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Evanescence

Evanescence
Evanescence in 2015. Left to right: Jen Majura, Tim McCord, Amy Lee, Will Hunt, and Troy McLawhorn.
Evanescence in 2015. Left to right: Jen Majura, Tim McCord, Amy Lee, Will Hunt, and Troy McLawhorn.
Background information
OriginLittle Rock, Arkansas, U.S.
Genres
Years active1995–present (hiatus: 2007–2009, 2012–2015)
Labels
Members
Past members
Websiteevanescence.com

Evanescence is an American rock band founded in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1995 by singer and musician Amy Lee and guitarist Ben Moody. After recording independent albums, the band released their first full-length album, Fallen, on Wind-up Records in 2003. On the strength of hit singles "Bring Me to Life" and "My Immortal", Fallen sold more than 17 million copies worldwide, and won the band two Grammy Awards out of six nominations. A year later, Evanescence released their first live album, Anywhere but Home, which sold over one million copies worldwide.

The band released their second studio album, The Open Door in 2006, which sold more than five million copies. They reconvened in June 2009 with a new lineup. Their next studio album, Evanescence, was released in 2011. It debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 and four other Billboard charts: Rock Albums, Digital Albums, Alternative Albums, and Hard Rock Albums. The band spent 2012 on tour, with guitarist Troy McLawhorn becoming a full-time band member during this time. Following the end of the album's tour cycle, the band entered another hiatus.

In 2015, Evanescence emerged from hiatus and announced they would resume touring into 2016 but new Evanescence material was not being produced as Lee was focusing on a solo project. In March 2017, Lee stated Evanescence was working on a fourth album, Synthesis, which was released in November 2017 and marked a stylistic change in the band's sound. In 2021, the band released their fifth studio album, The Bitter Truth.

The lineup of the group changed several times over the course of their studio albums' productions and promotions: David Hodges left in 2002, co-founder Moody left in 2003 (mid-tour), followed by guitarist John LeCompt and drummer Rocky Gray in 2007, and Terry Balsamo in 2015. As a result, none of the band's five studio albums feature the same lineup.

History

1995–2001: Formation and early years

Evanescence was founded by singer, pianist, and songwriter Amy Lee and former lead guitarist and songwriter Ben Moody. The two met in 1994 at a Christian youth camp in Little Rock, where Moody heard Lee play Meat Loaf's "I'd Do Anything for Love" on the piano. The band became popular after performing in coffee shops around the Little Rock area. After experimenting with band names, such as Childish Intentions and Stricken, they decided on Evanescence, which means "disappearance" or "fading away" (from the word evanesce, which means "to disappear").

The band released three EPs. The first is the self-titled Evanescence EP (1998), of which about 100 copies were made and distributed at the band's early live performances. The second is the Sound Asleep EP, also known as the Whisper EP (1999). There was also a third EP called Mystary EP (2003). For their first full-length demo CD, Origin (2000), about 2,500 copies were produced and sold to concert audiences. Origin and the EPs contain demo versions of some songs on their debut album, Fallen. During a radio interview, Lee and Moody encouraged fans to download the band's older songs from the Internet, rather than purchase them from online sources such as eBay where the material had been selling for over US$250.

2002–2005: Fallen and Anywhere but Home

The band's signature font was created when Fallen was in development. The label designers used slightly modified versions of each character to make the track titles look unique.

Having first encountered the band at Ardent Studios in Memphis and been suitably impressed, producer Pete Matthews played their demos to his friend at Wind-up Records, Diana Meltzer. It was when Meltzer heard "My Immortal" that she became interested in signing the band, saying she "knew it was a hit". The Wind-up A&R told HitQuarters that, although they already exhibited huge talent, they were still young and needed to be developed, and "given the time and opportunity they could deliver a breakthrough sound." Once signed the band were relocated to Los Angeles, given an apartment and rehearsal space and enrolled in a gym. Lee was given acting and vocal classes. After almost two years producer Dave Fortman was brought in to produce their first album Fallen. Record label executives initially refused to release the album unless the band would agree to add a full-time male co-vocalist. When the band would not agree to this demand, the label relented and insisted only on having a male vocalist in the album's lead single, "Bring Me to Life". Lee was still not happy about this, but eventually she agreed to the decision.

In early 2003, the lineup was completed by Amy Lee's and Ben Moody's friends: John LeCompt, Rocky Gray, and Will Boyd, all of whom worked on Evanescence's earlier songs. While they were looking to promote Fallen, Evanescence accepted an offer from the video game company Nintendo to perform on the Nintendo Fusion Tour, which they headlined in 2003.

Fallen spent 43 weeks in the top 10 of the Billboard 200, peaking at number three; was certified 7× Platinum in the United States; and sold more than 17 million copies worldwide. The album was listed for 104 weeks on the Billboard 200, and it was one of eight albums in the history of the chart to spend at least a year in the top 50. In addition, Fallen was number 6 on CBS's list of "Top Bestselling Albums of the Last 10 Years". Evanescence's major label debut single "Bring Me to Life", featuring guest vocals from Paul McCoy of 12 Stones, was a global hit for the band and reached number five on the American Billboard Hot 100. It provided Evanescence with a UK number-one single, where it stayed for four weeks from June–July 2003. The song also became the official theme for WWE No Way Out 2003. "My Immortal" received similar success, peaking at number seven on the US and UK charts, and both songs were featured on the soundtrack for the action movie Daredevil. "Bring Me to Life" was recognized at the 46th Grammy Awards in 2004, where the band won the awards for Best Hard Rock Performance and Best New Artist and were nominated for three others. The two other singles from Fallen are "Going Under" (No. 5 U.S. Modern Rock Tracks, No. 8 UK Charts) and "Everybody's Fool" (No. 36 U.S. Modern Rock Tracks, No. 23 UK Charts); each was promoted by a music video.

On October 22, 2003, Moody left the band during the European tour for Fallen, reportedly because of creative differences. In an interview several months later, Amy Lee said: "...we'd gotten to a point that if something didn't change, we wouldn't have been able to make a second record." It became a point of confusion, as Moody and Lee stated on the Fallen album liner notes that they were best friends. Lee said it was almost a relief that Moody left because of tensions created within the band. During an interview, Lee has said, "I don't know, I just think it's exactly what I would've expected. He's more about kind of the pop influence sort of thing and also, you know, about being commercial and I mean selling albums: That's the part of him we often disagreed on. I wanted to do the more artistic weird thing and he'd wanna do the thing that people would want to hear..." She adds "So that's a lot of the reason [why] it's been so fun writing now, is [that] we're not thinking about that. It's like 'what do we like?', 'what's fun?', like 'what do we want to do that's different?'" Moody was replaced by Terry Balsamo from Cold.

Evanescence performing at the concert in Le Zénith, Paris, featured on Anywhere but Home

In 2004, Evanescence's new lineup released a DVD/CD compilation titled Anywhere but Home. The DVD includes a concert in Paris, as well as behind-the-scenes features, including shots of the band backstage signing autographs and warming up. Also on the CD are the live songs "Breathe No More" (from the Elektra movie soundtrack), "Farther Away", and the band's cover of Korn's "Thoughtless". The album has sold more than a million copies worldwide.

Lee said she had originally written the Mozart-inspired song "Lacrymosa" for the 2005 film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, as well as an untitled song. According to Lee, "Lacrymosa" was rejected because of its interpolation and the untitled song was rejected because of its dark sound. The producers of Narnia, however, said this was "news to them" and that no Evanescence music had been planned for the soundtrack of the film.

2006–2009: The Open Door

A spokesperson for the band's label confirmed on July 14, 2006, that bassist Will Boyd had left the band for "not wanting to do another big tour" and wanting "to be close to his family." Amy Lee originally broke the news to the fans in a post on an unofficial Evanescence site, EvBoard.com. In an interview with MTV, posted on their website on August 10, 2006, Lee announced that Tim McCord, former Revolution Smile guitarist, would switch instruments and play bass for the band.

Amy Lee in 2007

The album progressed slowly for several reasons, including Amy Lee's desire to maximize the creative process and not rush production, other band members' side projects, Balsamo's stroke, and turbulence within their management. Although Lee stated on the fan forum Evboard that Evanescence's new album would be completed in March 2006, the release was pushed back allegedly because "Wind-up...wanted to make a few changes to the upcoming single 'Call Me When You're Sober'," which hit modern rock and alternative rock radio on August 7, 2006. The 13-track album The Open Door was released in Canada and the United States on October 3, 2006; the United Kingdom on October 2, 2006; and Australia on September 30, 2006. The album sold 447,000 copies in the United States in its first week of sales and earned their first No. 1 ranking on the Billboard 200 album chart. The music video for "Call Me When You're Sober" was shot in Los Angeles and is based on the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood. The Open Door became available for pre-order on the iTunes Store on August 15, 2006; the music video for "Call Me When You're Sober" was also made available.

The tour for The Open Door began on October 5, 2006, in Toronto and included locations in Canada, the U.S., and Europe during that year. This first tour continued on January 5, 2007, and included stops in Canada (alongside band Stone Sour), Japan, and Australia (alongside band Shihad), and then returned to the U.S. for a second tour in the spring (alongside bands Chevelle and Finger Eleven). As part of their tour, Evanescence performed on April 15, 2007, on the Argentinian festival Quilmes Rock 07 along with Aerosmith, Velvet Revolver, and other local bands. They also co-headlined on the Family Values Tour 2007 along with Korn and other bands. The group closed their European tour with a sell-out concert at the Amphi in Ra'anana, Israel, on June 26, 2007, and finished the album tour on December 9, 2007.

On May 4, 2007, John LeCompt announced that he had been fired from Evanescence, and also stated that drummer Rocky Gray had decided to quit. They both would join Moody to eventually form the band We Are the Fallen. Wind-up issued a press release on May 17, 2007, stating that two Dark New Day members, drummer Will Hunt and guitarist Troy McLawhorn, would be joining the band to replace LeCompt and Gray. It was initially stated that Hunt and McLawhorn would tour with Evanescence until the end of the Family Values Tour in September 2007, but both continued to play with the band through The Open Door tour.

2009–2014: Evanescence and hiatus

Tim McCord playing with the band at a concert at Maquinaria Festival, São Paulo, Brazil in November 2009.

In a news posting to the Evanescence website during June 2009, Amy Lee wrote that the band was in the process of writing new material for a new album proposed for release in 2010. She stated that the music would be an evolution of previous works and be "better, stronger, and more interesting." The band played a "secret show" at the Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom in New York City on November 4, 2009, with label mates Civil Twilight. Tickets for the show sold out in five minutes. This performance acted as a warm-up for their headline appearance at the Maquinária Festival in São Paulo, Brazil, which took place on November 8.

In January 2010, Evanescence released "Together Again" as a digital download, a song created for The Open Door but later cut. The song was released to aid the United Nations Foundation in Haiti earthquake recovery efforts. It later received an official release as a digital download on February 23, 2010.

Evanescence entered the studio on February 22, 2010, to begin recording for the new album. Will Hunt returned as drummer while a second drummer and programmer, Will "Science" Hunt, was brought in to assist in writing but ultimately did not join the band. David Campbell, who previously worked on The Open Door, was brought back to handle string arrangements, and the album was scheduled for release by the producer Steve Lillywhite. Lee later said that "Steve wasn't the right fit" and was replaced by producer Nick Raskulinecz. However, it was later revealed the record label scrapped the material recorded with Lillywhite.

At the time the band began recording, the album was intended for an August or September 2010 release. However, on June 21, 2010, Lee announced on EvThreads.com that Evanescence had temporarily left the studio to work further on the album and "get our heads into the right creative space." Lee also indicated that record label Wind-up Records was going through "uncertain times", which would further delay the release of the album. The band reentered the studio in early April 2011 with Raskulinecz, who had produced music for Alice in Chains, Deftones, and Foo Fighters, to continue work on the third album. It was reported that the album would be released in late 2011. Over the course of the month, Seether lead vocalist Shaun Morgan announced that Troy McLawhorn was reported to have rejoined Evanescence as a primary guitarist after leaving Seether, but Evanescence's management later stated that this was not the case.

On June 12, 2011, Amy Lee announced through her Twitter account that McLawhorn was officially back with Evanescence and that the release date for the new album would be October 4, 2011. Later, on July 11, 2011, it was reported by MTV News that the release date for the album had been pushed back to October 11, and that the first single from the album will be "What You Want". The band recorded the album at Blackbird Studio, Nashville. During an interview with Kerrang!, Lee revealed that the new album's title will be Evanescence. Lee said that the decision for the title of the album was her love towards Evanescence, as well as the record being written more collaboratively than past albums. Other themes are the ocean, quest for freedom, and falling in love.

The Evanescence Tour began on August 17, 2011, with a show at War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville. The band then performed at Rock on the Range in Winnipeg on August 20, 2011, and at Rock in Rio on October 2 alongside Guns N' Roses and System of a Down as well as Brazilian artists Pitty and Detonautas Roque Clube. After a series of events in North America, Evanescence traveled to Europe in November to play a sold-out tour in the UK, Germany and France, with support from The Pretty Reckless and Australian band ME. Evanescence performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert on December 11, 2011, where they played "Lost in Paradise" and "Bring Me to Life", before again touring in North America. In February 2012 they toured Japan with Dazzle Vision, and in the same month performed in other southeast Asian countries. March 2012 saw the band tour Australia and New Zealand with Blaqk Audio. Between April and July 2012, Evanescence toured in Europe and North America, with additional stops in Africa and the Middle East.

Evanescence paused their tour to take part in the Carnival of Madness Tour alongside Halestorm, Cavo, New Medicine, and Chevelle. The tour began on July 31, 2012, in Springfield, Illinois, and ran through September 2, 2012, ending in Buffalo. The Evanescence Tour resumed in October 2012 with stops in South America, Costa Rica, and Panama. The tour wrapped with a series of shows in England, ending on November 9, 2012, in London's Wembley Arena. Lee stated the band planned to take an extended break after the tour, saying, "At the end of any really long tour you need to get your head in order. I think at the end of the run we'll go on a break for a while and figure things out."

In October 2013, Wind-up Records sold part of their catalog of artists, including Evanescence and their master recordings, to Bicycle Music Company. The combined company Concord Bicycle Music will market the catalog. On January 3, 2014, it was announced that Amy Lee had filed a lawsuit against former record label Wind-up Records, seeking $1.5 million in unpaid royalties owed to the band. In March 2014, via her Twitter account, Lee announced that she and Evanescence had been released from their record label and were independent artists.

2015–2018: Return and Synthesis

Evanescence in 2015 at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles

On April 27, 2015, it was announced that the band would perform at Japan's Ozzfest on November 21, 2015, as the second headline act, making it the band's first live performance since their hiatus. Prior to Ozzfest, Evanescence would play three shows in the United States. On August 7, 2015, Lee announced that long-time guitarist Terry Balsamo had departed the band. His position was filled by German singer and guitarist Jen Majura, bassist for folk metal band Equilibrium. In an October 2015 interview, Lee stated that the band would continue to tour in 2016, but that when it came to recording new music, she was focusing on recording a solo album rather than a new Evanescence album. In late 2016, the band toured select cities in the United States, choosing alternative rock band Veridia as their opener. During this tour, the band played a brand new song titled "Take Cover", an outtake from the scrapped 2010 sessions for their self-titled album.

On September 13, 2016, the band announced a vinyl box set titled The Ultimate Collection that includes all of their albums (including Origin) and a new version of "Even in Death", a song which first appeared on Origin. The set was released on December 9, 2016. During an interview with Loudwire, Lee stated "there is Evanescence in the future" and that there had been work on another pre-Fallen song which would be released later. On February 18, 2017, a compilation album titled Lost Whispers was made available for streaming and downloading on Spotify, iTunes, and Anghami. It contained the rerecorded "Even in Death", previously released B-sides, the four deluxe edition bonus tracks to Evanescence, and the new song "Lost Whispers".

Evanescence performing live at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on October 15, 2017, as part of their Synthesis tour.

On March 20, 2017, Lee spoke to AOL Build about her solo single, "Speak to Me"; during the interview, she spoke of "a new album" in the works by Evanescence, saying "We're working on something. [...] It's not just a straightforward 'next Evanescence album'," implying a stylistic change. In a March 23 interview with Metal Hammer, Lee stated that "It's something unique, something complex, something a little bit beyond that – and it's definitely new territory for all of us." The album was intended for release later in 2017.

In a Facebook post, Lee revealed that the new album is titled Synthesis. According to Lee, the album is an orchestral piece that contains instruments such as brass and other orchestral elements. She also revealed that David Campbell, who worked on all of the band's previous albums, would return to compose for the new project. Lee said that the album is about "orchestra and electronica", and that the band is taking selected songs from their previous albums and stripping out the rock guitars and drums, rebuilding them into a classical arrangement reminiscent of a soundtrack. The album contained two new original songs, one titled "Hi-Lo" starring Lindsey Stirling. The first recording session for Synthesis took place on May 23, 2017, and a remake of "Bring Me To Life" was released as a single on August 18. On August 15, the band announced that recording Synthesis was in its final stages. Evanescence toured with a full orchestra in late 2017 in support of the album, and tickets were sold starting on August 18. The band later toured across the US, Australia and Europe. Each ticket purchased came with a digital copy of Synthesis after its release. On September 14, 2017, the single "Imperfection" was officially released.

In March 2018, Evanescence announced that Lindsey Stirling would be joining the second North American leg as part of Evanescence's Synthesis Tour. While their focus would remain on touring, Lee stated during a July 2018 interview on WRIF that the band would begin working on their next studio album.

2019–present: The Bitter Truth

Evanescence performing live in Verona, Italy, on September 2, 2019.

On February 4, 2019, the band released dates and locations for a spring/summer 2019 United States concert tour. On September 17, 2019, Evanescence and symphonic metal band Within Temptation announced a seven-city joint European tour titled Worlds Collide originally scheduled for April 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tour was postponed until fall 2020. The tour was pushed back a second time, and will take place in September 2021.

On May 11, 2019, Lee was quoted by Blabbermouth on plans for Evanescence to release a new studio album in 2020. In a November 21, 2019, Reddit AMA, Lee said of the album, "It's dark and heavy. Its also got moments of weird and sparse. Little bit of everything. Definitely some Open Door vibes but not the same."

On September 5, 2019, Xbox released a launch trailer for the video game Gears 5 that included a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain", with vocals credited to Lee. A full version of the song was released by Evanescence on November 22, 2019, and features backing vocals by the other members of the band. A music video for the song was released on January 9, 2020. The cover song will not be included on the band's upcoming fifth album. At the end of January, the band entered the studio with Nick Raskulinecz, who produced their 2011 self-titled album, to work on three "heavy" songs. They would originally record only two songs with him, but ended up recording four. They planned to work with different producers each time they hit the studio to ensure a diverse sound, but this plan was set aside because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 17, 2020, the band announced the title of their new album, The Bitter Truth, along with the artwork. The album's first single, "Wasted on You", was released on April 24 along with a music video. The music video was directed by P. R. Brown and included shots of the band members, at home due to the pandemic. The second single, "The Game Is Over", was released on July 1. "Use My Voice", the album's third single, was released on August 14. It features vocal contributions from Lzzy Hale, Taylor Momsen, and Sharon den Adel, and was used in a HeadCount campaign to encourage Americans to vote in the United States presidential election.

Evanescence performing live at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, on January 20, 2022.

On December 4, 2020, it was announced the album would be released on March 26, 2021, and contain 12 tracks, including Evanescence outtake "Take Cover". Along with the album's pre-order, the fourth single, "Yeah Right", was released as an instant grab. On March 5, 2021, the band released the fifth single, "Better Without You". The song touches upon Amy Lee's struggle in the music industry.

Amy Lee told in a Kerrang! cover story that she considers The Bitter Truth their fourth album, and not 2017's Synthesis, though it is the fifth album overall.

On May 21, 2022, the band announced that it parted ways with guitarist Jen Majura. On May 23rd, it was announced that longtime bassist Tim McCord would switch to guitar, and that Emma Anzai of Sick Puppies would join as their new bass guitarist.

Musical style and influences

Critics vary in terming Evanescence a rock or metal band, but most identify them as some form of gothic band. Publications such as The New York Times, Rough Guides, and Rolling Stone have identified Evanescence as a gothic metal act, while other sources such as IGN, Spin, and NME have termed them gothic rock. They have been compared to a variety of bands from differing genres, such as nu metal ensembles like Linkin Park, gothic metal groups like Lacuna Coil, and symphonic metal acts like Nightwish and Within Temptation. In 2006, David Browne of Blender described the band's music as "goth Christian nü-metal with a twist of melancholic Enya", adding that Fallen's "matching of rivet-gun guitar and high-ceilinged hooks to Lee's soft-focus soprano brought something genuinely fresh to metal: It lulled and body-slammed at the same time, as if it were its own mash-up." Other genres and influences used to describe the band's sound over the years include industrial rock, alternative metal, hard rock, alternative rock, and progressive metal. Evanescence cite Pantera, Björk, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Danny Elfman, Tori Amos, Nirvana, Portishead, Massive Attack, Nine Inch Nails, Garbage, Joan Jett, and Plumb as influences.

Evanescence was originally promoted in Christian stores. Later, the band made it clear they did not want to be considered part of the Christian rock genre. Terry Hemmings, CEO of Christian music distributor Provident, expressed puzzlement at the band's about-face, saying: "They clearly understood the album would be sold in these [Christian music] channels". After many Christian stores began to remove the band's music from their shelves, Wind-up Records chairman Alan Meltzer then issued a press release in April 2003 requesting formally that they do this. In 2006, Amy Lee told Billboard that she had opposed the "Christian band" identification from the beginning, calling it a "Ben thing". In a 2011 interview with the San Antonio Current, Lee re-affirmed her Christian faith, but once again stressed that Evanescence "has never been a 'Christian band.'"

Band members

Timeline

Discography

Bibliography

  • Echoes from the Void - #1-5 (script: Carrie Lee South and Blake Northcott, illustrator: Abigail Larson and Kelly McKernan, letterer: Jacob Bascle, editor: Llexi Leon; Heavy Metal, 2021)

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2003 Kerrang! Awards Best International Newcomer Evanescence Won
MTV Europe Music Awards Best Song "Bring Me to Life" Nominated
Best Group Evanescence Nominated
Best New Act Evanescence Nominated
2003 Los Premios MTV Latinoamérica Best Rock Artist — International Evanescence Nominated
2004 World Music Awards Best Rock Artist Evanescence Won
Grammy Award Best New Artist Evanescence Won
Album of the Year Fallen Nominated
Best Rock Album Nominated
Best Hard Rock Performance "Bring Me to Life" Won
Best Rock Song Nominated
2004 Los Premios MTV Latinoamérica Best Rock Artist — International Evanescence Nominated
2005 Grammy Award Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals "My Immortal" Nominated
2006 MTV Europe Music Awards Best Rock Evanescence Nominated
2007 MTV Australia Awards Album of the Year The Open Door Won
Los Premios MTV Latinoamérica Best Rock Artist — International Evanescence Won
MTV Europe Music Awards Rock Out Evanescence Nominated
2008 Grammy Award Best Hard Rock Performance "Sweet Sacrifice" Nominated
2008 National Music Publishers Association Songwriter Icon Award Amy Lee Won
2011 Loudwire Music Awards Rock Song of the Year "What You Want" Won
Comeback of the Year Evanescence Won
Artist of the Year Evanescence Nominated
Rock Album of the Year Evanescence Nominated
Rock Goddess of the Year Amy Lee Nominated
2012 Revolver Golden Gods Award Best Vocalist Amy Lee Won
Album of the Year Evanescence Nominated
Comeback of the Year Evanescence Nominated
Most Dedicated Fans Evanescence Nominated
Kerrang! Awards Best International Band Evanescence Nominated
Hottest Female Amy Lee Nominated
MTV Europe Music Awards Best World Stage Performance Evanescence Nominated
2020 MTV Video Music Awards Best Rock "Wasted on You" Nominated
2021 MTV Video Music Awards Best Rock "Use My Voice" Nominated

This page was last updated at 2022-09-23 01:28 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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