Female-fronted rock band returns with mixed reviews

By Allie Jeter
October 13, 2011

After taking a 5-year hiatus, Evanescence’s self-titled album takes the rock world by storm.

In past years, more female-fronted rock bands have dominated the music scene. But no other band stands out more than Arkansas natives Evanescence. Founded in 1995 by Amy Lee and Ben Moody, the band wasn’t a household name until the release of their 2003 first full-length album, “Fallen.”

After a sophomore album dud and various number one hits, the two-time Grammy-award-winning group went into hibernation for five years until recently. Their most anticipated third studio self-titled album hit the iTunes library with full force on Oct. 11.

Before fame became a way of life for the duo, they both were youth camp members in Little Rock, Ak. Moody heard Lee playing on the piano and singing to Meatloaf’s classic hit, “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).” When Moody heard Lee, it was all history from there.

Both Lee and Moody recorded two EP’s together, one called “Evanescence EP” in 1998 and “The Whisper EP” in 1999. All the albums were given out at each venue where they performed.

The band members included friends John LeCompt, Rocky Gray and Will Boyd. In early 2003, they signed to their first record label, Wind-Up Records, and began working on their first album. “Fallen” spent 43 weeks on the Billboard Top10, was certified seven-time platinum and sold more than 15 million copies worldwide. The album was listed on the Billboard 200 for a whopping 104 weeks and was one in eight albums in history to spend at least a year on the Billboard charts. With sold-out concert and endorsement deals from companies like Nintendo, Evanescence was at the top of their game.

Unfortunately, the band couldn’t hold things together. On Oct. 23, 2003, Ben Moody left the group because of “creative differences.”

Although the band suffered a great loss, Evanescence gained a new member and new sounds for the group. Sophomore album “The Open Door” came and went with a number one hit but earned the band ‘s top rank on the Billboard 200 chart. The band was making great progress until suddenly, on May 4, 2007, LeCompt was fired from the band and drummer, Gray, quit. For the second time, the record label had to audition two more members for the group. Drummer Will Hunt and guitarist Troy McLawhorn auditioned and are currently in the group.

Fast forward to 2009, Lee announced on the band’s website that they were writing a new album after five years of being on hiatus. On June 12, 2011, Lee stated on her Twitter account that the release date for their new self-titled album would be Oct. 4. Unfortunately, MTV News reported that the release date had to be pushed back to Oct. 11. The setback didn’t stop the band from releasing their first single off the album, “What You Want.”

Besides “What You Want,” the album features many other songs such as “Oceans,” “My Heart is Broken” and “Lost in Paradise.” The album doesn’t just talk about one emotion, but reflects many. “What You Want” is a heavy rock anthem that tells a story about a relationship that just isn’t working out despite the love that that is joining the two lovers together. The love ballad “Lost in Paradise” is compared to the song “Joga” by Icelandic recording artist Bjork. The song was inspired by Lee’s love for the band Evanescence.

Evanescence’s self-titled CD has audiences raving and the album so far has gotten mixed reviews for only being out for a couple days. As the week continues, so do the listeners. If you love Evanescence, you’re going to love this album. So stick your headphones in and get lost in the music.

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Allie Jeter

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