Every emotion is larger than life in the songs of Evanescence, the band that performed at Terminal 5 on Tuesday night with its first studio album since 2006, “Evanescence” (Wind-up), which reached No. 1 on the Billboard chart for a week. The death of a loved one, the breakup of a romance or a crisis of self-doubt all send Amy Lee’s voice aloft, to wail with unbridled drama while her band thrashes and roars. “I’m everything you can’t control/Somewhere beyond the pain there must be a way to believe,” she sang as the set opened with “What You Want,” the new album’s first single.
Pain, as both a word and a condition, is a staple of her lyrics; so are dreams, fears, screams, darkness, the heart and all things aqueous, from rain to oceans. Sooner or later — usually sooner — her songs get worked up and stay there.
The band’s two previous studio albums, “Fallen” from 2003 and “The Open Door” from 2006, are multimillion sellers. Each of the band’s albums has used a different lineup behind Ms. Lee, the only constant. But the sound has been fairly consistent. Evanescence shrewdly and skillfully exploits 1990s alternative rock; it’s a one-band 1990s Lollapalooza Festival, drawing directly on grunge, Nine Inch Nails and Metallica. And when Ms. Lee sat down at the piano that was wheeled on- and offstage, her precise arpeggiated figures and the quaver she put in her voice were homages to Tori Amos.
With 21st-century commercial savvy Evanescence uses what it’s learned about bottom-scraping bass, blasting guitars and double-bass-drum fibrillation to put hard-rock brawn behind what are actually tidy pop-song structures. The music makes sure to delineate verse, chorus and (briefly pretty) bridge, and to repeat them in the name of catchiness. The band’s most distinctive element is Ms. Lee’s voice: high, strong and perpetually sustained, holding out every note of her long melody lines. It’s the opposite of guttural hard rock, and the epitome of breath control. Onstage, pumping her fist and flipping her long dark hair, she veered in and out of tune, but her lung power never wavered.
It was a virtuosic concert, exulting in sorrow, determination and thunderous impact. It was also a wearying one, as each song quickly hit its peak and just kept clobbering away. The production style for radio-ready rock and pop is now an unwavering, maxed-out, louder-than-loud onslaught. Evanescence carried that onto the stage, where there can be far more leeway with dynamics.
Ms. Lee started the closing encore, Evanescence’s 2006 hit “My Immortal” alone at the piano, sharing sentiments like “This pain is just too real/There’s just too much that time cannot erase” with the chorus of female voices from the audience, verse after verse. But Evanescence couldn’t quite leave the subdued moment alone; it had to come slamming in one last time.
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