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Evanescence Fallen CD Cover
Image Wind Up Records 2003

Evanescence Band Photo
Image Wind Up Records 2003

(04 May 2003) Fallen rocks: it is swirling, cinematic, spiritual, monumental and a fitting debut for a band that will be making waves for years to come. Evanescence's label, Wind-Up Records, seems to want to categorize them as something like Linkin Park meets Creed with the female singer twist. (Ignore the label-placed guest vocalist on the first single, "Bring Me To Life.") But between Ben Moody's wunderkind soundscapes and Amy Lee's gorgeous vocals, Evanescence also deserves billing with more adult-oriented artists like Everything But The Girl, Garbage, U2, Sarah McLachlan, and Portishead.

Indeed, if Fallen has a flaw, it is that it doesn't foreground Evanescence's incredible versatility. Still, there's not a lot you can do to contain a band like Evanescence and their brilliance shines through even when their versatility does not. That said, expect Fallen to be a monumentally popular album and one of the best of the year. Because the production on the album is so polished and precise and the songs so tightly arranged and preformed, it is unlikely to receive the critical respect it should get because--and this is the ironic part--Ben Moody is too good at what he does. He sounds too much like the kind of guy who can only play whatever type of music he happens to be playing. He plays them all so well and with impressive craftsmanship.

This has not escaped Moody at all. He's as cunning as he is brilliant. Evanescence's 2002 Demo tapes, from which the bulk of the album's eleven tracks are culled, were made as bait for record labels. Wind-Up Records saw a star in the making and took the bait with gusto--prominent placement on the Daredevil movie soundtrack, WWE pay-per-view events, TV commercials, music videos, and, ultimately, Fallen followed in relatively short order.

But if Ben Moody is the dark wizard of Evanescence, crafting intoxicating waves of beats and rhythms, hidden beneath guitars and stacks and switchboards, than Amy Lee is their herald. Lee's voice is the most striking thing about Evanescence and with good reason: it's absolutely beautiful and her control over it is impressively mature. As with the album's two piano ballads, "My Immortal" and "Hello", a heart-wrenching tale of retreating into one's own mind, Lee shows that she's quite capable of carrying entire songs by herself. Yet she's equally glorious complimenting Moody's driving soundscapes, particularly on "Imaginary," when she transitions seamlessly from singing to screaming while still maintaining control over the pitch and body of her voice.

Amy Lee's vocal range and strength are impressive but not flawless; sometimes she can't quite get the notes for which she's striving, but this works to the bands credit. Listening to Fallen one gets the impression that at all times they are playing and singing at full force, pouring their hearts and souls selflessly into every lyric and every note.

And while the songs are, by and large, brilliant, the album itself is somewhat lacking. Its primary flaw is that it doesn't do much to differentiate its songs sonically. Some tracks will tease the listener with electronic backbeats before switching gears back to the nu-metal guitars, only hinting at the versatility of which Evanescence is capable. And while the sonic consistency, gives the album a consistent feel, it doesn't capitalize by telling a story with a beginning, middle, and end. There are many neat production tricks that are used to effect to segue seamlessly from one track to the next, but Fallen still feels more like a collection of songs than an album especially when compared to Origin.

Ultimately, listen to Fallen, particularly if you like bombastic, widescreen guitar rock, delicate ballads, or lush female vocals. If anything whets your appetite, dig deeper. Even now, there's much more to Evanescence than the considerable treasures that Fallen offers. Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the album from amazon.com here. This album is worth a trans-Atlantic journey and is a must listen!

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