The rock band Evanescence entered into the mainstream in the early 2000s. However, it is interesting to note that vocalist Amy Lee and former guitarist Ben Moody formed the band much earlier in 1995. As the story goes, Evanescence spent some time playing in Little Rock, AR, and its surroundings until they were noticed by a producer. After which, they spent some more time being developed before getting the chance to make their first studio album Fallen, which came out in 2003. Said release managed to sell more than 17 million copies. Furthermore, Fallen managed to pick up two of the six Grammys that it was nominated for. Combined, it seems safe to say that Evanescence had broken through. Since that time, Evanescence has see hiatuses as well as line-up changes. To name an example, Ben Moody left in the middle of a tour in 2003 because of creative differences. Something that came as a surprise to a fair number of fans in those times. Nowadays, Evanescence’s line-up changes are much more expected, seeing as how every single one of their studio albums has been made by a different line-up. Still, the band has managed to release five studio albums so far, which have been very well-received.
There was a considerable gap between the band’s second studio album The Open Door and the band’s third studio album Evanescence. It is often speculated that this was caused by the band’s line-up changes to some extent, particularly since those changes were so serious. After all, Amy Lee was the last remaining member of the original line-up by the time that Evanescence was released in 2011. In any case, said studio album had clear differences from its predecessors, as shown by its wide range of stated influences. Some of the names such as Garbage, Nirvana, and Nine Inch Nails weren’t particularly surprising. Others such as Björk and Janet Jackson were much more unexpected. The resulting product was uneven. It is a common opinion that it had some great songs such as “What You Want” and “My Heart Is Broken.” Unfortunately, it is also a common opinion that much of the studio album failed to reach the same level.
After the release of Evanescence’s self-titled studio album, there seemed to be little hope of interested individuals seeing another one. This is because the band’s tour was followed by a hiatus, during which the band members pursued their own projects. Even when Evanescence came back together in 2015, there was no indication of anything new until the announcement of Synthesis in May of 2017. Said studio album was rather unusual to say the least. For context, Amy Lee had spent a great deal of time scoring movie soundtracks, with the result that much of Synthesis’ material consisted of cinematic makeovers of the band’s previous works. The result is worth a listen, particularly for people who enjoy reinterpretations of long-standing favorites. However, Synthesis can be a bit much, particularly since it is also quite long at 16 songs.
3. The Bitter Truth
The process from Synthesis to its follow-up The Bitter Truth was smoother. As soon as Evanescence had finished touring in support of Synthesis, they started thinking about making something new with the hope that it could be released in 2020. Unfortunately, this meant that they were one of the numerous bands that were impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, with the result that they weren’t able to finish recording until November of 2020. The COVID-19 crisis then proceeded to further delay things, which is why The Bitter Truth didn’t come out until March of 2021. Still, when it came out, it was well-received. Once again, the studio album was a mix of things, but this time around, these things were quite consistently good. Some of the songs were very much reminiscent of the darker, moodier material that made the band’s name. Others departed from that, as shown by “Yeah Right” as well as “Use My Voice.” As such, one could say that The Bitter Truth bodes well for the future.
2. The Open Door
By process of elimination, people should have no problem guessing that The Open Door was Evanescence’s second studio album, meaning that it occupied an unenviable position as the follow-up to the extremely successful Fallen. As such, there was enormous pressure on the band to make something worthwhile, which is before one considers the multiple difficulties that they ran into during that process. For example, Terry Balsamo suffered a stroke while both Ben Moody and Will Boyd left. Meanwhile, the band lost their former manager as well, which was less noticed by the public but nonetheless had a presumably noticeable effect on their operations. Still, these things meant that Evanescence was something new, which in turn, meant that The Open Door managed to stand out from its predecessor by also being something new. At the time, there were people who expressed a strong dislike for the studio album not being the same as Fallen. In hindsight, that difference has proven to be a good thing because The Open Door has managed to stand the test of time by being excellent in its own particular way. Indeed, there are now those who would argue that it is better than Fallen regardless of their respective sales numbers.
Speaking of which, chances are good that interested individuals would have expected to see Fallen at either number one or some other high position. After all, it is the debut studio album that made Evanescence known around the world, which sold enough copies to launch Amy Lee’s career and then some. Looking back, Fallen does have some weaknesses. Some of its songs such as “My Immortal” remain as good as ever. However, there are others that are much more rooted in their particular time, with the result that they aren’t quite as good in the present as they were in the past. Still, numbers count. And Fallen’s numbers count more than most.