Album Review: Evanescence - The Bitter Truth

24 March 2021 | 4:00 pm | Rod Whitfield

"If you dig your goth rock in a nice, neat, non-challenging, easily consumable package, 'The Bitter Truth' is for you"

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Evanescence always were the watered-down American take on the European gothic/symphonic rock and metal sound, and this, their first album of all-original material in a decade, finds them rolling out more of the same garden-variety, easily digestible radio rock. 

So much so that one finds oneself listening to this record waiting for the inescapable piano-driven power ballad. You know it’s coming, you just don’t know when. The Bitter Truth keeps you hanging a little longer than expected, with Far From Heaven arriving in the final quarter, but it does not disappoint - it’s as earnest and soulless as you’re imagining.

Elsewhere, it’s everything you’d expect from this band, with plodding, paint-by-numbers goth-ish rock. They just sound older now, so it’s starting to sound a little tired too. The bitter truth is that this is Nightwish for the undemanding, or Epica for bubblegummers. Such comparisons are unquestionably unfair, but unfortunately inevitable.

While main member Amy Lee tries hard - she possesses a great voice and she can certainly tinkle a good ivory - and there’s some reasonable moments here (for example, Blind Belief closes proceedings in fine and dramatic style), ultimately Lee doesn’t have much to work with. That is, she is limited by her own formula, seemingly restricted by the requirement to have every track fall in the accessible three to four-and-a-half minute range and to conform to the pedantic and narrow needs of commercial pop/rock radio.

Of course, if you dig your goth rock in a nice, neat, non-challenging, easily consumable package, The Bitter Truth is for you.