Open Mind Saturated Brain

Open Mind Saturated Brain

ZEGEMA BEACH RECORDS

Monday, 12 May 2014

ENVY

BandENVY
Genres: Fucking ENVY! Errr... Punk / Post-Hardcore / Screamo / Experimental / Ambient Rock
Related artistsDove and Org.
CountryTokyo, JAPAN
Years Active1992-present
Songs: "Your Shoes and the World to Come" and "Awaken Eyes"
Albums: "All the Footprints You've Ever Left and the Fear Expecting Ahead" and "The Eyes Of Single Eared Prophet"
Years: 1999 and 2001
Label(s): HG Fact / Level Plane Records / Molaire Industries / Sonzai / Temporary Residence Limited / Rock Action Records / Nova Recordings / Daymare Recordings / Academy Fight Song / Conspiracy Records / Hydra Head
This post's artist is from the May 2014 Mix. This is track #2 and #28.
You can download the May 2014 Mix#5 right here or get the new June Mix#6 here.
For fans of: La ParadeMono, Milanku, Nous EtionsAmanda Woodward, Mesa VerdeAussitot Mort, Sed Non Satiata, The Caution Children, Vi Som Alskade Varandra Sa Mycket, RespireTel Fyr, So Hideous My Love, YageBuried Inside, Amber, Daitro, Locktender, Evylock, (old) Hopesfall, and Angel Eyes aka PROPER Screamo.

(2001)"Your Shoes And All The World To Come"

Yes, it's time. I don't know why I waited a year to post about ENVY considering it's pretty apparent that most people who check this blog already know about the band. So I figured instead of giving some elaborate history, I'll do a chronological album-by-album assessment because I have too many opinions about things. First, I'd like to tell you a little known fact about my family - we love ENVY. About 10 years ago my dad heard me playing 'Dead Sinking Story' and he inquired, "Who is this?". The next thing I know he's got a cassette copied from a cd and he's blasting it while doing woodworking on his 6-speaker...ahem, tape deck. Did I mention he was 50 at the time? Cool dad. Now he's about to turn 60 and he still jams the shit out of ENVY while driving around in his post-retirement Cooper Mini. And he's got a British accent. Needless to say, that's pretty awesome.

1998 - From Here To Eternity LP
The epic builds and softer stuff isn't really prominent here, but you can certainly hear the band's unmistakable sound, it's just less hashed out and more bland. The record itself is passable, in my opinion, but highlights include "A Vicious Circle, Again", "Off" and "Carved Numbers". As you will most likely take note, ENVY dabbles much more in the punk/hardcore spectrum on their early recordings.

1999 - Angers Curse Whispered In The Edge Of Despair LP
The first record with some mind-blowing tracks, most notably the "Unrepairable Gentleness" demo and "Angers Curse". The former can be found on 'Dead Sinking Story' while the latter shows up on the next 10" and has ENVY playing some of their faster/harder material that the band uses too seldom nowadays. "Breeze And Destiny" is another epic song, but not as phenomenal as the demo track mentioned above which is one of my all-time favourites. The demo version of "Unrepairable Gentleness"  has an unrelenting bass riff that is much more engaging than the future LP version.

2000 - Burning Out Memories EP
Early punk/hardcore with some indication of their future intentions. This sounds like it was written before the previous EP as the songs are much less gripping but still warrant a an auditory smack to the skull. Tracks like "Angels Curse" and "Echo Regenerates" definitely have that unmistakable ENVY quality and are my favourites.
"Echo Regenerates" (from 'Burning Memories')

2000 - The Eyes Of Single Eared Prophet EP
Definitely the best EP the band has ever released. The version of "Echo Regenerates" is as thick as a slab of concrete and bursts forth as the first track. "The End Of Memories" follows the breakneck formula of the previous song - and then ENVY drops the fucking bomb. "Awaken Eyes" is without a doubt one of the best songs I've ever heard in my entire life. This thing is so perfect in every way. If you can listen to this and not be moved emotionally or physically then we can't be friends.
"Awaken Eyes" (from 'The Eyes Of Single Eared Prophet')

2001 - All the Footprints You've Ever Left and the Fear Expecting Ahead LP
Holy shit. This squeaks by 'Dead Sinking Story' as my favourite ENVY full length. The combination of the band's soft and hard material crashes together in a flurry of massive soundscapes, technical precision, speed as well as subdued melodies bound together with emotionally tormented screams. The following songs are amazing: "Farewell To Words", "Lies And Release From Silence" (check out 1:50-2:50 as it will turn you to dust), "Left Hand" (quintessential ENVY), "A Cradle of Arguments and Anxiousness", "Mystery And Peace", "Invisible Thread" (crushing spacey-breakdown at the 1:27-mark, so heavy), "The Spiral Manipulation", "A Cage It Falls Into",  and the song with the greatest intro/build-up I've ever heard, "Your Shoes and the World to Come"

2003 - Dead Sinking Story LP
Arguably the best ENVY release and definitely the record that shows the slower direction of the band but is the last album that couples it with the full rage of their earlier work. Most tracks eclipse the 5-minute mark with many veering towards 10. Some stronger tracks are "Chain Wandering Deeply" (a somber first track with equal parts aggressiveness and ambiance), "Color Of Fetters", "Unrepairable Gentleness" (my favourite track on the album, absolutely breathtaking), "Go Mad And Mark" (another quintessential ENVY song), "Reasons And Oblivion" and "A Will Remains In The Ashes" (although it kinda drags). There's also a few throwaways which makes me unable to choose this as the best album - "Evidence" and "A Conviction That Speeds" could easily have been shed to make this one of the greatest 6-song LPs ever released.
"Unrepairable Gentleness" (from 'Dead Sinking Story')

2005 - Compiled Fragments compilation LP
This collects most tracks on ENVY's out of print splits and work from the late 90s and early 2000s, as well as 2 live songs. Generally these discs aren't worth the purchase, but this is definitely an exception. The release spans recordings from early in the band's career all the way to a new unreleased song. It's usually pretty apparent which ones are which and it gives you a condensed scope to hear the band's evolution. My favourite tracks are: "A Far Off Reason" (this sounds a lot like Caution Children), "Invisible Understanding" (this is what Hum might sound like if they mixed their style with screamy hardcore - shit gets crazy at the 5:10-mark), "Chacun de tes Pas" and "A Red Wound Picture".
"Connected Voice" (from 'Compiled Fragments')

2006 - Insomniac Doze LP
Okay, this album rubs me the wrong the way. It's not bad, but in my opinion it was a big step back in the way that ENVY wrote their music - opting for extremely long songs and a drastic amount of ambiance and atmosphere. This basically guts the urgency the band was known for and this was the first ENVY album that I said, "Uh-oh, they're getting worse." I understand this is totally subjective and I can dig long epic songs more than short fast ones, but with this band the former do not do nearly as much as the latter. I only really get into 2 songs, "Further Ahead Of The Warp" and "Shield Of Selfishness".
"Further Ahead Of The Warp" (from 'Insomniac Doze')

2007 - Abyssal EP
This album shows the band straddling the old and new style on a song-by-song basis. "A Road Of Winds The Water Builds" is alright, but it bores me by the end. "All That's Left Has Gone To Sleep" is amazing and sounds like it could have been culled from 'All The Footprints...'. "Thousand Scars" is a slower number but this one holds my attention more than most of their softer material. "Fading Vision" closes the EP and is another song that lulls me into boredom.
"All That's Left Has Gone To Sleep" (from 'Abyssal')

2008 - Thursday split EP
This split was quite the surprise. I would never have expected the 2 bands to collaborate on a split release, but I'm glad it worked out. Although it's not fantastic in any way (although the packaging is pretty sweet) the songs are worth checking out as each band has at least 1 note-worthy track. ENVY's first song "An Umbrella Fallen Into Fiction" doesn't do it for me. "Isolation Of A Light Source" makes me feel more at home, but let's be honest, if this was on any album from 1999-2003 it would be one of the worst songs. It's still good and everything, but ENVY is known for sheer ridiculousness, and this has none of that. "Pure Birth And Loneliness" is the band's last track and begins slowly but builds beautifully and should have you hooked in a little after 2 minutes. I adore that bass riff at the end the song, as it pulsates along with the high-spacey guitars I ramble on about in a lot of posts.
"Pure Birth And Loneliness" (from 'Thursday split')

2008 - Jesu split EP
These songs sound like they were written with Jesu in mind. They are more experimental and less heavy than anything else the band has released. "Conclusion Of Existence" is one of the strangest ENVY songs, as the band uses some sound manipulation with minimal success. "A Winter Quest For Fantasy" is pretty decent but boasts too much cheesy droning keyboard for my taste - I keep thinking someone is going to drop an 80s vhs tape on my head. The final 20% of the song delves back into heavier stuff and wraps up the best song on the split. "Life Caught In The Rain" combines a plodding intro with screaming halfway through the song, but couples it with a poppier instrumental chorus that levels out the aggressive-sounding vocals. That song just feels forced.
(2002)"Invisible Understanding" (from 'Iscariote split')

2008 - Transfovista DVD
Phenomenal. Get this.

2010 - Recitation LP
When this album opened with the woman talking and little-to-no inspiring music I was pounding on my skull with my fists - and for some reason expecting answers from doing so. After track 2 I felt like I knew what I was in for. No more palm-muting. No more breakdowns. No more intensity, in my own traditional sense, at least. The album proved me wrong though, as this isn't a bad record. It's actually pretty decent, especially when compared to the Jesu split EP, as songs like "Dreams Coming To And End", "Rain Clouds Running In A Holy Night" (albeit slower), "Pieces Of The Moon I Weaved", "Worn Heels And The Hands We Hold" are strong bouts of post-hardcore mixed with milder moments and the band's unmistakable post-hardcore sound. There are more passable songs after track 1, such as "Light And Solitude" (the 5-minute intro is passable), "Incomplete" and "Your Hand". Much like 'Insomniac Doze', some of the album runs together in a stream of mediocrity.
"A Breath Clad In Happiness" (from 'Recitation')

2011 - As Serenity Calls Your Name single
I've run out of juice, my friends. This song is good. It's not great. But at this point in the band's tenure it's what we all expected. Great for some, meh for others.
"As Serenity Calls Your Name"

I understand the last half of this review may seem a little negative. Simply put, it was hard for me to go through the band's evolution post-2003. I don't fault them for it, it's their work and that was the natural progression for ENVY.

I just like the older stuff more.

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DISCOGRAPHYDave's personal collection (download 1 here, 2 here, and 3 here)

1996 - Breathing And Dying In This Place cdLP

1997 - Sixpence split 7"EP
1997 - Endeavor split 7"EP

1998 - From Here To Eternity cd/12"LP

1999 - Anger's Curse Whispered In The Edge Of Despair cd/12"EP

2000 - Burning Out Memories 10"EP
2000 - The Eyes Of Single Eared Prophet cdEP
2000 - The Eyes Of Final Proof 7"EP (tracks appear on 'Prophet')
2000 - This Machine Kills split 7"

2001 - All the Footprints You've Ever Left and the Fear Expecting Ahead cd/12"LP
2001 - Last Wish 7"

2002 - Yaphet  Kotto / This Machine Kills split cdLP
2002 - Iscariote split cd/10"EP

2003 - Dead Sinking Story cd/2x12"LP

2005 - Compiled Fragments compilation cd/2x12"LP

2006 - Insomniac Doze cd/2x12"LP

2007 - Abyssal cd/12"EP

2008 - Thursday split cassette/cd/12"EP
2008 - Jesu split cd/12"EP
2008 - Transfovista DVD

2010 - Recitation cd/2x12"LP

2011 - As Serentiy Calls Your Name digital single

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ENVY out-of-print discography mp3 download / additional links

Dave's personal collection (download 1 here, 2 here, and 3 here)

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3 comments:

  1. What do you think of the new song by Envy?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jammed it twice. I like it but it still doesn't grab me the way the old material did. 7/10 for an Envy song.

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    2. Yeah, quite a decent one. I guess the new LP will have a mixture of old sound and the "Recitation' era songs.

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