Origin - Evanescence

reviewed by lec** | Monday, December 15 2008 @ 16:39:12 GMT        

Cover art

Origin

Release date: November 4, 2000
Length: 46:27
Genre: Dark Rock

Tracklist
  1. Origin
  2. Whisper
  3. Imaginary
  4. My Immortal
  5. Where Will You Go
  6. Fields of Innocence
  7. Even in Death
  8. Anywhere
  9. Lies
  10. Away From Me
  11. Eternal
8/10
excellent
Reviews » Music

Your rating: [n/a]

Origin is the first more serious musical work of American dark rock band Evanescence, released before the band gained global popularity with Fallen in 2003. Though the band's singer Amy Lee described it as a "dressed-up demo CD" rather than a real album release, it is a milestone in the band's history (with songs being referred to as "pre-Origin" or "post-Origin" on various fan boards and web pages) and listeners usually love it.

It's difficult not to love the early Evanescence sound this album demonstrates. The feel of their earliest music (from the Evanescence EP) is cast into a new surrounding, hinting at Fallen. Origin is a link that shows the connection between the old and new, revealing a change in their sound. Each song is good in its own respect, but "Away From Me" and "Where Will You Go" appeal to me specifically. The other songs are just a margin away.

What can be heard on Origin? The album starts with a short 35-second track called "Origin" that sets the mood, starting with a curious whispering and strange clicks and metal sounds gradually getting louder and louder, until a few louder blasts of static end the noise, and all that can be heard is something a bit like screaming, and two sound clips are played: "You hold the answer deep within your own mind" and "Death in its most hideous form". It's actually quite scary. The track blends completely into the next song, Whisper, which kicks off immediately, bursting with energy and power. Whisper may be one of my favourite Evanescence songs of all time, and it has a longer history than most other tracks (starting with the Whisper EP in 1998); personally I find it fascinating to see how the song evolved through time to the latest version on Fallen (there are 6 versions of it to date).

As track number three, Origin presents an early rendition of Imaginary, with a piano-and-vocal introduction that's absolutely perfect by my standards. It's not as epic as the Fallen one, but it is old-style Evanescence, which is likable. My Immortal is as sad and sentimental as always, not that different from later versions.

The next block of five songs is pretty special and characteristic. Most of them are new songs made for the album, and all of them are very good. Where Will You Go, for example, is a great one: pipe organs, piano and the distinct feel of their early work. The chorus is really good, in particular, as is the case with Fields of Innocence. The latter is another song I hold in extremely high regard - I just love this sound, it's almost like it was custom-tailored to my personal taste. The choir singing in Latin in the middle is cool, as is Ben Moody's poem reciting. Though with "Iesu, rex admirabilis" (meaning "O Jesus, wonderful king!") it's easy to notice how the big "Evanescence is christian rock" misconception came about.

Even in Death adds some tragedy with its melancholic, slow and mourning chorus and loving lyrics. Anywhere is more optimistic, and has a high instant appeal factor (Ben Moody at work!), singing about "leaving here tonight" with some dear love. The song is nice, and people usually like it - I like its steady beat and the optimistic, happy guitar playing. Lies, being the next song in line, is completely the opposite. It might be among Evanescence's most threatening and bleakest at the same time; it's got the old sound, but it's very dark and moody with the sharp guitars and Amy's choir-like divisions. The song features some interesting singing close to death grunting, which is far from any other song by the band.

The final song is the 7-and-a-half minute long Eternal, which is their only completely instrumental-only song. It's comprised of three parts - an intro that's extremely impressive and danceable, a beautiful and crystalline piano-only center part that's quieter and more withdrawn, with the sounds of pattering rain and thunder in the background, and a third part (which was originally a separate song called Demise), featuring the theme from "Fields of Innocence" with its tempo slowed-down and with a drop in pitch. This is the last thing you hear on Origin.

In case you like Evanescence but haven't heard Origin, you have to give it a listen. It's one of those albums that I take songs from in many compilations I make, and it's not hard to understand why. Origin, along with the Evanescence EP remains beloved among fans, and is really a great release in the genre of rock/dark rock. The early Evanescence sound is no way near as heavy and gothic-sounding as The Open Door, nor is it as energetic and angsty as Fallen. It sounds tense and distant, but overall shines with some optimism and has a good-natured quality to it.

The Origin CD was released in a limited number of copies (only 2,500 discs were printed) so getting an original release is very difficult. Numerous sellers on eBay just sell "pirated" (should I say "homemade"?) copies of the disc for unnecessarily high sums. Since the band aren't getting any of this money, they said in an interview that fans should just download it instead of being tricked into buying a fake copy. One of the most popular Evanescence reference sites, evanescencereference.info generously provides a download page where you can download high-quality versions of their early work (Origin included) for free. Check out their music area if you don't have Origin and are interested.

Finally...
The album is not as sophisticated and textured as Evanescence's newer work, but is a great rock album that can be listened to over and over again. It's "potable" as I would call it, because it's easy to listen to even as background music (Eternal especially).

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