Evanescence – Fallen

October 25, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Posted in Evanescence | Leave a comment
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  1. Going Under
  2. Bring Me To Life
  3. Everybody’s Fool
  4. My Immortal
  5. Haunted
  6. Tourniquet
  7. Imaginary
  8. Taking Over Me
  9. Hello
  10. My Last Breath
  11. Whisper
  12. My Immortal (Band Version)
  13. Farther Away

I’ve never been big on rock when I was younger and I’m still the same. I lean towards pop more than any other genre but Evanescence was the first rock band that I fell in love with and it only took one song to win me over. Fallen is an amazing debut with intense and soothingly dark productions. The major players of the band are Ben Moody, guitarist, and Amy Lee, vocalist, who formed the group in 1997. Amy’s voice is hauntingly beautiful. Her voice soars into angst, angry and emotional tones that are extraordinary. A lot of blood, sweat and tears have been shed during the eight year period this album was being developed and you can feel it through lyrics which are so personal. It may have taken them long time to create the album but it gained them world-wide success within minutes.

Now I will tell you what I’ve done for you,” an exasperated Amy sings as Going Under begins. Gothic guitars and drums join her immediately and fill the song with a sense of loathing. She sings in a deep voice in the verses and her second layer of vocals harmonize with her main vocals to create a twisted tone, “don’t want your hand this time, I’ll save myself/maybe I’ll wake up for once (wake up for once).” Her backing vocals are sung in a higher vocal register and the pre-chorus uses the same range while the arrangement strips down to a short piano section. In the chorus, the guitars come back stronger than before and Amy’s aggressive delivery gives off so much energy. Her backing vocals are amazing and enhance the chorus’ intensity, “I’m going under (going under)/drowning in you (drowning in you)/I’m falling forever (falling forever)/I’ve got to break through/I’m going under.” The second verse throws in whispering vocals that raise the unsettling atmosphere and the bridge features a terrific guitar riff. Bring Me To Life is the song that introduced me to them and it’s their biggest hit. That’s not surprising, to say the least, because it is phenomenal in every sense of the word. The introductory set of strings and piano establish a sublime and dark atmosphere that affects all of your senses. Amy’s angelic voice, painfully expressive and calm, seeps in while the underlining rock elements begin to break in, “how can you see into my eyes like open doors/leading you down into my core.” This is seriously one of the best openings to a track I’ve heard and it takes a hold of you, refusing to let go until the second it’s over. Halfway through its first verse the rock instruments become fully integrated and she sings with more assertiveness to match the edgier melody. The chorus, which features Paul McCoy from 12 Stones, is an exhilarating rush of drums, guitars and fantastic vocals from both singers, “(wake me up) wake me up inside/(I can’t wake up)wake me up inside/(save me)/call my name and save me from the dark.” The pain, anger and emotion that they convey is beyond amazing and the power of this track is so exhilarating. The bridge takes it to a symphonic level as the strings battle with the guitar while Amy and Paul deliver the highlight, “all this time I can’t believe I couldn’t see/kept in the dark but you were there in front of me/I’ve been sleeping a thousand years it seems/got to open my eyes to everything.” It hasn’t aged at all and it’s still the greatest rock song ever.

Everybody’s Fool has a misleading acoustic guitar intro with a church-like air that is quickly replaced by rock instruments. It’s not as heavy as the previous songs but it’s still got a great amount of power. The song deals with a subject that’s been covered by many artists, celebrities with false images, but the band takes it to an alternate route with their rock influence, “look here she comes now/bow down and stare in wonder/oh how we love you/no flaws when you’re pretending.” The chorus increases the guitar and drum beat but other than that there’s no real change between the verses and chorus. Unexpectedly, the bridge features a choir that backs up Amy’s passionate vocals, bringing back the church influence from the intro. “You’re not real and you can’t save me/somehow now you’re everybody’s fool,” she sings as the choir and instrumentation come to a climatic close. My Immortal is a breathtaking gothic piano ballad and another one of the bands popular tunes. There’s an immediate sense of dread as the piano enters with Amy’s pain-ridden vocals. “These wounds won’t seem to heal/this pain is just too real/there’s just too much that time cannot erase,” she laments as a set of strings intertwine with the piano as it leads into the heart-wrenching chorus. It’s depressing, tragic and you feel the lingering, unwanted presence that Amy wants to be released from so desperately, “when you cried I’d wipe away all of your tears/when you’d scream I’d fight away all of your fears/and I held your hand through all of these years/but you still have/all of me.” The strings play a larger role in the second verse and the bridge has her performing in a much higher tone with a more fleshed out string arrangement. The song comes to an end with ad-libs, backing vocals and a dying piano riff. This is beautiful and breathtaking from start to finish, an Evanescence classic.

The band delves into a darker and horrifying sound for the next track, Haunted. The ominous instrumental is paired with two sets of Amy’s vocals, one that is hoarse which enhances the unsettling nature and the other layer is sung in a high register, “long lost words whisper slowly to me/still can’t find what keeps me here.” A beeping heart monitor acts as a transition into the chorus where the song bursts into hard rock with angry guitar riffs, drums and intense vocals, “watching me, wanting me/I can feel you pull me down/fearing you, loving you/I won’t let you pull me down.” The guitar solo in the breakdown is epic as it’s paired with a gothic choir. This leads to a wicked final chorus sung by the choir and has Amy vocalizing wonderfully. Tourniquet was my absolute favourite song when I was younger and I still love it to death. I only just found out that it’s a cover of My Tourniquet by Christian death metal band Soul Embraced. Evanescence took and made it a masterpiece. The original is a nightmare of screaming vocals and it lacks everything I love about this version. “I tried to kill the pain/but only brought more,” Amy sings with distorted vocals after the fantastic introductory guitar riffs and her natural voice comes in, bringing life to the song as the guitars return. The chorus is repetitive but the angelic backing vocals and heavy guitars make it so catchy, “my God my tourniquet/return to me salvation.” The guitar melody is switched up for the bridge where she terrifyingly screams, “I want to die.” After she sings her last line the song fades into a gorgeous string section that concludes this amazing tune.

The heavenly mid-tempo Imaginary makes itself known with its intro which has Amy vocalizing beautifully along with a majestic set of strings that are quickly replaced by electric guitars. The verses pair her sweet lullaby singing with an acoustic setting of piano and guitars that brings a fresh air to the album. This doesn’t last for long because the chorus is full-on rock but unlike the other tracks there’s an alluring and soothing feel to it. The harmonization of her backing vocals are executed brilliantly and the lyrics are so good, “in my field of paper flowers/and candy clouds of lullaby (flowers)/I lie inside myself for hours/and watch my purple sky fly over me (flowers).” The bridge is totally unexpected and it’s amazing. Two pianos are utilized with strings and Amy’s vocals flow beautifully to the melody, “oh, how I long for the deep sleep dreaming/the goddess of imaginary light.” The light atmosphere explodes into a shadowy set of heavy guitars and a choir that brings a gloomy air over the instrumental. I love the blend of light and dark on this track and it’s very refreshing. Taking Over Me is another flawless track and I love it so much. Beginning with a sweet piano, Amy’s voice fills the track with a heartbreaking tone. Her voice is so emotional and the lyrics play a large role in my love for this track, “but who can decide what they dream?/and dream I do.” As it progresses, the percussion and guitar come in and explode in chorus where she desperately sings, “I believe in you/I’ll give up everything just to find you/I have to be with you to live to breathe/you’re taking over me.” Backing vocals are used abundantly throughout and they are amazing as usual, taking it to another level. Things get more emotionally overwhelming when the chorus receives a piano-driven down-tempo makeover. It’s one of the most memorable, addicting and amazing songs on the album.

I never really listened to Hello when I was younger and I regret not giving it attention because it’s a beautiful ballad dedicated to Amy’s sister, who passed away at the age of three. It’s more depressing than the first ballad because of how personal it is to Amy. The accompanying piano is her main support and the two hold each other up throughout the tragic ambience. Her voice is at its most vulnerable, stripped-down and raw, evoking an immense sense of love and sadness, “playground school bell rings again/rain clouds come to play again/has no one told you she’s not breathing?/hello I’m your mind giving you someone to talk to.” Lamenting strings make a short appearance near the end and the way she raises her register halfway through singing “hello” is absolutely stunning. At this moment, she expresses a tremendous amount of pain and it just pulls at your heart. It’s the simplest track but it’s also the most touching. My Last Breathe is a unique inclusion because it has some electronic influences and it has a very hardcore rock sound. The verses are on the quiet side and Amy performs with soft vocals to match the melody but once the chorus takes over it’s a collision of crazy rock instruments and powerful vocals, “holding my last breath/safe inside myself/are all my thoughts of you/sweet raptured light it ends here tonight.” It gets darker in the bridge where the drums become hectic with an underlining set of deep vocals. The energy doesn’t die from this moment on and Amy’s strong vocals carry it to its finish.

The album continues on with the hardcore sound from the previous song and takes it a step further with Whisper. The guitar riff is so intense and infectious but like many of their tracks it fades for the verses which contains minimal percussion beats and a soft piano. During the pre-chorus, she sings with an operatic choir and the song crescendos into gritty guitars for the wicked chorus where Amy performs with loud vocals, “don’t turn away (don’t give in to the pain)/don’t try to hide (though they’re screaming your name).” The bridge is quite intense due to the haunting choir and Amy’s whispering, dark vocals, “fallen angels at my feet/whispered voices at my ear/death before my eyes.” I love the finale of the song because it’s the first track to feature a Latin choir, becoming the darkest moment on the album. It’s epic and brings a completely different feel to the composition. My Immortal (Band Version) is the definitive version of the song and it improves every aspect of the original. The piano is clearer and Amy’s vocals, which have been redone, are stronger and she sounds even better. Backing vocals have been added to the chorus to give it more impact and it ends up making it even more emotional than before. The biggest difference of this version compared to the first is the inclusion of the band at the end. All the emotion is built up in the bridge, “I’ve tried so hard to tell myself that you’re gone/but though you’re still with me/I’ve been alone all along,” and unlike the other one where it becomes pent-up, this version releases all of it through the guitar and drum segment that bursts in, almost like a sigh a relief. It fits in perfectly and it sounds much better as a rock ballad. Farther Away is included on the Japanese release of the album and I only just heard it a few months ago. After a sick guitar solo, pounding drums dominate the verses and they’re very forceful along with Amy’s bitter vocals, “and now I see what I really am/a thief a whore, and a liar.” The guitar appears in the chorus, only now more aggressive and grittier, and the distorted backing vocals are an excellent addition, “I run to you (and run away from this hell)/call out your name (giving up, giving in).” It’s very addicting, heavy and amazing. In the end, Amy continuously repeats “farther away” powerfully and shows off her amazing melisma while the song fades into a fantastic drum sequence.

Conclusion: Fallen is an incredible rock album and one of the most iconic. It caters to the mainstream market but it’s done exceptionally well, so well that it hasn’t aged at all. There’s not a single song that I can say I dislike and they’re all massively addicting. Amy’s voice is astonishing. She has one of the most beautiful and angelic voices I’ve heard. It’s the ideal voice to accompany the gothic compositions and she’s the main reason why I love this band. The ballads are depressing but gorgeous and the harder tracks will have you pumped, full of energy. It’s such an exciting and invigorating release. Sure it’s dark, depressing and what some would call downright emo but that is what is so great about it.

Recommended Tracks: Bring Me To Life, My Immortal (Band Version), Going Under, Tourniquet, Taking Over Me, Imaginary and Hello

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