6 Beguiling Deep Cuts from Evanescence

Evanescence was a welcome breath of fresh air when their debut album Fallen emerged in early 2003. Buoyed by the success of “Bring Me to Life,” a single first released on the Daredevil movie soundtrack, the group combined Ben Moody’s modern metal crunch with gothic and neoclassical aesthetics and the angelic, soaring voice of Amy Lee. The duo and their band had a special synergy and created a sound that was either misdescribed as nu-metal or called “nu-goth,” but which ultimately ended up being their own original sound that scored them mega sales and two Grammy Awards in 2004.

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Evanescence has released four other studio albums since then, including their most recent The Bitter Truth in 2021. Lee is now the sole original member of the band that has had a mostly stable roster over the last 15-plus years—their newest member is bassist Emma Anzai—and the quintet’s general musical trajectory has stayed on point. However, a lot of Lee’s classical influences from her youth have emerged in different ways over the years, particularly on the Synthesis album in which many Evanescence numbers were reimagined with both orchestral and electronic arrangements.

The following six deep cuts represent different sides to the Evanescence sound and the diversity they’ve mined. Hopefully we won’t be waiting another few years for a new studio album.

“Eternal” from Origin (2000)

This three-part instrumental suite closes out their demo album. The first part sounds like Tori Amos gone industrial rock, the second part is a haunting piano and acoustic guitar duet, and the last part invokes a goth vibe with its cyclical guitar and gentle beats. The interlocking piece between each section is actually rain and thunder. For a young band, this was an impressive composition. But considering Lee started writing songs at age 11 and co-founded the band two years later, she was already ahead of the curve.

“Bring Me to Life” Demo Version (2002)

The official single version featured rapping from 12 Stones frontman Paul McCoy and became their iconic breakthrough song, but that collab manifested because Evanescence’s label insisted the track needed that little extra element to make it commercial. While it did work for that reason, the original rap-free version is superior. There’s a nice keyboard line dancing along with the crunchy guitars, and Moody lets it rip with a tasteful solo. This version emerged officially on Fallen’s 20th anniversary edition released last year.

“Cloud Nine” from The Open Door (2006)

There are a lot of interesting contrasts playing within this song from their second album—a ghostly choir of Lee’s vocals versus more anguished singing, melodic guitar against snarling riffs, and gentle piano fighting to be heard amid heavier sections. “Cloud Nine” has a multilayered, start-stop vibe to it that keeps it engaging. This breakup song is one of those Evanescence tunes that effectively combines gothic atmosphere with ‘00s metal crunch. Lee stated at the time it was the hardest song to sing from The Open Door.

“Erase This” from Evanescence (2011)

This high-powered entry from the band’s third album contrasts groove-laden verses with galloping choruses and Lee’s impassioned singing, with piano and guitars sharing equal importance. Originally called “Vanilla,” this cut was one of the last to be finished for the record and actually combined the verses from one song and the choruses from another. Not that anyone could tell from the finished track and its intense lyrics:

It’s too late to change your mind
Even though this fragile world
Is tearing apart at the seams

We can’t wash these sins away
This sinking feeling everyday
I’m waking up in someone else’s life

“Secret Door” from Synthesis (2017)

This dreamy, delicate track effectively swells through the use of lush classical instrumentation (harp and orchestral strings) gliding over gently cascading programmed rhythms. “Secret Door” is one of the most effective uses of Lee’s classical background in a rock context. Both the song and Synthesis make it easy to hear how she delved into film soundtrack work in the mid-2010s. There’s a cinematic quality at play here.

“Take Cover” from The Bitter Truth (2021)

First debuted live in 2016, Lee then dedicated “Take Cover” to “every person who ever tried to tear this band apart from inside out.” This multi-tempo, industrial-flavored deep cut is one of the heavier tracks on their last studio album, and after a militaristic snare intro it bursts into an energetic mid-tempo rocker full of dark vim and vigor. It heartily recalls the melodic metallic moments from the band’s debut.

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Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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