Only four years ago it looked like it could be over for Envy, who after three decades looked like they could finish up their incredible run, after vocalist Tetsuya Fukugawa left the band. Yet here we are, entering the second month of 2020 with a brand new album from the much reformed band, with Fukugawa heading up the team once more. Reunited in 2018 for a two-song EP, Envy now return with Fallen Crimson, potentially their best and most varied work to date.
The Japanese post-hardcore band stay very true their their roots, with their signature blend of melodic thrash used throughout the eleven high-quality tracks. If you love contrasting emotions in songs, this record is an absolute rollercoaster, with each track pulling your feelings every which way. As you might expect from a band who have been operating for so long, the production is a dream and a key reason why the mix of genres fits so well together. From the quietest post-rock moment, to the driven heavy sections, the six band members are clear as rain.
As you might expect from a band of their historical standing, Envy open their album with a powerful track that excites the listener, with frantic post-hardcore and thrash metal colliding. The motifs used by the band are amazing, with their jarring nature sticking with you long after the track has finished. The vocal work is brilliant and engaging, playing against the instrumentals really well. If the whole album was eleven songs of this, you’d be quite happy, thats for sure. The band use motifs reallextremely well in other songs too, especially “Marginalized Thread”, a track which blends elements of black-metal, with J-rock guitars and the bands signature post-hardcore sound. The overarching J-rock riff is incredibly pleasing, imbuing a rather chaotic and furious song with a fun, poppy edge that cheers the emotions.
During my first weeks with the album, as I snapped back to reality after drifting off, I was often left questioning if my phone had crapped out and muddled my queue with another artist. And each time I realised it was Envy messing with my reality, I silently applauded and sat in wonder at how well crafted this album is. Despite not understanding the language, this record feel homely and warm, with the thick post-rock layers the band use at times comforting and almost hopeful too.
Some tracks also felt quite familiar, mainly in techniques used. “Fingerprint Mark” is a wild track, contorting into multiple genres through excellent transistions, with some of the techniques sounding like early 00’s punk-rock, System Of A Down and many others. It leaves you disorientated, but also wanting more. One of the stars of the show is the drummer, whose command of the kit is essential to creating the bands switches to the more furious blackened post-hardcore sound they play with finesse.
Needless to say, this is a band back on top of their game, with the new look Envy a force to be reckoned with. I still can’t fathom how the band constructed so many unique songs, with each exuding a different emotion and making you move in a different way. I stupidly missed the band when they visited the UK over the holiday period, but my eyes will be peeled for future tours. Fallen Crimson will certainly be on many peoples album of the year list come the end of 2020 and I look forward to seeing how the band continue to progress their sound further.