Evanescence has sold nearly 18 million albums worldwide to date. Following their major-label debut Fallen, Evanescence continues their meteoric rise with their CD, The Open Door (Wind-up Records), which was released on October 3. The album from the two-time Grammy-winning band is defined by Amy Lee's beautiful melodies, compelling lyrics, poignant piano and stunning vocals, fused with Terry Balsamo's urgent, yet intricate guitar, to form a seamless, ethereal mixture that perfectly channels the band's hard rock and classical sensibilities. The contributions of members John LeCompt (guitar) and Rocky Gray (drums) are also evident.
"Making this record has been really intense," explains Lee. "Terry suffered a stroke last October and is still recovering, we got a new manager [Andy Lurie], and I've come out of a difficult breakup. But everything we've been through together has benefited this album." With Fallen, says Lee, the band had much to prove while defining its identity. This time, finding a cohesive writing partner in Terry Balsamo, "we really took our time crafting this album and had the freedom to express a broader range of emotions: not just pain and sadness, but also anger and, yes, even happiness."
Written late last year, The Open Door was recorded at The Record Plant in Los Angeles and mixed at Ocean Way Studios in March 2006. Marking the return of long-time friend and producer Dave Fortman, the album's musical elements include a classically-infused choir and strings on several tracks, giving further color to songs of introspection, longing, doubt, self-respect and, ultimately, empowerment. The album opens with "Sweet Sacrifice," a post-relationship catharsis that head-dives from an otherworldly intro into a hard-driving thrash of hard rock guitars and soaring rock vocals. Its first single, the mid-tempo "Call Me When You're Sober," reinforces the moving-away-from-dysfunction theme.
Other standout tracks on The Open Door include "Lithium," which embraces feeling over numbness, "All That I'm Living For," Lee's tribute to band life, "Weight of the World," her plea for perspective from the expectation of young fans, and "Good Enough," a string-and-choir-infused closer distinguished as the band's first truly (almost) contented song ("It feels really good ending the album this way," says Lee). Having toured for a year-and-a-half straight with only a month off following the release of Fallen, Evanescence hopes to hit the road this time out with a care not to neglect key markets worldwide. Its U.S. tour begins immediately after the October 3rd release of The Open Door, rewarding hardcore fans with a "sneak peak" of the album during a handful of more intimate theater dates before segueing into much larger arena shows.
Originally hailing from Little Rock, Arkansas, the band's evolving sound - a nearly mystical marriage between rock, goth and classical - was informed by a curious duality. Lee, who spent nine years studying classical piano, explains, "When I was in high school I listened to a lot of heavy bands and dark classical music. Both genres are intricate, complex types of music that are very dramatic, and I'm naturally drawn to that."
Evanescence self-released two EPs and a first full-length album, the much-sought-after Origin, before finding a home at Wind-up Records. Fallen, their major-label debut, was released in April 2003 to critical and commercial success. The internationally appealing Top 10 singles "Bring Me to Life" and "My Immortal" helped drive airplay and led to two 2003 Grammy Awards (Best New Artist and Best Hard Rock Performance for "Bring Me To Life"). Propelling the band to sales of nearly 14 million albums worldwide, Fallen spent more than 100 weeks on Billboard's Top 200 chart, was certified gold or platinum in over 35 countries, and sold out arenas globally. Anywhere But Home, their 2004 live DVD release, has sold over one million copies to date.
The inherent drama in Evanescence's music - a kind of audio odyssey that can turn on a dime from piano-led introspection to hammering guitar - has resonated with listeners everywhere. The band's aggressive core finds a counterpart in Lee's passionate vocals, lyrics that forge a connection with audiences searching for identity or struggling with feelings of desire, hope love and loss. The Open Door is a logical (but certainly not predictable) transformation of epic proportions for the band, which, in many ways has only just begun to make its mark on the music world.