April 24, 2003

Test Spin: Evanescence

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Last October Rolling Stone magazine ran a special “Women in Rock,” issue. Britney Spears was their cover model. Well, even though Rolling Stone apparently has no idea what rock music is, at least Evanescence frontwoman Amy Lee does. With a voice that ranges from hauntingly deep to high-pitched dramaticism, Lee is capable of conveying emotions unlike many of her male counterparts.

The tracks on the Little Rock quartet’s debut LP Fallen stray from guitar-driven anthems to somber piano-laden ballads. The opening song, “Going Under” proves that Lee can rock just as hard as any guy — her voice is smooth and powerful, even over heavy riffs and drum beats. Most of Fallen follows a similar formula; Lee expresses everything from rage to sorrow to pain while the band belts out hard rhythms. In “Everybody’s Fool,” she sings of betrayal and hate, and in the somber “My Immortal,” she laments the death of a loved one. In other words, this isn’t Avril Lavigne and her back-up band of drunken pre-pubescent boys.

Lee’s lyrics are full of eerie dream-like imagery that gives the music an almost gothic feel. Because her voice has many of the same qualities, the sounds flow together to create an aura of mystery and sadness that often exemplify the singer’s expressions of loneliness and loss.

Evanescence stands out among the mass of hard-rock bands that recently have risen to popularity mainly because of Lee’s vocal abilities. So maybe their name, which means to dissipate or disappear, will eventually be rather ironic.

Archived article by Ariel Ronneburger