The first studio album Fallen of the US band Evanescence hit the charts like a bomb. The piece already displayed that unique sound that the band under Ben Moody‘s and Amy Lee‘s leadership created. And these were the times when the relationship still kinda worked between these two.
This, combined with the ethereal voice of Amy Lee, created the true potential this band possessed back then. And the success speaks by itself. Once the album released in Europe in 2004 (the US release was – incidentally – in 2003), it took off like a rocket. And it would not leave the charts for – like – forever.
Nowadays – of course – the genre sports massive competition, mainly from Europe. And – in truth – today’s offering cannot really be compared like for like. The contemporary pieces go much further than the somewhat purer Gothic Metal this band displayed. Yet back then, Fallen sported a killer sound. And it wasn’t something that anybody in this genre had really thought about quite yet. A Goth’s wet dream of sorts, even if some called this Nu Metal. Forsooth.
The band definitely demonstrated an affinity to change and evolve already. For instance, hints at Symphonic Metal already exist. A style that will bubble to the forefront a bit more on their next record. Yet again, their unique sound sometimes comes across as a trifle repetitive. There’s often a perceived lack of variation in the tune, so much so that the tracks often sound kind of similar.
Many of the songs speak about the emotional difficulties Amy Lee seemed to have had back then. The lyrics are artfully crafted, true. But they prove to be a sometimes frightening psychological rollercoaster, if you really dig into the words, that is. And this tendency to gripe worsened on later records, by the way.1)
The first two tracks Going Under and Bring me to Life already throw that typical Evanescence groove at you like a friggin’ metal avalanche. And it is these first minutes of Amy Lee that already put their juicy hooks into poor ol’ RMR and never let go ever since. Yet, the main ticket on Fallen, the fillet piece, is My Immortal, without a doubt. Even if the video/radio version of that track is for sure much better crafted than the original one.
Further honorable mentions go to Haunted, Tourniquet, and Imaginary. If there was to be an editor’s choice on those three, then the last one would be the happy pick. All tracks have a dark and haunted, almost melancholy flavor to them. Yet Imaginary packs so much ominous oomph and somber menace, it was pretty hard to stomach.
Sadly, the relationship between Lee and Moody did not survive the year and they broke up bitterly by October 2003 with Ben Moody leaving the band. In other words, once Fallen aired in Europe in 2004, the band was already in serious crisis. A blow that Evanescence would not really emerge from ever since. If you want to learn more, Ben Moody posted a good but somewhat wordy testimonial on Blabbermouth many moons ago.
Moody went on to become a sought-after songwriter, probably most famous for creating the band We are the Fallen. This band famously featured that typical Ben Moody sound with a few Evanescence veterans in happy collusion.
Finally, the slightly spooky soundscape on Fallen morphs this debut into one of the best albums Evanescence ever produced.2) The band filled this record to the brim with stellar material, spiced with those darkly menacing lyrics. This combined with their sometimes hauntingly beautiful trademark sound turned this record into the classic it is today.
Ed’s note: The review replaces the former one from November 2014. Oh, and there’s an editorial on Evanescence. Check it out!