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You Can't Regret What You Don't Remember

Review by Daedalus


A Bit of Mood Music-
The word evanescence is defined as the event of bursting brilliantly into view, fading and gradually vanishing from sight. While the rock group of the same name has maintained a steady level of popularity from its debut on the American music scene in 2003, for many but the most dedicated of fans the group’s co-founder and former lead-guitarist Ben Moody has certainly lived up to the band’s title.


Whilst his collaborator and Evanescence co-founder Amy Lee has flourished in the national spotlight following the group’s garnering of two Grammy’s in 2003 <earning the Best Hard Rock Performance and Best New Artist awards>, Moody has also been consistently making music; however, to far less fanfare. Since publicly and peculiarly (Was anyone not nonplussed by Ben’s wretched pimp suit at the Grammy awards?) parting ways with Evanescence, Moody has been a mercenary songwriter– penning material with Daughtry, Anastacia, Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne, CĂ©line Dion and Lindsey Lohan before ultimately returning to his roots to found the group We Are The Fallen… a.k.a Evanescence 2.0.


While this might sound slanderous or dismissive, the description is absolutely accurate. We Are The Fallen consisted wholly of former members of Evanescence, barring its lead vocalist (American Idol finalist Carly Smithson) and bassist (Marty O’Brien, a friend of Ben’s). In 2010 the band released their debut album, Tear the World Down (Universal/Republic Records), which was a revival of the best of what Evanescence’s debut, Fallen, had presented: gritty, vulnerable, meaningful, anthemic and epidemically catchy songs augmented by stunningly mellifluous female vocals. Despite the album’s reaching #33 on the Billboard 200, the band was dropped from their label in May of this year.


Following hot on the heels of Evanescence’s self-titled third studio release (which debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, moving 127,000 copies upon release) we are presented with Moody’s second full-length solo album, You Can’t Regret What You Don’t Remember. While Evanescence has kept to their formula for gritty, grinding riffs and piano ballads interlaced with Lee’s wistful melodies, Moody has plied his trade in multiple genres after leaving the group. His collaborations are legion, and while many accused Ben of resting on his laurels with We Are The Fallen this solo endeavor takes a very different approach.


You Can’t Regret What You Don’t Remember sounds more like a mid-thousands Breaking Benjamin effort (the tracks “10.22” and “Sanctuary” would be right at home in the middle of We Are Not Alone) than what one would expect to hear from the Evanescence co-founder. The record, while riff-laden, is not so heavy-handed as to cry, hat-in-hand, “Hey, remember me? I wrote Bring Me To Life!” And while the album plays to all of Moody’s strengths, it borders on being labeled industrial. The fusion of techo, symphonic and metal influences presented in Evanescence and WatF’s releases are present… but they are provided in measured dose, and tempered with more of a synth-pop sensibility.


Featuring more subdued and (pardon the pun) moody material than his previous releases, You Can’t Regret… is an album heavily informed by the Reznor school of song-craft. Tooth-loosening beats are drizzled with ear-ensnaring melodies, brilliantly displaying Ben’s prowess as a songwriter and abilities as a vocalist. From the self-effacing and mournful “Always Do” to the turbulent and brooding “Never Turn Back,” this record retains the spirit of Moody’s previous efforts while effectively advancing his craft. The mix of “Hold Me Down” and Moody’s version of “Everything Burns” (previously performed by Moody and Anastacia) provide ample territory to explore a more beat and phaser-driven spectrum of sound, while “Just Breathe” would blend easily into a mid-80’s Depeche Mode release… This album is to Evanescence’s material what Billy Corgan’s The Future Embrace was to the Smashing Pumpkins’ catalog, or Claudio Sanchez’s work with The Prize Fighter Inferno. However, Moody’s efforts <unlike Corgan’s> actually manage to live up to (if not exceed) the level of his previous material.


Listening to this album certainly leads one to wonder why Moody has stood so long in the shadow of his female counterparts- he is certainly capable of fronting a group himself. Hopefully with this record Ben can spark another brilliant display to ensnare the attention of Evanescence fans and bring about a resurgence of his appreciation…


Check out the whole album on Spotify here. Or on Itunes


In short, if you like Evanescence- or if you’re as big a Breaking Benjamin fan as I am- this record is well worth a listen.


Until next time, kiddies… this has been the bald truth. Mahalo!

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