Earlier this issue I called Live's painfully solemn Birds of Pray a sad failure for music-lovers on the search for Serious Rock Music With Heavy Things to Say About Life. Those disappointed listeners should look to Arkansas nü-metallers Evanescence--they're lapsed Christians who curse a lot and dig Ben Affleck! Actually, singer Amy Lee, guitarist Ben Moody and the hired hands they boss around are as stonily humorless as Live, but on Evanescence's terrific Wind-Up debut, Fallen, they illustrate how well neo-goth atmospherics, chugging guitars, fake Björk string arrangements, spooky choral vocals and an Edward Scissorhands wardrobe can stand in for flight-attendant jokes and funny hats if they're delivered with the right amount of tortured chutzpah. Ed Kowalczyk, get your ass to Ms. Lee's drama class. Florida-based openers Cold are supporting a pretty lame third album called Year of the Spider that nonetheless features the hit single "Stupid Girl," a totally enjoyable, morally reprehensible Rivers Cuomo co-write that gets closer than any of Weezer's songs to the vacuum-sealed hair-metal ideal Cuomo's been reaching toward lately. There are also songs titled "The Day Seattle Died" and "Kill the Fucking Music Industry," which Evanescence probably digs. Ride your Harley through that, Dave Grohl!
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Mikael Wood