"The Open Door" (Wind-up; 2006)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

By some opinions, the best things to come out of Arkansas are I-30 and agriculture; however, Evanescence raises the bar when it comes to musical talent. 

Being their third album, "The Open Door" seems out of place if you look at the band's discography. First, they released a studio album, then the bands chief songwriting couple broke up, and then the band released a live album. Now they’re back with this studio contribution. What’s next, a greatest hits package?

I think Evanescence released “Anywhere But Home” to forge on despite all the turmoil surrounding the band. Besides, instability, disorder and unrest are the basis for some of their best songs, and hurt feelings seem to be their flame. Amy Lee’s haunting tone is fitting because she’s apparently lived most of this stuff first hand.

Lee has almost become a one-woman band -- bet you never thought you’d read that when it came to the boys club of metal. She’s qualified to front this band but she still needs help when it comes to the songwriting. A few songs may connect with listeners but a couple are personal attacks like “Call Me When You’re Sober” aimed at her ex-beau from Seether. I like Amy’s voice and she has definitely cornered the market with her signature haunt, I just hope that she can surround herself with people who will lift her up and not drag her down.

The music is rough with crunchy guitars and pounding drums. There is also Amy’s piano, filled with emotion, which gives the tracks a familiar sound. The band does add in more voice distortion than “Fallen” offered, so the vocals (which could easily become boring) get a slight shift toward interesting. A few songs have a Gregorian sound interjected into them; I checked them out with headphones on a few times. That stuff can raise your neck hairs.

Evanescence has the ability to make a song cold as well. The emotion from Amy is filtered so that you hear her sing about what troubles her but the feeling stops short of becoming a sensation for the listener. The piano helps her convey her pain; the guitars appeal to the darker side and the drums pound away the memories. This line-up is talented, no doubt, but can they keep it together for more than one album? Apparently not: shortly after this review was written, John LeCompt and Rocky Gray have left the band.

Evanescence: Amy Lee – vocals/piano; Terry Balsamo – guitar; John LeCompt – guitar; Will Boyd – bass; Rocky Gray – drums.

For more information, check out http://www.evanescence.com

"Anywhere But Home" (Wind-up; 2004)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

No to diss to my good friend and staff writer Alicia (because "music is the most individual art"), but I would have given Evanescence's debut CD, "Fallen," a three guitarsaw rating at least. I liked the band's unique sound and songwriting style and admired their ability to carry it out.

That being said, I must admit to being somewhat perplexed by "Anywhere But Home." I just don't understand the concept of any band releasing a live CD after only releasing one label studio CD before that. "Instant Live" CDs are one thing - they're souvenirs of a show you may have attended. This is basically just a live version of "Fallen" recorded one night in France with a couple of "extras" thrown in (i.e., a cover of Korn's "Thoughtless" and the previously unreleased "Missing"). 

The band sounds great, with the guitars at the front and center and Amy Lee's haunting, operatic voice doing its unique thing. The audience noise, however, is annoying at best; the high-pitched screams are the stuff of a Bay City Rollers concert and they get in the way of the music.

The saving grace here is that the package includes a DVD which contains not only several live performances but the band's four music videos, backstage footage and interviews. 

"Anywhere but Home" may be unnecessary but, especially to fans, it's a bargain and a treat.

Evanescence: Amy Lee - vocals; Rocky Gray - drums; John LeCompt - guitar; Terry Balsamo - guitar; William Boyd - bass.

For more information, check out http://www.evanescence.com

"Fallen" (Wind-up; 2003)

Reviewed by Alicia Downs

There was a time when I listened to new bands from Wind-Up Records and admired the acts. Wind-Up, it seemed, did not have a fear of signing an eclectic sound or raw rock.

And it was under this mentality that Wind-Up Records came across and signed newest "buzzworthy" act Evanescence. Certainly you have heard of this band based on their hit single "Bring Me to Life" featuring guest vocals from label mate Paul McCoy of 12 Stones. The single is not only on the platinum selling "Daredevil" soundtrack, but it is also the darling on the band’s major label debut release "Fallen" produced by Dave Fortman (Superjoint Ritual).

Evanescence is not for lack of definitive sound. They combine a sense of operatic vocals with musical rock angst. However, while the music - as standard as it may be - can hold its own, the operatic crooning becomes beyond mundane before the fourth track, "My Immortal." The band captures the moody essence and spirituality they are going for, but - just the same - it's boring. "Bring Me to Life" is just about the only thing life-driven on the album, fueled by the back and forth of Evanescence vocalist Amy Lee and guest vocalist Paul McCoy.

The irony of Evanescence is that their debut song, "Bring Me to Life," the very single that brings you to the band, is also that which takes you away. The album ends up drooling out a monotony of female crooning which is seemingly fresh but not refreshing. The tracks always feel like there is something missing vocally ... but I can't imagine why with the amount of effects produced over the vocals.

The definition of "evanescence" is a dissipation or disappearance like vapor. It seems to me that seems a fair description of the future of this band post "Bring Me to Life."

Feel free to disagree and find out more at: http://www.evanescence.com

Evanescence is: Amy Lee (vocals), Ben Moody (lead guitar), John LeCompt (guitar), Rocky Gray (drums).

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Revised: 17 Jul 2022 13:29:13 -0400.