Amy Lee has escaped to New York City. Raised in Arkansas, Evanescence’s 24-year-old singer and one of pop’s most searing voices recently relocated from L.A. to Union Square. The three trying years that followed Evanescence’s emergence from the Christian-rock scene undoubtedly sent her in search of a new home: Lee’s co-songwriter/ex-boyfriend quit mid-tour, and she later sued her former manager—charging, among other things, that he sexually assaulted her—and suffered a nasty breakup with Seether front man Shaun Morgan. Evanescence’s 2003 debut, the goth-metal juggernaut Fallen, sold about 6.5 million copies in the U.S. alone, and The Open Door, their highly anticipated new disc, comes late in a year when rock bands are scarcer than ever on the charts. The band is poised to reconquer them. The Open Door bristles with righteous anger, but the two-ton guitar and meticulously produced arrangements are stately, even pretty, betraying an unusual influence: Scandinavian art-metal, beloved by aficionados for its excursions into the pastoral and emphasis on choirlike melody. Lee, however, whispers and wails with a pain and ambivalence closer in spirit to the blues. “The Only One” is an almost sultry, industrial-inflected entreaty to an absent God, animating the mighty struggle with faith that the religious and lapsed all share. Welcome to Amy Lee’s own private purple state.
—The Open Door, Wind-Up; October 3. Next: Justin Timberlake Gets Dirty