Evanescence search for the spiritual
*Thanks to AmyLeeBrasil
Every time the alternative goth-inspired band Evanescence releases an album, it's hailed as their "comeback". Not because they have broken up and reunited, but because it's taken so long to make.
"People these days make records so fast ... but I guess I really feel like the more important thing is making something really great," lead singer Amy Lee says, her eyes smoky black, as she reclines on a lounge in a Sydney hotel room.
She has swapped her trademark gothic attire for a bright red dress. "I bought it at the Rocks Market this morning," she says, before continuing: "I'm not the fastest writer. I can't just crank out ideas that are good enough. For me, it's going to have to live up to everything that we have done and surpass it to keep my interest".
In 2003 Evanescence shot to fame with their album Fallen, winning two Grammy awards for "Best new artist" and "Best hard rock performance".
The delicate piano, spiritual undertones and strong minor chords attracted millions of young fans, desperate for alternate rock. It reportedly sold more than 15 million copies worldwide.
"Our following has always been a little underground and we're not that thing that's on the radio all the time," Lee, 30, says. "There is an element of cool mysterious that goes along with it."
Nine years later, their "underground" fan base is as strong as ever, she says.
This is what makes Evanescence's longstanding success even more remarkable. They have survived almost a decade but have only released three albums - their second The Open Door was released in 2006.
"I think that we were really lucky with Fallen and had a much bigger success than we could have planned for," she says. "It's afforded me having things like a few years between records to make something truly inspired the next time around."
But the fame of the group - formed in 1995 in Little Rock, Arkansas - has hardened Lee.
"It was harder for me at first," she confides. "Whether it's a relationship or what you're wearing, or how much you weigh and what you said when you didn't mean it like - it's hard to be totally under the microscope.
"But I feel better about it now. It's the confidence and experience and fans know who we are and that's cool and if somebody doesn't get it, then screw them."
The sound of their latest self-titled album is not a huge departure from Fallen, but it was more of a "group effort", Lee says - "imagine being married to five guys without the benefits."
Her Christianity and obsession with "life after death" still plays a prominent part in her writing too.
"The thing you probably mean is spiritual. For me it's on a deeper level of meaning than I would be going through if you and I were just having a conversation," she says, as though she has answered this question many times.
"I think that is a part of why people connect to it because everybody goes through that search."
But can we expect another comeback in six years?
"If it has to be a comeback record every single time, then fine then, call it that."
Evanescence play at the Sydney Entertainment Centre tonight.
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