunately, when the band hits the spot on The Open Door, they hit big. The aforementioned “Sweet Sacrifice” is the best track, but “Lithium,” Lacrymosa,” “Lose Control,” “The Only One,” “All That I’m Living For,” and “Good Enough” are all superb. The captivating strings of “Lacrymosa” make it instantly memorable, not to mention one of the most experimental tracks in the Evanescence catalog. For those anticipating a solo piano track to the likes of “My Immortal” on Fallen, “Good Enough” is your ticket. Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the song is that it is uplifting. Is that a sign of things to come?

The lyrics by Amy Lee and (in most cases) Terry Balsamo tread the familiar territory of rejection and relationship hell, but they come across as a bit more mature and thoughtful here. Now granted, Lee could probably read a phone book to an ‘80s beat box and make it sound good, but there are definite strides forward lyrically on display.

Evanescence fans have waited a long time for the record, and I doubt very many will be disappointed. The band is accessible and has captured a niche market, but the closing track, “Good Enough,” makes me wonder if we’ll be seeing them step in a different direction with their next album.

~Bill Clark