Thursday, February 11, 2010

Music Review: Envy - Abyssal

Envy is a beast. A five-piece dynamic, hardcore band from Japan that deals screaming guitars, pummeling drums, and guttural screams straight to your chest. The band has been around for a while and continues to grow into an epic, rib cage vibrating, jolt of momentum.

In 2006 Envy released their most accomplished, surprising, beautiful, and intense album, Insomniac Doze on Temporary Residence. Abyssal is a 30-minute, 4-song EP that has flashes of some of the terrible beauty that was Insomniac Doze. It is an album that approaches quietly, then pounces on you and rides you up a mountain, down the other side and through a valley into a lush green meadow, that quickly turns to an empty field of burnt and smoldering dreams. However, Abyssal is a less focused album, although it still features some wonderfully accomplished atmospheric metal songs.

The 4 songs – "Road of Winds that Water Builds," "All That’s Left has Gone to Sleep," "Thousand Scars," and "Fading Vision" all share a driving and intense drumbeat from drummer Dairoku Seki and textured guitars from Nobukata Kawai and Masahiro Tobita. The two guitar players mash sounds together quiet well and they never seem to leave any empty space, or maybe they leave the perfect amount of empty space.

Envy has songs that are structured more like symphonies, with cues for when the drums should rise, the bass should dance, and the screaming should obliterate everything. The lyrics are all in Japanese, there is translation in the note sheet, although understanding the lyrics isn’t that important. It is the emotion forced out of lead singer Tetsuya Fukagawa that is.

Unfortunately the emotions can get old. Out of 30 minutes there are only about 6 or 7 minutes that are unique, undeniable, must-listen moments. The rest of the ep kinda blends together.

The tunes on Abyssal run from 4 minutes to 10 minutes long and it’s length is one of it’s downfalls, with more time Envy might have compiled another outstanding tour de force CD, but this effort feels abbreviated. Like there were only 10 or 15 minutes of polished material, but they had to stretch it out to put together this EP.

It’s still a good effort, but not their most memorable and it doesn’t seem like they had to rush this release out. They should have taken their time and put together a proper full-length album, which they will hopefully do next time.

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