Evanescence: The Rise of the Fallen

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Evanescence album review i wrote for my school paper

Submitted: December 12, 2011

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Submitted: December 12, 2011

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“Evanescence: The Rise of the Fallen”
Joyce Rugg
Staff Writer

Few bands can say that they have a fan base of millions, and even fewer bands that aren’t mainstream can honestly claim this. However, American rock band, Evanescence can. What is even more shocking is that this band, after virtually disappearing for half a decade, is back, with the same loyal fans that cherished Fallen and The Open Door.

On Tuesday, Oct. 11, they released their fourth studio album. The self-titled CD is their first since the release of The Open Door in 2006. There have been two singles released from the album, “My Heart Is Broken” and “What You Want”. The latter was performed in Nashville on August 8, their first show in nearly five years.

This album, while collectively different from any of their previous CDs, still shows hints of classic Evanescence. This is most obvious in the ballad “Lost in Paradise”. This song is similar to “Your Star,” released in 2006, both musically and lyrically, and is an excellent showcase of front-woman Amy Lee’s vocal talents.

Lee also does exceptionally well on the heavier tracks, such as “Sick”, “Made of Stone” and “End of the Dream”. In the ballads, the piano is used almost exclusively, allowing her vocals to shine. In these tracks, the sweet sound morphs into something harder, which is non-reminiscent of past albums.

Another way this album differs from previous ones is that the writing process was different for Lee. On their Fallen album and the Origin EP, she worked with cofounder Ben Moody, who left the band in 2003. For The Open Door, she wrote with former Cold guitarist Terry Balsamo.

One thing that has not changed was the inspiration behind many of the songs. While writing, she often drew from personal experiences, both triumphs and tragedies. The subjects branch out to include situations that others have faced. “Never Go Back” was written about the tsunami that devastated Japan this year. “What You Want” was written about the band as a whole, and their relationship with their fans. It defends the band’s nearly six year hiatus, and celebrates the fact that fans everywhere are eagerly awaiting the long overdue return of this band.

The music hasn’t just changed lyrically; many instruments that hadn’t been used previously are now present. Lee uses her newly acquired skills as a harpist in “Swimming Home”. “Oceans” is one of two tracks that uses a synthesizer. The overall sound is much different, more upbeat than it has ever been. As Lee said in a recent interview with MTV, this album is “fun”.

The band has taken a different approach in their music, incorporating all members of the band in the process. Rather than this album being a primarily Lee-driven product, it seems as if the band really is greater than the sum of its parts. In an effort to reflect this, the album cover is quite understated, simply the band name highlighted on a black field, rather than being just one more shot of Lee. This serves to remind fans, who are so eager to worship Queen Amy, that Evanescence is still a band, instead of ‘Amy Lee, and whoever’s behind her this time.’

However, some notable elements are missing. On previous albums, there were songs with a choir singing, usually in Latin, like “Field of Innocence” and “Whisper”. Lee’s voice has also changed. She frequently used operatic vocals, which are now gone. Her sound, while still powerful, has mellowed, and seems more human.

However, the music isn’t the band’s greatest success; their biggest triumph was simply keeping a band together to release this album. Moody’s departure in 2003, in the middle of the Fallen tour, was devastating. Despite continuing success, Evanescence was living up to its name, fading day by day.

For their next album, they were back with an almost entirely different lineup. Now history repeats itself, leaving only Lee and Balsamo as veteran members of the band. The duo was joined by drummer Will Hunt, rhythm guitarist Troy McLawhorn and bassist Tim McCord.

Over the course of 11 years, the band has become somewhat of a musical phoenix, thanks largely in part to their indomitable lead singer. They have faced triumphs and tragedies, namely the nearly catastrophic collapse of the band not once, but twice. No matter how many obstacles are in her path, Lee always manages to rekindle the dying embers of this band and bring it back to life.


© Copyright 2017 Raven Oktober. All rights reserved.

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