Singer Amy Lee and guitarist/songwriter Ben Moody, founders of the group, met while in their early teens. "We were at a youth camp," Moody recalls. "During some sort of recreational period held in a gymnasium, I heard Amy playing Meat Loaf's 'I'd Do Anything for Love' at the piano. So, I went over to meet her and she started singing for me. I was pretty much blown away, so I suckered her into joining a band with me." Some sucker job!
Evanescence became a local hit with a goth anthem called "Understanding (Wash It All Away)," and they released an independent album, Origin, soon after. As they were mastering Origin in Memphis, the group was overheard by producer Pete Matthews. Impressed, he gave Evanescence a referral to Wind-up Records, who soon signed Amy and Moody. That's when their careers blasted off.
With the addition of guitarist John LeCompt and drummer Rocky Grayk, Evanescence released its major-label debut, Fallen, which was produced by Ugly Kid Joe guitarist Dave Fortman and featured the single "Bring Me To Life." When "Bring Me To Life" was featured on the soundtrack to 2003's superhero action flick Daredevil, Evanescence immediately became a mainstream music sensation. Fallen went quintuple platinum and debuted at No. 7 on The Billboard 200 album chart, and peaked at No. 3. With hits like "Bring Me to Life" and "Going Under," the group was on a roll.
There's no quit in Amy, though. She hired Cold's Terry Balsamo to temporarily replace the AWOL Moody. Her efforts to hold the group together were justified by five 2003 Grammy nominations. They went on to win in two categories: Best New Artist and Best Hard Rock Performance (for "Bring Me To Life").
In 2007, three years after multi-platinum Fallen, Evanescence released The Open Door, an album energized by the calamities that have befallen Amy in recent years, including a break with ex-boyfriend Ben Moody, a sexual harassment lawsuit against her former manager, a bitter breakup with Shaun Morgan of Seether, a stalker, and the near death due to a stroke of writing partner Terry Balsamo. "Writing is my therapy," she says. "I didn't think it out, I just took a deep breath and let it out." The album was an instant hit.
On May 4, 2007, John LeCompt announced that he had been fired from Evanescence. He also stated that drummer Rocky Gray had decided to quit the band. Two Dark New Day members, drummer Will Hunt and guitarist Troy McLawhorn, would be joining the band to replace LeCompt and Gray for the Family Values tour.
Because of the frequent lineup changes, none of the band's first three studio albums featured the same lineup.
The band reconvened in June 2009 with a new lineup; their next studio album, Evanescence, was released in 2011. It debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart with 127,000 copies in sales and also on the Rock Albums, Digital Albums, Alternative Albums, and the Hard Rock Albums charts. The band spent 2012, with Troy McLawhorn now a full-time member, on tour in promotion of their latest album with other bands including The Pretty Reckless and Fair to Midland. Following the end of the album's tour cycle in 2012, the band entered another hiatus.
In 2015, Evanescence emerged from hiatus and announced they would resume touring; however, they denied that new Evanescence material was being produced, as Lee was focusing on a solo project instead. In addition, Balsamo left the band and was replaced by Jen Majura. Late 2016 saw additional touring from the band and a statement from Lee that Evanescence would continue. In March 2017, Lee stated Evanescence was working on a fourth album for release later in 2017. Synthesis was released worldwide on November 10, 2017, and marked a stylistic change in the band's sound.
About Synthesis Rolling Stone Magazine said "With the guitars turned low and the drama high-key, Synthesis amplifies the real Amy Lee, the way she was always meant to be heard."