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Source Material

Source Material: Evanescence, 'Fallen'

by Chuck Eddy

Source Material: Evanescence, 'Fallen'


People have already been taking Evanescence for granted for years now -- if they still take Evanescence at all, that is. But when the band put out their debut album, Fallen, in 2003, they were kinda sorta something new, and not just because commercial rock radio was even more scared of female singers than it is now. Semi-Goth semi-pop semi-New-Age semi-Christian semi-electronic semi-emo semi-nü semi-metal from Arkansas: not quite a sure thing, right? But the album eventually went septuple platinum in the U.S. alone, with two Top 10 pop hits ("Bring Me to Life," "Immortal") plus two more ("Going Under," "Everybody's Fool") that hit bigger elsewhere in the world, where the set shifted 10 million additional copies. Two subsequent studio albums have topped the U.S. charts in slow October release weeks since, but there's no denying that the band's sales potential peaked here.

In a global sense, Evanescence land toward the poppier, less heavy/esoteric/symphonic end of the female-fronted dark-metal continuum: Holland's great The Gathering (first album with Anneke Van Giersbergen in 1995), Norway's Theatre of Tragedy (debut album 1995), Holland's Within Temptation (debut album 1997), Finland's Nightwish (debut album 1997), Italy's Lacuna Coil (debut EP 1998), and on and on. Evanescence principals Amy Lee (piano and singing) and Ben Moody (guitars) may or may not have been familiar with some of that music. But when asked about their influences, they tend not to mention it, opting instead for artsy singer-songstresses, grunge bands, alt-metal artists, and trip-hop troupes that one might have been more likely to encounter in Little Rock. It's certainly conceivable that they stumbled upon their hybrid independently of Europe's '90s gothic metal gals, simply by crossing Björk/Tori Amos with Tool/Alice In Chains, and then tossing in a dreamy dollop of Portishead or whatever.

A couple of Christian rock acts tend to get mentioned as well -- even if Evanescence's own music got intentionally pulled from religious bookstores fairly early in their career, they've been fairly influential themselves in the God-rock realm, inspiring bands like Texas' Flyleaf. In that sense, Evanescence also connect with the phenomenon of hugely popular faux-alt-rock bands from the South who were ambivalent about being aligned with, and thus limited by, Christian rock subculture: Creed, most obviously, but Collective Soul did it first. So they're the ones you'll find below, along with 14 other albums audible in Evanescence's essence.