In the near 20 years since their debut album Fallen was released, Evanescence have shifted millions of records (propelled in no small part by the breakout success of massive singles like Bring Me To Life and Call Me When You're Sober), firmly establishing themselves as icons for a new generation of metal fan as they took their stunning shows around the world.
But while they might have come at the very tail end of the nu metal boom, that hasn't stopped them from enjoying the same massive levels of success as peers like Slipknot, Korn and Limp Bizkit. On November 30 the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) awarded Fallen Diamond status for reaching over ten million sales and equivalent streams in the United States.
It's a monumental achievement, and a reflection of the band's status as one of the most iconic metal bands to emerge from the 21st Century. Speaking in the latest issue of Metal Hammer, frontwoman Amy Lee and Korn vocalist Jonathan Davis reflected on the pressures they felt to fit into the nu metal mold in the early 2000s.
“I have a feeling Jonathan may feel the same, but I don’t like boxes," Amy says. "As artists we are unique. The real value in something is being who you are and not trying to fit into a certain genre. I want the freedom to make whatever music comes out of my soul. When [2003 debut album] Fallen came out, I was fresh out of school and I was like a cartoon of myself; it felt like nobody got me, it was just a 2-D representation of me based on people only knowing a couple of songs. I really struggled with that.”
Jonathan: “For me, we were making Untouchables, and that was when so many bands were coming out and jumping on the bandwagon. Now I don’t mind the tag ‘nu metal’ – they named an entire subgenre after my band? Holy shit! That’s cool! – but punk-ass, crazy Korn back then, we were like, ‘What the fuck? Fuck everyone! We’re going to make this insane record.’ Keep people guessing. It had become a parody of itself – I don’t want to be defined like that! Nowadays, I don’t care, but back then, I hated it.”
Balk at it as they may, both bands are indelibly linked to the enduring appeal of nu metal, Fallen still regarded as one of the genre's greatest releases, its sales still going strong as it approaches its 20th year.
You can still order the new issue of Metal Hammer online with Amy Lee and Jonathan Davis on the cover. Two icons, one fascinating interview.