I suppose if "The Open Door" had been Evanescence's first album, instead of 2003's splendid "Fallen", then this review might be more favourable. As it is, "Fallen" set a tough standard to emulate - the task made more complicated by the departure of key members of the band, in particular Fallen's guitarist and co-writer Ben Moody - and Evanescence have failed to do it. "The Open Door" is significantly poorer than "Fallen".
In rebuilding the band following "Fallen", Amy has decided to play safe and produced an album that is almost a carbon-copy of "Fallen" - unfortunately, "almost" is the key word, as one would be forgiven for thinking that the songs here were those considered and rejected during the production of that album.
The Evanescence trade-mark sound, defined by "Fallen", is still there - strong guitar riffing dominates and puts it overall into the metal-side of rock, but at a slower tempo than most metal, and the sound is softened by the interspersed melodies carried on Amy's beautifully delivered vocals and by delicate piano or keyboard/string arrangements. What is lacking is that spark of inspiration that would have transformed the workmanlike songs of "The Open Door" into the world-beaters of "Fallen".
It's actually quite difficult to single out a particular track as outstanding or appalling from this set as they are all average - and "average" sums up this album.
Having said all that, Amy Lee, the vocalist and co-writer of both albums deserves credit for keeping the Evanescence band going, as it would have been a shame to have lost them after a single album. Evanescence is now clearly her band and it is her responsibility to take forward, or not, as she wishes. I for one hope she does persevere
If you're a big fan of "Fallen" and want to hear this album, then check it out with a friend first. If you're new to Evanescence, then go for "Fallen"!