Wind-Up Records, 2003


REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck


The Grammy season is upon us, and I as I sat pondering this years nominees, my thoughts went to years past, specifically last year. Last year was really the first ime I started taking note of the Grammys, and actually had listened to music nominated. One such example is Evanescence. They ended up winning the award for Best New Artist, and Best Hard Rock Performance based on their performance on Fallen. Were they deserving of those accolades? I can't say, but nevertheless Fallen is an enjoyable piece of music.

Fallen was an album of firsts for me -- it was the first album that led me to realize there was some good music out there that was made after 1976, and it inspired me to go to my first concert where the band members weren't collecting Social Security. So, you must be thinking to yourself, "Man, he must have really liked this album then." Hold on there sport. It isn't that good. It merely awoke the sleeping giant.

The first thing that struck me when Fallen got its first play in the discman was that Amy Lee, lead vocalist/pianist, could flat out sing. Granted, my knowledge of female singers is very limited, but of all the women lead singers I have heard, Amy Lee is the best. She has an incredible range, something lacking in the female pop stars today (Take that Britney Spears!). Whether it is a creepy, haunted vocal on "Haunted," a heart breaking song of loss, "My Immortal" or balls out rock "Going Under," Lee can do it all.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

See, that covers the vocals, what about the rest? Well boys and girls, that is where the album falls down a bit on the job. I like some of the production techniques used, there are a lot of backing strings, ancient monk-style chants and drum loops, the latter of which is very reminiscent of Linkin Park. However, after the seventh song that uses these sounds, it gets old quick. The same goes with the There are two gorgeous piano ballads from Lee, who again proves that she is unquestionably the rock of the band. The backing band of lead guitarist Ben Moody, guitarist John LeCompt, and drummer Rock Gray are adequate, though Moody does come up with a few good riffs.

The big single, and award-winning song off Fallen is "Bring Me To Life," which despite its blatant commercialism, is a good song. It features arguably the best guitar riff off the album, as well as one of the more compelling Lee vocals. However, the inclusion of Paul McCoy of 12 Stones annoyed the hell out of me. This duet should never had happened; the contrast of the voices is too distracting. Yes, I know the point of a duet is to have two vocalists, but the band/producer, whoever should have found a better complement to Lee.

The big controversy over Fallen and Evanescence was whether it was goth rock, or as some though, Christian rock. Lyrically, there are numerous references to God, and religion, but not enough blatantly scream, "Hey, singing about Jesus here!" The rest of the album deals with pain, sorrow, sadness, and ____(add synonym of previous words here). People tell me that this is standard "goth rock" fare, however I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and hope they come up with better material on the next album.

If Amy Lee wasn't present on this album, it would get a D+, or maybe if I was feeling generous, a C-. However, because I find her performance so enrapturing and amazing, she ups the Grade to a B- (Conversely, it's a good thing my teachers don't grade me based on my singing ability, I'd probably be at home eating Cheetos watching American Idol). Evanescence can do better than this, they just need to incorporate some new styles into their original sound, and with Lee on the lead mic, anything is possible.

Rating: B-

User Rating: C+



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