Skip to main content

Evanescence - Synthesis album review

Goth-rock superstars give themselves an electro-orchestral remix

Cover art for Evanescence - Synthesis album

After six years on semi-hiatus, Amy Lee’s multi-platinum goth-metal arena-rockers return with a not-quite-new fourth album comprised largely of old material rearranged for electronics and full orchestra. Evanescence are no strangers to strings and synthesisers, of course, but the Synthesis’s guitar-free remakes have a windswept grandeur and widescreen sonic palette lacking in the original recordings.

Two new compositions, Hi-Lo and Imperfection, are both classy, stadium-sized anthems that couch soaring Bond-theme melodrama in supple trip-hop shudders and sumptuous, vaguely Middle Eastern string swirls. Baroque reworkings of Lacrymosa and Never Go Back also harness the full power of the orchestra to amplify rather than restrain Lee’s roof-raising histrionics. Less impressively, operatic power ballads like My Heart Is Broken and Lost In Paradise sound a little deadened by blustery, Lloyd Webber-ised arrangements. A handful of solo piano interludes also summon inescapable echoes of Spinal Tap’s Lick My Love Pump. Overall, though, Synthesis feels like a successful experiment.

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.