Absence may not necessarily make the heart grow fonder, but being away apparently doesn’t mean your fans totally forget you. What brings me to this conclusion? The fact that after a lengthy absence, Evanescence bows atop the Billboard album chart with their self-titled third album. Amy Lee and…and…who the hell else is in Evanescence these days?…bow with 127,000 copies sold. It’s a far cry from the 447,000 that greeted their last album, The Open Door five years ago, but it’s still a healthy sum for a band that most people (well OK, maybe just me) had already given up for dead. Hell, even the band’s breakthrough album, 2003’s Fallen, re-enters the chart this week at #81 on a sales increase of 114%. Bring me to life, indeed!

Evanescence scores the first of five albums to debut in the Top 10. Rock outfit Five Finger Death Punch score an impressive first week, surpassing expectations with 91,000 units sold and landing at #3. They are joined by “American Idol” runner up Lauren Alaina at #5, singer/songwriter Ryan Adams returning at #7, and country star Martina McBride popping in at #10.

Outside the Top 10, there’s some good news, and there’s some bad news. Bad news first? No one appears to give a GGD about any of the Jonas Brothers anymore (Justin Bieber, beware…this may be you in two years.) Joe Jonas’s first solo effort, Fastlife, debuts at a mediocre #15 with just over 18,000 units sold. Meanwhile, R&B singer Johnny Gill, back after a fifteen year absence, starts at a healthy #17 with his latest, Still Winning. It’s actually the highest-ranked R&B album on the whole chart (dependent on whether you consider Adele to be R&B or not). Johnny’s not the first veteran R&B singer to score a surprisingly high chart ranking. Record company folks, take note. Soul music fans are out there and they’ll scoop stuff up-you just have to put it out!

A busy release week also results in debuts from the likes of Bjork (#27), Peter Gabriel (#30) and Erasure (#60), remix albums from Britney Spears and Radiohead debut at #46 and #48 respectively, and a Ben Folds anthology starts off at #61.

Also worth noting-Scotty McCreery’s debut album adds another 88,000 units to it’s total (at #4). In another week or so, it will have already outsold the album from last year’s “American Idol” winner, Lee DeWyze.

Next week, without a super-smash debut on the decks, it’s looking like Adele may return to #1 yet again. Record retailers are already bemoaning the lack of a massive 4th quarter release in the vein of last year’s Taylor Swift album, but with albums from Coldplay (out next week) and Drake on the immediate horizon, as well as holiday efforts from the likes of Susan Boyle, Michael Buble and Justin Bieber, something tells me folks won’t be hurting too bad.

Check out the full top 20 after the jump…

1) Evanescence | Evanescence
2) 21 | Adele
3) American Capitalist | Five Finger Death Punch
4) Clear As Day | Scotty McCreery
5) Wildflower | Lauren Alaina
6) Duets II | Tony Bennett
7) Ashes & Fire | Ryan Adams
8) Own the Night | Lady Antebellum
9) Tha Carter IV | Lil Wayne
10) Eleven | Martina McBride
11) Cole World: The Sideline Story | J. Cole
12) Torches | Foster the People
13) Watch the Throne | Jay-Z & Kanye West
14) My Kinda Party | Jason Aldean
15) Fastlife | Joe Jonas
16) Footloose (2011) Soundtrack | Various Artists
17) Still Winning | Johnny Gill
18) Hunter Hayes | Hunter Hayes
19) Now That’s What I Call Music 39 | Various Artists
20) Tailgates & Tanlines | Luke Bryan

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