Evanescence (from Latin evanescere: “to disappear”) is an American alternative rock band from Little Rock, Arkansas.
The group was founded by lead singer, pianist and songwriter Amy Lee and guitarist Ben Moody. The two met at a youth camp in Arkansas, where Moody heard Lee perform the song I’d Do Anything for Love by Meat Loaf on the piano.
When the two discovered that they were both fans of the singer Björk, they began writing pieces together – starting with Solitude (by Amy Lee), followed by Understanding (by Ben Moody), Give Unto Me (by Amy Lee) and My Immortal (by Ben Moody). The songs were modified lyrically and musically by Lee, which earned both equal recognition for the compositions. When picking the band name, Lee and Moody considered, among other things, “Childish Intentions” and “Stricken“, and then decided on “Evanescence” (Disappear). Amy Lee liked the name because it sounded mysterious, yet beautiful – exactly what she wanted to achieve.
Two of the songs (Understanding and Give Unto Me) soon found their way onto local radio stations’ programs, which also earned them requests to perform. At a concert in 1998 they released their first EP, limited to 100 discs, under the title Evanescence, followed in August 1999 by a second EP, limited to 50 discs, called Sound Asleep. The first album Origin, which, like the two EPs and the subsequent promo EP Mystary, is no longer available, was released on November 2, 2000 on the local label Bigwig Enterprises in an edition of 2500 copies. For this reason, Lee and Moody also stated in interviews that fans should download this material from the Internet.
It was with the inclusion of John LeCompt, Rocky Gray and Will Boyd in early 2003 that a line-up was created that could also perform live. Together they began to rework the existing material, and they were discovered while mastering a new demo recording by producer Pete Matthews. This got them a record deal with the New York label Wind-Up Records.
The recordings for the album Fallen began. Two of the songs prepared for this album – Bring Me to Life and My Immortal – were used on the Daredevil soundtrack, which marked the breakthrough for Evanescence. Bring Me to Life, in which Paul McCoy from 12 Stones sings as a guest musician, was a worldwide hit and reached number five on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number one in the British charts. In addition, the band received at the Grammy Awards 2004 in addition to the nomination as “Best New Artist” for this single, the award “Best Hard Rock Performance“. My Immortal made it to number seven on the US charts and likewise number seven in the UK.
In March 2003 the album Fallen was released. It entered the US album charts at number seven, climbed to number three and spent a total of over 100 weeks in the charts. Overall, the album sold over 14 million copies and earned the band platinum and gold awards in over 35 countries.
During a subsequent European tour, co-founder Ben Moody suddenly left the band in October 2003. He was succeeded by Terry Balsamo of the band Cold, which appeared in 2003 as opening act for Evanescence.
In 2004, after long touring in the new formation Evanescence released Anywhere But Home, a DVD / CD compilation which, in addition to a concert in Paris, also contained some background material and a hitherto unreleased song.
The recording for the next album began in September 2005. Shortly after a recording session, guitarist Terry Balsamo had a stroke in November 2005, which was probably caused by a clot in a cervical artery that was caused by headbanging. This incident, which left Balsamo half paralyzed for a long time, and the move to a new manager delayed the completion and release of the album. On July 14, 2006, bassist Will Boyd announced that he would be leaving the band to spend more time with his family. On August 10, 2006, his successor Tim McCord (ex-The Revolution Smile) was announced.
On October 3, 2006, the album The Open Door was released in the United States and Canada. In the first week it sold 447,000 copies in the United States alone and immediately rose to number one in the US album charts. The following months up to December 2007 the band spent mainly on world tour.
On May 5, 2007, Wind-Up Records announced that guitarist John LeCompt and drummer Rocky Gray were no longer active with Evanescence. Will Hunt and Troy McLawhorn (both members of Dark New Day) joined the band as replacements. Lee announced that they would only borrow the two for some time, but their band should remain. Troy McLawhorn stayed in the band for barely a year and did not return as a permanent member of the band until 2011.
Former members Ben Moody, John LeCompt and Rocky Gray founded a new project called “We Are the Fallen” together with new singer Carly Smithson (former participant of American Idol) and released their first single in 2009. The music style is very similar to the style of Evanescence – the name of the band is therefore probably not coincidentally based on the name of the first Evanescence successful album Fallen. The first album was released on May 11, 2010.
A song entitled Together Again was released by Evanescence for the benefit of Haiti. This track was originally intended for The Open Door, but is not included in the album for unknown reasons. The song has been available digitally since February 2010.
The third studio album Evanescence was released on October 7, 2011. According to Amy Lee, the album should represent a new side of the band and has nothing to do with the genre of the two previous albums.
On August 9, 2011 What You Want was released as the first single from the new album. For the film Underworld: Awakening, the band contributed the title Made of Stone. After the 2012 tour, Amy Lee announced that the band would be taking a creative break.
In 2015, guitarist Terry Balsamo was replaced by Jen Majura, who was born in Stuttgart, Germany.
On November 10, 2017, Evanescence returned from a creative break with the new album Synthesis, which, in addition to some new songs, mainly contains old songs with an orchestral arrangement. The new single Bring Me to Life (Synthesis) was released on August 18, 2017. The second single Imperfection followed on September 15, 2017.
The band’s influences include Garbage, Living Sacrifice, Type O Negative, Portishead, Counting Crows and Sarah McLachlan.
Although Amy Lee claims to be a Christian, as a band, Evanescence has distanced itself from the Christian music scene since the release of their album Fallen in 2003.
Likewise, although the group is often given the collective term Gothic Metal due to their popularity in the black scene and their corresponding appearance, they distance themselves from the Gothic scene.
I took pictures of Evanescence at the Stage 13 festival in Camrose, Alberta, Canada on July 10, 2004: