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If I had to describe this album with only two words, I would call it "Plastic Goth". I really liked the some of the earlier Gothic Rock songs the band made and even the more commercial "Karmacode" had still some experiments and original moments.
"Shallow Life" is an album without edges. Modern and electronic sound effects have taken the place of bass guitar, electric guitar and drums. Especially the drums are lacking of power and sound artificial throughout the whole album. The opener "Survive" already disappoints after a forty seconds long introduction in the style of "Karmacode" as the guitars are tuned down and male and female singers perform without any power and conviction. And it won't get better, it gets worse.
Everything sounds artificial, even the normally brilliant and powerful voice of Scabbia. A good example is the closing title track "Shallow life", a boring and faceless ballad where I don't even hear the sign of a guitar, bass or drum. Some artificial orchestrations from a Casio keyboard or something similar plus sound effects plus the emotionless performance by Scabbia and some useless male background lines form a complete piece of kitsch and garbage. "Wide awake" is another example of boredom in tranquility that has an interesting acoustic guitar introduction beore the orchestrations drown the song in a radio pop ballad kitsch that would even be too uninspired and boring for a Hannah Montana movie. Scabbia's voice is completely electronically and artificially humilated in the boring and somewhat hypnotizing "I like it".
Even the "harder" songs like "I won't tell you" or "Spellbound" use some boring sound effects, a bad male singer and a repeating guitar riff. And you can't call any song on this album a metal song and even the new direction "alternative rock" wouldn't be correct, I would rather talk about "alternative pop" with synthetic orchestrations and alibi guitars. Or I would just call it "Plastic Goth". Mainstream and fame completely destroyed the charm of this once interesting underground band as even Evanescence now sound heavier than they do. From an objective point of view, I give ten points for the commercial success and the completed assimilation to the American pop scene.