It goes without saying that Amy Lee is one of the most iconic singers in all of heavy music. The Evanescence frontwoman entered the game at a time when nu-metal's raunchier, heavier and overwhelmingly masculine first wave was turning over into a new generation of artists who were pushing the genre into new sonic and emotional registers. Lee's uniquely robust singing — fuck that, belting — voice immediately set her apart in a crowd of screamers and rappers, allowing her to undulate between tender ballads and titanic nu-metal bangers in a way no other vocalist of her ilk had the ability to.
After all these years, Lee's voice has matured and expanded along with the musical direction of her band, so we wanted to take the time and ask our readers — among which there are many Evanescence diehards — to pick the top five vocal performances in her entire catalog. Interestingly, her most popular song didn't even make the cut, which goes to show how many outstanding vocal moments her fans had to choose from. See the top five vote-getters ranked accordingly below.
While Fallen's other major single, "Bring Me to Life," is an explosive rocker, "My Immortal" showcases Lee's somber side. The piano-laden power ballad spends the majority of its runtime providing sparse, moody atmosphere for her heartfelt croon to bask in, and when the drums and distortion finally kick in, her voice erupts accordingly.
Another Fallen standout, "Going Under" is a smorgasbord of everything Lee's voice does best. Beginning with brooding mutters over jagged guitar chugs, she eventually pops off during its soaring hook, providing her own ethereal background harmonies that provide a tuneful echo to her full-throated belt of the lead melody. Simply put: It slaps.
The third single from Evanescence's self-titled 2011 album, "Lost in Paradise" is a symphonic rock ballad that sees Lee channeling the sound and style of Björk's "Jóga," giving it an ornate, orchestral feel compared to the sparseness of a track like "My Immortal." Her voice on here exercises restraint during the verses and first hook, but she really lets it rip during that final refrain — and to great effect.
"The End of the Dream," an underrated highlight from Evanescence, is all about accepting that life can be painful but appreciating the fact that we're here to feel, warts and all. It's a powerful sentiment, and Lee lets it burst through the seams of her performance on here, holding out the final word from each line during the hook in an extraordinary display of breath control.
It's hard to argue that "Lithium" isn't the one. This moody, mid-tempo ballad from the band's 2006 LP, The Open Door, features hazy clouds of distorted guitar and funereal pianos that fill in the gaps between Lee's soulful belt, which reaches peak levels of voluminous power during its pained chorus. More than just a killer singing performance, it's a prime example of Lee skillfully using her voice as an instrument that perfectly complements everything else going on around her.