Five Things We Learned From Evanescence’s ‘Embracing The Bitter Truth’

Evanescence recently released their long-awaited new album The Bitter Truth, but it wasn’t an easy journey. Born out of loss, grief, Amy Lee’s newfound motherhood, the album then faced challenges brought on by the pandemic and political unrest of 2020. Rather than stop, the band used these hurdles to influence the record and motivate them to keep going forward. The result is their most honest record yet. This difficult process and the story behind the record is captured in the new documentary, Embracing the Bitter Truth. Here’s what we learned from the insightful documentary.

Only four songs were recorded before the band went into lockdown

Before going into lockdown, the band recorded only four songs: “Wasted On You,” “Use My Voice,” Yeah Right,” and “The Game Is Over.” Recording wouldn’t resume until July where they could all safely work together in the studio. Lee sent separate tour buses to the band members to bring them to the Nashville studio, with the exception of Jen Majura who was not allowed to leave Germany. She had to finish her parts remotely.

Amy Lee recorded background vocals in the studio’s parking lot

Though the first four songs were recorded, they weren’t finished by the time the band were forced into lockdown. Background vocals still needed to be recorded. Rather than wait until they could safely work in the studio, producer Nick Raskulinecz had a different idea. He recorded Amy remotely by setting up the equipment in the studio’s parking lot and laid it out in front of Amy explaining what she had to do to capture the vocals.

Not everyone was present for the “Use My Voice” video shoot

The band recorded the “Use My Voice” video in Nashville and though it looks like everyone is together (albeit safely) Jen was not with them. She recorded her parts in Germany with a different director. “We shot it on a day – I remember the weather was really weird. Maybe the weather [was] just on my side and they were like ‘yeah, let’s make it look exactly like Amy and guys recorded it in Nashville!’”

They still had to write half the record when they regrouped in July

When the band were finally able to meet in person in July, half of the album remained unwritten. With only the first four songs done, they had to write the remaining tracks in the studio with Nick Raskulinecz during the pre-production phase. One of the tracks to come out of these sessions was “Better Without You,” which ended up being the band’s favorite.

The Bitter Truth originally had no string arrangements

String arrangements are an Evanescence staple, but the band initially didn’t want to use them on the album. Coming off of the orchestral arrangements featured on Synthesis, Lee wanted to go in a heavier direction for The Bitter Truth. As they continued working on the album, she felt something was missing and reached out to David Campbell, who did string arrangements on their previous album. Once the strings were added Lee said “Now, we’ve done an Evanescence album.”

Embracing the Bitter Truth is now available to watch on Amazon via the Coda Collection.

Ashley Perez Hollingsworth

Ashley Perez is a freelance music journalist based in Chicago. Her work has appeared on AXS, The Crypt 1331, Chicago Innerview, New City, The Millions, and Reality-Comics. She also runs her own music blog at Radio Not Found. Some of her favorite bands include Nirvana, The Cure, Muse, Marilyn Manson, and Green Day.

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