It doesn’t take a psychotherapist to know that Evanescence’s Amy Lee has been something of a troubled soul.

Even as a teenager, well before her goth rock band released its debut album Fallen which would go on to sell 14 million copies, Lee’s mother worried about the dark tone of her lyrics and suggested she try some counselling. Then there were the dreams.

Recently – after a horror three years during which her childhood friend Ben Moody left the band they founded, his replacement Terry Balsamo suffered a stroke and a management wrangle dragged through the courts – she turned to a therapist.

“She showed me recurring themes in my dreams in which everything seems like normal life,” Lee says.

“For example, I’m in the garage hammering something and then I see a giant killer ant cross the floor and I know deep down that there is something under the floorboards.

“So I rip up the floorboard and it is covered with an entire carpet of these killer ants.

“Or I’m ice skating and everything is great, and then I look and there are sharks under the ice.

“There is always something looming under the surface. I don’t really feel that way right now, but I think that is my natural self – I am always waiting for the catch.”

But things have turned to a happy note recently, as Lee this month got engaged to her boyfriend of a year, Josh. It’s not the only thing that has gone well in the 25-year-old’s life.

With the release of the Australian No. 1 record The Open Door, the long-awaited follow-up to Fallen, Lee has made a fresh start. She sold her house and moved from California to New York, thereby severing ties with people who, as she says, “are only going to hurt you and be bad for you”.

“I feel like a new person. I just started over and I feel so pure and so good.

“Everything was building up and bogging me down and I finally had just had enough and put my foot down.

“I think you can definitely hear that moment in the first single and a lot of the songs. I went for the solution instead of wallowing in the problem like I seem to always do when I’m writing.”

That first single, Call Me When You’re Sober, could be seen as a not too subtle swipe at her exes, Moody, or Seether frontman Shaun Morgan. Both have admitted to having substance abuse problems.

With Moody having left almost three years ago, Lee has come to terms with band life without him. She has effectively taken control of Evanescence, but the true test came when she sat down to write The Open Door.

Lee relished following her vision and making her own decisions.

“To take control felt really good – it’s a lot of extra work, but it’s the way it ought to be because I had the vision for the band.”

“It felt like people always thought Ben did it all on the last album and that I was just the singer, but I did a lot of the music writing that I never really got credit for.”

Further drama struck the band when Balsamo had a stroke days after finishing his guitar parts for The Open Door last year. The guitarist has made a spectacular recovery from the paralysis he suffered in his arm.

“It’s strange,” says Lee with a laugh. “We listen back to it now and there will be some difficult solo or weird part and he will say, ‘Hear that – that’s the bit that gave me the stroke’.”

Evanescence play Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Boondall, on February 8.

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