In the early part of the 21st century, the rock scene was dominated by a new era of indie rock, one that had rebelled against the nü-metal of the turn of the century and developed a whole new aesthetic that covered both the sonic and visual worlds. Bands like the Strokes, the White Stripes, the Hives and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were doing new things with rock constructions that were simultaneously looking forward and looking back. It was a thrilling time to be a rock fan. But in 2003, the band that made the biggest impact had nothing to do with that trend. Evanescence seemingly came from nowhere, released their debut album Fallen on this day in 2003 and proceeded to lay waste to most of the rock universe for the rest of the year.
Co-founded by charismatic singer Amy Lee and guitarist Ben Moody in Little Rock, Arkansas, Evanescence went from a summer camp project to a successful local band almost overnight. The group recorded a pair of EPs, which lead to a deal with Wind-Up Records (the label that brought Creed into the world) and the recording and release of Fallen.
Full of loud guitars and goth leanings, Fallen brings together the jagged thump of nü-metal and Lee’s dark, haunting voice, a lovely instrument that at its best recalled Tori Amos or Sinead O’Connor. The first single “Bring Me to Life” picked up traction because of its attachment to the movie “Daredevil” (it was featured in the film’s trailer) and kick-started a massive year that saw Fallen sell seven million copies in the United States, score another big single (“My Immortal”) and take home two Grammy Awards (Best New Artist and Best Hard Rock Performance for “Bring Me to Life”). Evanescence have gone through a tumultuous swing since the success of Fallen (Lee is the only original member of the band left, and they haven’t released any new music since 2006’s The Open Door), but for a little while there, they were on top of the world.