With Christmas lights being switched on across the country, ’tis apparently the season to re-release some old material (and be jolly of course). Over the last month or so, we have seen a number of high-profile bands reissuing old material in some shape or form; examples include R.E.M.’s critically acclaimed Automatic for the People, and Pet Shop Boys’ Further Listening project. But what is the point? Maybe it’s just the music industry trying to take advantage of our assorted relatives who have no clue what to get us for Christmas, but seem to remember us saying how deeply the lyrics from that song by The Smiths resonated with us, and so upon seeing a shiny new copy of The Queen is Dead as they walk past HMV they pounce upon the opportunity to be labelled best gift-giver on Christmas Day, Or maybe an artist feels that it’s time for some of their old material to be presented in a different light, adding new and unexplored dimensions to material that they know their fans already love.
I would argue Evanescence’s latest release – Synthesis – is, perhaps, more of a case of the latter. This album sees the band releasing just two new songs, with the remaining material mostly consisting of reworked versions of tracks from their first three albums. Of these two songs, ‘Imperfection’ highlights the Electronica tinge that is slowly creeping into the band’s sound, whilst ‘Hi-Lo’ is a beautiful example of Amy Lee’s rich vocals intertwining with an orchestra. This theme of Lee’s vocals being paired with contrasting modern and classical instrumentation is one that is prevalent across the album – in fact it is perhaps the point of the album. This album draws together old instrumentation with new instrumentation, old material and new material, bundling it all up into a package that represents where Evanescence are in the present, and perhaps also where they might go in the future. This is, of course, all speculation, as Lee has announced that the band won’t be releasing any new music in the foreseeable future, and instead will be touring and putting out previously unreleased material and revised versions of work from previous eras.
Perhaps the song with the least to gain through this revamping process is ‘My Immortal’ originally from The Fallen, which already benefited from a stripped back instrumentation. Indeed, if you picked up the right copy of the band’s debut album, you will likely have gotten hold a version of the song which sounds remarkably similar to the one presented on Synthesis. That being said, this is still a very solid album. It may not bring too much new material to the table, but Lee’s vocals backed by piano and strings make this album a joy to listen to, coming together to give old songs a sort of gothic decadent feel. Fans can expect to get exactly this experience with Evanescence bringing an orchestra for the Synthesis tour which is due to hit Europe next Spring.
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