Reviews and entertainment articles by Dave Simpson
Amy Lee is one of my heroes. I have nothing but admiration and respect for her. So I was very excited at the announcement that she would be releasing new music, which has finally arrived in the form of Aftermath; a collection of compositions composed for and inspired by the movie War Story.
While Amy does exercise her vocal talents on several tracks, the album is almost entirely instrumental. For the most part, it’s characterised by ominous strings and sombre piano work and even though this album may not be very Evanescence, it is very Amy Lee. That is to say that it features music that is dramatic, epic and moving and is just as chillingly beautiful as anything she has done before.
Aftermath may have been composed for War Story, but as you listen to each track progress, the instruments seem to tell their own tale without the need for text or pictures. It is incredibly gripping.
The proceedings get off to a unique start with “Push the Button”, which is an offering that’s very different to both Amy’s previous work and the tracks that succeed it. It’s like a dance track, with an electronic sound that’s heavy on the bass. It features some haunting vocal work that complements the beat of the music very well.
Following this catchy opening, the real sound of the record begins with “White Out”, which introduces us to the eerie string work that runs through the bulk of the album. It establishes a very ominous air and is endowed with a strong sense of foreboding. “Remember to Breath” flows very naturally out of this, building upon the portentous persuasion of its predecessor in a very stirring way.
“Dark Water” changes things up a bit then, featuring vocals sung in an Arabic style by Malika Zarra. It’s somewhat more upbeat than the previous two tracks, but there’s still something about the underlying tone that is quite dark.
“Between Worlds” returns to an ominous instrumental sound and is perhaps my favourite instrumental outing on the record. It features unsettling strings that are subtle yet dramatic and builds to a climax that has an almost sinister air about it.
“Drifter” follows with solemn piano work that feels very poignant and leads directly into “Can’t Stop What’s Coming”. This has slightly more of a beat to it and sees Amy showcase her vocal skills again in a manner that’s loud yet reserved. The simple lyrics are beautifully sung, making for an enthralling listen. It’s short but stunning and overall I would rate it as Aftermath’s best track.
“Voice in my Head” returns to the piano, which seems to convey a sense of urgency or alarm here. The strings build up marvelously in the background along with the keys as things progress. It seems as if it’s heralding the coming of a dramatic event or climax.
While not the final track, “Lockdown”, feels like an appropriate bookend to “Push the Button.” It features the most familiar instance of Amy’s vocal work and is something of a respite following the heaviness of the instrumental entries. It’s like the wrap up after the narrative peak. As with “Push the Button”, there’s an electronic quality to it, but it’s not as upbeat as the opening track. Once again, Amy’s vocals are perfectly executed. It’s a definite highlight; a song that is more “classic” Amy Lee than anything else on Aftermath and perhaps the closest you’ll come to the sound of Evanescence on this album.
“Lockdown” fades quietly into final track, “After,” which is another instrumental piece featuring subtle strings. It’s like an epilogue to the rest of Aftermath and closes things out in a suitably contemplative manner.
Amy Lee has demonstrated her range as a musician wonderfully here, proving that she doesn’t need to be the front woman of a rock band to create accomplished music. Aftermath is an artful and dramatic musical work that is splendidly composed and executed and features some delightfully haunting vocals. There is an extremely inspirational sound to the whole thing. It represents everything that makes Amy Lee so amazing as an artist and I look forward to whatever she presents us with next.
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