The swirling, propulsive jangle of "What You Want," the first single off Evanescence's third album, sets the tone for the band's current state of high musical energy.
The self-titled record largely came together in the studio, says lead singer and co-founder Amy Lee.
"We started really working as a band - jamming together, playing and writing on the spot," recalls Lee, who performs Sunday, Oct. 30, at House of Blues at Showboat Casino-Hotel in Atlantic City.
"It was a breath of fresh air to do something outside my comfort zone and watch it work. I think I was driven to find a new energy, playing and writing with the drummer right there, keeping the tempo up.
"It made for a record that's got a real punch."
The album also followed a hiatus of several years for Lee and the band, which launched in 1995.
Evanescence made its major-label debut on Wind Up Records in 2003 with the smash hit album, "Fallen," which garnered Grammys for Best New Artist and Best Hard Rock Performance.
After the band's sophomore release, "The Open Door," Lee was ready to take a break.
"This has been the center of my life since I was a young teenager," she says. "By 2007, I wanted some time to just be me and live life. I got married that year and hung out in New York and just lived without a plan."
A year or so later, Lee started writing again for fun. Those musings turned into collaborations with Tim McCord, the band's bassist, and drummer Will Hunt, who has since joined Evanescence full-time. Some of those tunes eventually made the final cut, but the process wasn't without a few bumps.
The band's first producer didn't quite gel, but then Lee found the "perfect fit for the group's Goth-influenced pop-metal in Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Alice in Chains, Rush).
"Nick is a true passionate rock fan and rock producer," Lee says. "He really pushed the band forward."
To get everyone primed for recording Raskulinecz convened a kind of "band camp" for six months, during which he instructed Lee and her cohorts to jam away.
"It was just us and our instruments," she says. "We started to sound really good, and it gave us the confidence to make the album."
The band's sound continues to evolve from its earliest days, when Lee met Evanescence co-founder Ben Moody in the sixth grade. She was noodling around on the piano with a version of Meat Loaf's "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)."
But it's not as if Meat Loaf ever figured much as her muse. "In sixth grade, that was a really cool piano riff," Lee says. "I was playing Beethoven and Mozart before that, but Meat Loaf was (probably) the only thing Ben recognized."
It turns out the unusual combination of Mozart and the King of Pop held greater sway on the young Lee.
"I remember seeing the movie, 'Amadeus,' and getting supremely inspired," she says. "I loved Michael Jackson all through my childhood and teen-hood."
However, her discovery of grunge acts such as Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden really transformed her writing.
"There was so much great music. The way I was playing and writing changed. The combination of serious and dark classical music with this modern alternative aggression is the thing that started forming Evanescence in my head."
Nearly two decades later - and no longer collaborating with Moody, who left the group in 2003 due to creative differences - Lee is less likely to say "Rock Me Amadeus."
"I don't listen to classical that much anymore," she says. "We've developed our own sound. It comes from my heart. It's all the things I love about all types of music. There are little sprinkles of every genre in what we do."
Where Moody is concerned, Lee also has moved on.
"We're definitely better going our separate ways," she says. "(Evanescence) is in a great spot. I'm thrilled where we are as a band."
Although you might not associate the Goth stylings of Evanescence frontwoman Amy Lee with Disney's brand of pure pop, the singer-songwriter has enjoyed collaborating with the Mouse Factory.
For one project, Lee got to meet a personal idol, Oscar-winning composer Danny Elfman. She then covered "Sally's Song" for "Nightmare Revisited," a collection inspired by "The Nightmare Before Christmas" soundtrack.
For this year's "Muppets: The Green Album," she contributed her take on Robin the Frog's "Halfway Down the Stairs."
"I really appreciated the opportunity to do something outside the box," Lee says. "It wasn't Evanescence - it was me screwing around. It was fun to listen to what the other artists did. Everyone made it their own. I think artists like the opportunity to do something different.
"I'm always attracted to any opportunities for something weird and different."