Evanescence
Fallen


3.5
great

Review

by soundguardian USER (1 Reviews)
December 5th, 2012 | 32 replies | 3,298 views


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: While never truly making too interesting of an innovative musical statement, the lyricism in conjunction with gorgeous vocals make an emotional one.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

It is, in general, and in especial at first appearance, essentially just another nu metal album following the wake of works by Anthrax, Pantera, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, and Korn, all of whom pioneered, engaged, or at least dappled into the genre to some degree (all to varying success).

Although a refreshing idea of fusing multiple genres like rap, metal, goth rock, post-punk, and electronica, and derived from such interesting and diverse styles like the rap metal of Rage Against the Machine and Faith No More [one could even make an argument that the 1989 masterpiece "Epic" was the first widely-distributed Nu Metal song], the industrialism of Nine Inch Nails, the high octane of Jane's Addiction, and the unique metal styling of Primus (among many other influences), nu metal is usually received to mixed reviews. Nu metal has continually proven to yield nothing much new to contemporary music stylistically (once its features have been explored and become fatigued, it all blurs together and is no longer unique).

At once, however, Amy Lee et al have successfully crafted a record that retains what effective traits nu metal hosts, while discarding most of the overused and annoyingly predictable characteristics. The symphonic and piano ballad nature of half the songs - most notably "Hello" [ballad], "My Immortal" [ballad, symph], periodically “Imaginary” [symph, ballad], the introduction/outro of “Bring Me To Life” [ballad], and the outro of "Tourniquette" [symph] and “Whisper” [symph] – paired with the heavier elements of grungy guitar riffs and loud choruses throughout the rest of the record demonstrate a mastery of fusion between symphonic, ballad, goth, and grunge genres. On the other hand, nu metal characteristics of scratching and sampling, which seem to have been exhausted in Hybrid Theory and Meteora, are absent. There is also no rapping element, with exception to the guest backup vocalist Paul McCoy of 12 Stone in “Bring Me to Life”, a track which stands alone as a great work unto itself (and in fact, it’s the most nu metal song of all on the entire record).

As characteristic of nu metal, there are no guitar solos, which either detracts from the musicality of the album or heightens the impact of Amy Lee's powerful and crystal-smooth vocals (this is, of course, open to interpretation). The variety in musical elements in each song and the diversity in song meanings set them apart enough that the record as a whole doesn’t become bland, while some commonalities between the songs – like the powerful, poignant, and silky vocals, and the rugged guitar riffs – meld it into a cohesive whole. Particulars follow:

"Haunted" is just a strange song overall, slowly, inevitably and heavily immersing you into the horror of Ben Moody’s story about a male spirit detaining a girl inside a mansion for over ten years. Gothic style harmonization in backing vocals such as those in "Everybody's Fool" and "Whisper" induce a creepy vibe unseen in most post-grunge and nu metal work. This is fresh. So is the acoustic introduction in the former. By contrast, distortion in the guitars and voice in "Tourniquet" are highly post-grunge, and songs like “My Last Breath” and “Taking Over Me” are straight-up nu metal / post-grunge, bearing very little musical impact or importance (although catchy as hell or lyrically meaningful). Even the beloved “Going Under”, while potent, lacks distinctive musical elements. I believe this track gains such notoriety on account of the narrator’s strong will to rise above an unreciprocated relationship, which is embodied in Amy Lee’s robust voice.

Yes, what I really feel holds this album together is the emotional breadth of Lee and Moody’s lyricism fit to catchy, haunting, or beautiful melody, and performed with Lee’s “Tori Amos – esque” robust voice. “Going Under” was inspired by her own experience with a physically and emotionally destructive relationship. “Everybody’s Fool” criticizes the pretentious, self-indulging iconic figures of American multimedia, condemning how the influence of pop culture icons is destroying the moral fabric of society. The inspiration of the song came when Lee’s 8-year-old sister became enamored with the trends, fashions, and music artists / movie actors of pop culture. “The whole Hollywood [scene]… is fake… it’s really hurting a lot of girls’ and women’s self-images” [Lee] proclaimed Lee during an interview, when asked about the song. “My Immortal”, based on another Moody ghost scenario, depicts a spirit haunting a grieving loved one. The spirit fails to reach closure that he must separate from her after death, until warded away by its lover’s prospect to move on with her life. It’s the fact that your lover is “haunting you until you actually wish that the spirit were gone because it won't leave you alone” [Moody] that invokes such a distressing mood in this track. The song deals with lost loved ones in a somber manner, with free rubato and expressivity harkening back to the impressionistic era. “Hello” deals with a darker side of Lee’s life, this time concerning a different sister. It highlights her reaction and the emotional trial she passed as a child when her younger sister, Bonnie, perished from a childhood disease. The progression is a fairly common psychological reaction: first ignorance of the event, then disbelief as a coping mechanism (fashioning in her mind the lie that the event never occurred), refusal to entertain the help from specialists (“don’t try to fix me, I’m not broken”), and then ultimately acceptance that the sister is indeed deceased. The melancholy/lamenting tone matches the theme perfectly, but it’s important to note that the song is a tribute to Bonnie Lee. “Hello”’s sister track on the album is “Taking Over Me” – Lee notices resemblances of her sister in her own mirror reflection and lays awake reminiscing about Bonnie. So much that it seems to consume her. Honestly, I feel that its perfect lyrics should have demanded better complimentary music.

“Bring Me to Life” is open to a variety of interpretations, but as Amy Lee and the band have stated it’s “not about God”, as they are religious, but not a Christian rock band. Amy Lee admits that when she met a friend of a friend – entirely a stranger – he somehow could “see inside her” [Lee] as lost in the world or dead inside behind her beautiful appearance on the surface. The principle is evocative of depersonalization or derealization disorder, which may have stemmed from earlier traumatic experiences like Bonnie’s death and Amy’s abusive relationships. The event can be summed as a person “discovering something or someone that wakens a feeling inside them that they’ve never had before” [Moody]. She even clearly states in “Imaginary” that a daydream life of “paper flowers and candy clouds” is comforting and escapist from the torment of reality, which is a stark contrast with, figuratively speaking, “cease[less] screaming for the fear of silent nights”. “My Last Breath” is a tribute to the fallen victims of 9-11, and depicts a girl confessing her love for the man in whose arms she is dying. “Tourniquet” is the only strictly religious song on the album, and was written by drummer Rocky Gray, originally of Christian death metal group Soul Embraced. A tourniquet is a medicinal device used to choke arteries and avoid continued blood loss after injury. Here, God is metaphorically a tourniquet to the narrator; subsequent to attempted suicide, the narrator pleads for exoneration of her attempted sin. The piece, in effect, questions the requirements for admittance into heaven, which is by no means a new topic. From a literal stance, the song is unrelated to drug abuse. The Latin verses of the outro to “Whisper” are: “Servatis a periculum, servatis a maleficum”, which, according to Lee, means “Save (yourselves) from danger; save (yourselves) from evil”, although this is not grammatically correct, as “a” is a preposition that takes on the ablative “pericula” and “malefica”, and servatis is in the indicative not imperative mood. This song also takes on religious undertones, perhaps of resisting the temptation of evil, of contemplating suicide, of a descent to Hell, or the likes.

Track Picks: “Bring Me to Life” [9.5]; “My Immortal” [10]; “Hello” [9.5]; “Everybody’s Fool” [9]; “Going Under” [8.5]
Tier II: "Haunted" [7]; "Imaginary" [7.5];
Tier III: "Tourniquette" [6]; "My Last Breath" [6.5]; "Whisper" [6]
Weak: "Taking Over Me" [5.5]


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Comments:Add a Comment 
soundguardian
December 4th 2012



2 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

1. Note that I have changed the rating to a 3.5, as I was being too generous before.
2. Note I have made a mistake of technicality: the albums does feature one (1) guitar solo, in "Going Under", which lasts 10 or 11 seconds. It exists as a counterexample to my stipulation that the record is devoid of guitar solos, and it's actually very effective and fits nicely into the song, with smooth transitions in and out of the solo.
3. Note that one thing I forgot to mention was how the juxtaposition between Amy Lee's vocals and the distortion of guitars actually improves the experience of listening to Evanescence.
4. Note that the piano ballads are well-placed on the album to break the otherwise unremitting wave of post-grunge and nu-metal material.

DotEight
December 4th 2012



5482 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I really do like this album. Even though I know it's mediocre and bland at best, I can't help myself.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
December 4th 2012



19609 Comments


some nostalgia on here

Digging: The Who - Tommy

DotEight
December 4th 2012



5482 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Amy Lee could get the dick.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 4th 2012



15556 Comments


A lot of awkwardly worded phrases and long-winded run-on sentences, but I see potential in your descriptions and the effort that you put into the review's length. Keep writing about things you are passionate about. For the record, we have a review proofreading thread that might help you iron out some grammatical issues:

http://sputnikmusic.com/forums/showthread.php?t=577035

Also, if you want to make your review rating a 3.5, you can go to your profile page, "edit my reviews/albums", click on your review, and change the rating.

Digging: The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream

cinaedus
December 4th 2012



26447 Comments


sowing helping out newfags. i remember when he helped me all those years ago < 3

Digging: The Suicide Machines - Destruction By Definition

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
December 4th 2012



28369 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i remember when he was a newfag oh, sleeper, those were the days

Digging: Kimbra - The Golden Echo

DotEight
December 4th 2012



5482 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Lakes shut the fuck up.

cinaedus
December 4th 2012



26447 Comments


why do you hate me i've never even talked to you before

DotEight
December 4th 2012



5482 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"why do you hate me i've never even talked to you before"

Because every comment you've made is the definition of being a troll?

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 4th 2012



15556 Comments


Take it to the shoutboxes fellas. No need to clutter a new user's review thread.

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
December 4th 2012



28369 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

jesus christ lakes what the fuck

ChopSuey
December 4th 2012



2392 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

TROLOLOLOLOL

DotEight
December 4th 2012



5482 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

" Take it to the shoutboxes fellas. No need to clutter a new user's review thread."

You're right. I'm sorry.

cinaedus
December 4th 2012



26447 Comments


You should know that my posts are rarely supposed to be taken seriously

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
December 4th 2012



28369 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

http://moaropeth.tumblr.com/tagged/lakes

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
December 4th 2012



28369 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

band sucks. always have. always will.


andcas you are so dumb sometimes... literally how could you type that out.

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
December 4th 2012



28369 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

singular noun sucks. singular noun always has.

OR

plural noun suck. plural noun always have.

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
December 4th 2012



28369 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

no no evanesence has always been shit. i only 5 this because one song was in a fan-made kingdom hearts video that i watched on youtube like 5 billion times back when i was a fat mall goth girl.

Keyblade
December 4th 2012



14615 Comments


sowing helping out newfags. i remember when he helped me all those years ago < 3

damn how old were you like 10?

Digging: Kacica - Kacica



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