Once promoted as a Contemporary Christian band with a star-like duo forming its nucleus, Evanescence was one of 2003’s hottest artists.

Lead singer Amy Lee, born in 1983, and co-founder Ben Moody were a couple who hailed from Little Rock, Arkansas and were just putting together a band when they were signed to Windup Records. A goth-metal band may have been a strange choice for that segment of music, and Windup honcho Alan Meltzer soon recalled the band’s album, citing their use of profanity in interviews.

His actions did little to stop Fallen from going multi-platinum, mostly on the strength of Bring Me To Life, one of two songs the band contributed to the Ben Affleck movie Daredevil. Bring Me To Life eventually reached as high as #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and led Fallen to #3 on the album charts. The single was quickly followed by My Immortal, which reached #7, and the group earned a Grammy Award for Best New Artist.

Moody left the band during a tour in mid-2003 and was replaced by Cold guitarist Terry Balsamo. Although he has written three songs with Avril Lavigne since then, Moody has been relatively quiet regarding Evanescence.

Lee and her bandmates might wish that others were as quiet. The band released Anywhere But Home, a live album recorded in Paris, in 2004, but the release stalled at #39 on the Billboard album charts. Shortly after its release, giant retailer Wal-Mart was sued for selling the release without a parental advisory sticker despite profanity in one song and the chain’s advertising claims that it would not sell music with explicit lyrics.

As 2005 started, Evanescence reached a crossroads. Despite winning two Grammys and selling millions of units, Lee and the band must now prove that Fallen was not a fluke.

–G. Bounacos