Difficult births are no stranger to Evanescence. Nothing ever quite seems to come easy for Amy Lee, yet the five years separating Evanescence’s 2006 sophomore effort The Open Door and its eponymous 2011 album were relatively quiet, the band undergoing some lineup changes -- not to mention a switch of producers, from Steve Lillywhite to Nick Raskulinecz -- but nothing comparable to the messy departure of Ben Moody between the group’s first two albums. Such comparative calm is reflected within the grooves of Evanescence, which is less tortured tonally even if it remains quite dramatic. Lee’s default mode is to sing to the rafters, her operatic bluster sometimes overbearing when her settings are gloomy, but Raskulinecz pulls off a nifty trick of brightening the murk, retaining all of the churning drama but lessening the oppression by brightening the colors and pushing the melody. While there’s hardly a danger of Amy Lee removing her thick mascara, she’s not pouting all the time; there’s some shade and light here, some variety of tempos, enough to give Evanescence the illusion of warmth, not to mention a fair share of crossover hooks. It’s aural candy for aging goths and tortured tweens alike.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine