ENVY - The Fallen Crimson

Envy - The Fallen Crimson

11 songs
54:29 minutes
***** ****


Envy were one of the first Japanese bands to make a name for themselves all over the world. They started in the early Nineties, coming from the hardcore movement, but their heyday happened in the first half of the first decade of the new millennium, when ground-breaking albums like All the Footprints You've Ever Left And The Fear Expecting Ahead (2001) and A Dead Sinking Story (2003), both released in Europe on Mogwai’s label Rock Action, showcased a mix of vintage screamo and opulent post rock in a hitherto unknown way. Lately, Envy usually take five years between albums, making The Fallen Crimson their seventh longplayer in their busy discography which also contains a lot of EPs, singles and splits.

The Fallen Crimson is released on Pelagic Records, the label closely associated with The Ocean Collective, and it is a good fit. Envy may not write those quarter hour behemoths anymore that they did back in the day, instead they offer eleven tracks ranging between three and seven minutes. The shorter songs are generally fiercer and more brutal, whereas the longer pieces show the band from its more melodic side. Envy are currently a sextet, with half of the musicians playing guitar, which makes for a lot of depth and breadth, creating a wall-of-sound that is positively overwhelming on the brutal tracks as well as on the more elegiac material. The opener Statement Of Freedom, A Faint New World and Fingerprint Mark are prime examples of Envy at their heaviest, whereas Swaying Leaves And Scattering Breath as well as the concluding three tracks prove that the Japanese cult musicians still know how to inject a healthy dose of post rock into their archetypical screamo core. Especially Memories And The Limit comes with soaring guitars that remind me of Scottish Eighties rock band Big Country. My favourite track though is Rhythm, an unexpected ballad with female vocals that at first feels like a heavy dose of kitsch but soon will win over your heart.

After such a long break, it’s nice to have Envy back. The Fallen Crimson will take some time before it ignites, but repeated listening shows that the guys are still as great and exceptional as they used to be fifteen years ago. If you like varied vocals – screams, melodic singing and spoken words – with Japanese lyrics and music that covers the vast territory between screamo and majestic post rock, you will definitely love Envy’s new record. But then I doubt that there are many people out there unfamiliar with their music, considering that they helped define the post hardcore genre back when it was still cool.

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