With a couple of brand-new songs in the set of its current fall tour, Evanescence is signaling that it's clearly on the path toward a new album -- its first since 2011's self-titled effort. But it may not be wise for fans to hold their breath waiting.
"The wheels are turning, but we're not on a set schedule yet and a path yet to when that's going to happen," frontwoman and sole remaining founding member Amy Lee tells Billboard. "We have this very beautiful scrap pile [of songs] we've been collecting and hoarding for a few years now. We have the vision but we don't have all the songs. We're going to have to get to work and actually make the album."
The album, whenever it happens, will follow The Ultimate Collection, a six-LP vinyl box set of all of Evanescence`s studio releases coming Dec. 9, which adds a bit of pressure to the eventual project.
"I feel like the bar is definitely high," Lee says. "Every time we make an album, I know if I don't wait until I have a true, inspired idea of how to take it to the next level, I'm not going to do anything 'cause there's no way we're gonna put something out that not only lives up to the last one that we did, but in some way surpasses it. No pressure, right?" she adds with a laugh.
And don't be surprised if there's more than one next thing from Evanescence, either. "We do have plans for something coming up in the near future, but I'm not talking about it yet. It's not going to be a traditional album," Lee teases. "So there's a couple things happening."
Evanescence has been playing one new song, "Take Cover," on its tour, which Lee says "was at the top of the heap [of new songs], so we took it and sort of worked it as a band. We wanted this tour to be about listening to the fans' requests and playing some things we haven't played in a long time, and we knew they wanted to hear some new things too. So that's been really fun." The group is also playing "Even in Death," a track from its previously unreleased Origin demo album that the group made a new recording of for the box set.
"It really felt like redemption, like that song was truly redeemed because the early recording we have is not an enjoyable recording, but I really love that song," Lee says. "It was a beautiful experience to be able to take that and live in it now and give it the treatment I would give to any one of our songs with the ability I have now. Now I'm in love with that song again." Lee also has a more sympathetic view of Origin, which is included as part of The Ultimate Collection.
"It's something I've always cringed about because ever since we made a real studio album and honed in our sound and became Evanescence and made Fallen, I'm like, 'OK, everything before this we were just practicing,'" Lee explains. "But many fans love Origin and talk about Origin and wish Origin would be released. I've been against it for 13 years, but for the first time I guess I have enough separation from it to look at it and feel like, 'Y'know what? I see why that's cool. As a fan, I want to listen to that too.' So having that whole change of heart was really huge."
Before its return to the stage at OZZFest Japan last November, Evanescence has been on a hiatus of several years. During that time, Lee had a baby, Jack Lion (now 2 years old), wrote and recorded some film music and made the children's album Dream Too Much with members of her family. Now, however, she's feeling rededicated to the band she started more than two decades ago in Little Rock, Arkansas.
"I've always got to put some space in between real life and this amazing and horrifying mega-monster that Evanescence is in my life," Lee says. "If I don't separate myself from it a little bit, I start to go crazy. But now I definitely feel this new inspiration and a sense of, 'OK, it's time.' I always have to wait until I have that feeling, that inspiration, that drive and desire. I just have to want to do it. But it's a huge part of me. It's this beautiful playground where I can go and make badass rock music and I love it and I'm not going to let it die. I've fought for it this long; We're definitely going to keep it alive."