Out Now

(Sony)

 

If you can’t quite cope with a Christmas album right now then Synthesis sits somewhere in between seasonal rock and full-on festive. This orchestral take on Evanescence’s best work is, in many respects, perfect as the soundtrack to a cold December night tucked up in front of a burning fire with a neat whisky for company. There are no fluffy songs about Father Christmas but it’s a well-timed release from a band determined to break back into big time.

Amy Lee, of course, boasts a voice that perfectly complements David Campbell’s subtle and astute arrangements. The Nashville Music Scoring Orchestra puts an often surreal gloss on tracks like Never Go Back (thanks goodness Evanescence did) and the monster hit Bring Me To Life. The latter, in particular, benefits from a long overdue revamp and is a natural pick for Campbell’s orchestral manoeuvres.

Will Hunt deserves an honourable mention as the man responsible for programming and putting the synths into Synthesis. With a full orchestra to contend with it would have been easy to ignore the value of digital wizardry but where Evanescene is concerned it’s a must. Hunt clearly recognises that less is more and his contribution is a big reason why Synthesis is a standout success.

Sure, rock fans – and even the odd dyed-in-the-wool Evanescence supporter – might baulk at the often ambitious approach to reinventing the wheel. This is, after all, a polished pop record with nods to symphonic metal. But it works an absolute treat. Think you know Evanescence and Lee? Think again.