Alto Music Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of Evanescence's "Fallen" Album
Twenty years ago, Evanescence's debut album, "Fallen," astounded the world with its groundbreaking blend of heavy metal, orchestral strings, a full vocal choir, and Amy Lee's angelic soprano voice. The album earned five Grammy nominations and has sold over 14 million copies, ranking it as the sixth best-selling album of the new millennium. If you're a fan of nu-metal masters Linkin Park and cinematic soundtrack composer Danny Elfman, you'll be sure to find something you love in this album.
Alto Music invites you to delve deep into how Evanescence crafted and delivered this genre-defying and generation-spanning masterpiece. The "Fallen" era lineup of Evanescence included co-founders Amy Lee (lead and backing vocals, grand piano, keyboards, choral arrangements, principal songwriter) and Ben Moody (electric/acoustic guitar, backing vocals, co-songwriter), as well as David Hodges (keyboards, acoustic string arrangements, backing vocals, production additional songwriting).
The album also featured guest musicians such as drummer Josh Freese and bassist Francesco DiCosmo, a 22-piece orchestral string section, and 12 voices from The Millennium Choir. The band had a hands-on approach to the orchestra and choir arrangements, ensuring they had complete creative control over the details that make Evanescence so special.
We are thrilled to celebrate the 20th anniversary of "Fallen" and take you on a journey to discover how this album continues to captivate and inspire the imaginations of millions.
Gear Used in "Fallen":
While recording "Fallen," the band passed around a low-fi video camera and captured live footage of Josh Freese tracking drums. Despite the blurry video, Freese can be seen using the Ocean Studios house kit. The Tama Swingstar kit's simple 3-piece plus snare setup aligns perfectly with Freese's powerhouse style and understated taste. The kit is sparsely outfitted with only a single Paiste Crash, Ride, and High Hat.
Francesco DiCosmo reportedly used his Squier Standard Precision Bass Special, Squier 5-String Jazz Bass and Ampeg rig for all of the electric bass work on "Fallen." While DiCosmo is known to favor the 2001 Squier by Fender axe, there is no picture proof available. According to reports, his bass rig consisted of the venerable Ampeg SVT-CL head, run through an Ampeg 4x10 HLF speaker cabinet.
It is worth noting that the affordable "Squier by Fender" helped DiCosmo earn two Grammy nominations.
While the listed gear may not be exact versions of what was used on "Fallen," it is as close as you can get without scouring used buy and sell platforms.
NRG STUDIOS: VOCALS AND GRAND PIANO
The Millennium Choir, grand piano, and Amy Lee's well-trained, powerful, and feminine soprano voice are defining elements of the Evanescence sound. Producer Dave Fortman took advantage of the live room acoustics at NRG Studios to capture these delicate details. Fortman recalls using a pair of legendary Neumann U 67 large diaphragm transducer mics for everything recorded in the live room. The U-67 is a no-brainer choice for use with humans and grand pianos that lack an XLR or direct line.
The band's primary keyboard player, Dave Hodges, played all the keyboard parts on "Fallen," including the grand piano sections written by Amy Lee.
Neumann U67 Set Large-Diaphragm Tube Condenser MicrophoneShop Now
When not in the control room or behind the grand piano, Hodges can be seen in session photos using the 88-key Kurzweil PC88 performance controller with simulated piano action.
Avantone CV-12 Multi-Pattern Large Capsule Tube Condenser MicrophoneShop Now
Or, if you’d like to add a classic styled large diaphragm condenser mic to your collection without breaking the bank, you can start with the Avantone CV-12.
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Maybe a dedicated Synth/Controller with Piano style action is what you are after. Check out what today's Kurzweil has to offer.
MAD DOG STUDIOS: ELECTRIC GUITAR TRACKS
"Fallen" is renowned for its crushing wall of guitar tones, which were already perfected by co-founder Ben Moody before recording the album. However, Mad Dog Studios engineer and guitarist Jay Baumgardner helped Moody refine the sound even further.
Moody relied heavily on his Ibanez RG7621-7 String in Galaxy Black for songs that required tuning below drop D*. The guitar can be seen in several studio locations, thanks to the band's home movie camera. For songs in simple drop D or standard tuning, Moody used a Gibson Les Paul and an SG on loan from Baumgardner. Studio photos reveal the exact Les Paul model to be a Custom in Silverburst.
For amplification, Moody used two amps in stereo: a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier (Tremoverb) and a JCM800. Each amp is a tower of terror on its own, but when blended together, the effects are monstrous. Moody also used the Kirk Hammett Signature model Wah on the "Going Under" guitar solo.
* For songs in Drop D tuning, the low E string is tuned down to D, while for songs in low B, standard tuning on a 7-string guitar is used.
Guitar recordings for the album utilized a 4x12 Mesa cabinet, employing two Shure SM57 microphones and a 1081 Neve Preamp, which were directly connected to Pro Tools.
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The string sections on "Fallen" were recorded in the large live room at Newman sound stage, a space often utilized for film scoring by renowned composer Danny Elfman, among others who inspired lead singer Amy Lee. The final mix was completed over a two-week period at Conway Studios before being sent for mastering.
"Fallen" is a distinct and innovative take on nu-metal, blending traditional vocal and string elements with modern metal. The album spent an impressive 43 weeks in the top ten and has sold over 15 million copies worldwide to date.