B-Mac Album Review: Evanescence, The Bitter Truth

Photo by Nick Fancher

By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy

At the 46th Annual Grammy Awards, the world was in for a shock. Many critics and music fans were expecting rapper extraordinaire 50 Cent to take Best Artist that year because he was the hottest artist of 2003. However, when the envelope was torn open, the name did not read 50 Cent but read Evanescence. Nobody that night would have thought a rock band from Little Rock, Ark., who wrote the superb rock hit “Bring Me to Life” would take that prize. Evanescence has become a rock ‘n’ roll household name as their sound stretched from nu metal to Gothic metal, symphonic metal, hard rock, and alternative rock. Led by their enchanting frontwoman Amy Lee, the group has returned after nearly 10 years of no new material. They call their fourth studio album The Bitter Truth. In a world that has gone to shit, I hope this record can help bring me to life.

“Artifact/The Turn” helps set the mood for The Bitter Truth. Ambient music surrounds the airwaves as Amy sorrowfully sings her love will always be there for her. The music picks up steam and deliver us into “Broken Pieces Shine.” Drummer Will Hunt is pulsating the beat into a nice, rhythmic flow. Amy crafts strong lyrics about letting your flaws shine for they help make you into who you are. That is very powerful. The riffs are masterful and alluring thanks to the dual efforts of Troy McLawhorn and newcomer Jen Majura. “The Game is Over” first debuted in July 2020. Heavy-duty riffs rule over this song as McLawhorn and Majura perform with scorching passion. Amy soars high with her vocals, declaring that wearing false faces for other people’s comfortability is done. Bassist Tim McCord thunders away some massive bass licks. “Yeah Right” has Gothic metal and alternative metal driving on the same road. Hunt and McCord do a superb job laying down some mean beats. The biggest highlight off this song is ultra slick guitar solo that Majura nails big time.

Photo by Nick Fancher

“Feeding the Dark” has a solid mix of Goth, electronica, and hard rock. The crunchy riffs of Majura and McLawhorn fit in smoothly with the haunting piano work Amy puts together. She is full of heartache, angst, and resolution when singing this tune. I dig the electronic rock feel of “Wasted on You.” Amy enchants us listeners with her desirous piano playing and angelic voice. It is like during the verses, but it is when we reach the chorus that the rock ‘n’ roll fun takes off. The guitar kicks down the door with a succinct riff, while the drum beat is dynamic and humble at the same time. This is one of the best songs they have ever created. “Better Without You” marks the album’s halfway point. Starts with an electronic beat that blends with a badass riff that is as tough as they come. Evanescence has outstanding chemistry on this song as Amy keeps on soaring. “Use Your Voice” is the standout song off The Bitter Truth. This epic song helps give a voice to the voiceless. Amy is joined with her sisters in rock as artists such as Lzzy Hale, Sharon den Adel, Taylor Momsen, Lindsey Stirling, and Deena Jakoub (who helped compose this song) lent their voices. The impactful riffs and bombastic beats drive the song home.

“Take Cover” is a down-the-middle heavy metal piece that I believe might become a future staple for the band. Hunt goes into Animal mode as he brings the hammer down on the snares. Evocatively sweet, Evanescence brings the bull to its knees, composing a sick tune. “Far From Heaven” is the album’s big ballad number. Already captivated by Amy’s attractive piano work, the words she pens are sorrowful, as if she is crying to God for help. She knows how to pull on our heart strings because we all been there before. “Part of Me” is full of emotion that any listener can relate to. Powerful beats and stunning licks bring out the beauty of Evanescence’s keen musicianship. I feel that there are some Christian allegories in the lyrics as Amy professes that through tribulation, her Savior made her stronger. They bring it home with “Blind Belief.” They go charging in with a heavy riff Majura and McLawhorn performed very well on. Passionate and buoyant to the very last note, Amy gives it her all as she says we are the key to redemption. Nails it right on the mark.

Here is the truth about The Bitter Truth: it freaking rocks! I was worried that Evanescence might lose a step after many years without new music, but thankfully that was not the case. Full of gripping guitar riffs, passionate piano playing, and thought-provoking lyrics, this record has it all. There were times that I felt they used too much electronic rock in their sound, but their signature Gothic atmosphere more than makes up for it. Produced by Nick Raskulinecz, The Bitter Truth is one of their absolute finest. To Evanescence, I salute you. Horns up!!!

9/10

Track Listing:

1 Artifact / The Turn
2 Broken Pieces Shine
3 The Game Is Over
4 Yeah Right
5 Feeding the Dark
6 Wasted on You
7 Better Without You
8 Use My Voice
9 Take Cover
10 Far From Heaven
11 Part of Me
12 Blind Belief

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