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ENVY - The Fallen Crimson

Promise/warning: The recent review of Kayo Dot's "Blasphemy" won't be the the last post about a release from 2019.

But for now let's look into the young present of 2020! Or even better into the close future, as Envy's first album after five years will be released in Europe in a month (February 7th) via Pelagic Records.

The post hardcore band has been existing for twenty-five years now (including a crisis in 2015 and the rebirth with three new members in 2017), but I must admit that I mainly perceived them as the name you usually mention along Boris and Mono, when you're talking about groups from Japan.

I do know and love their split album with Jesu (aka Justin Broadrick) from 2008 though, so I was keen on hearing what they have to offer today.

ENVY - The Fallen Crimson (2020)

Eclectic, in your face, brutal, overwhelming, beautiful. End of review. Bye!

Ok, that's not all, but it's the shortest way to describe the essential qualities of "The Fallen Crimson".

Soundwise this band fits right in in the roster of the label, as there are definitely similarities to post metal of bands like The Old Wind or The Ocean, and a good portion of ost rock meldodies here are flavoured with that distinct Japanese touch of which Mono are the undisputed masters.
Mix all that with mostly the more accessible - but sometimes also the radical - stuff from The Dillinger Escape Plan and you're moving within the frame of this album. Yet even more than Dillinger it's the most dramatic peaks of their German flag bearers The Hirsch Effekt, which I hear mirrored several times here.

Unsurprisingly the whole instrumental execution of the album ranges from absolutely flawless to over the top.

The vocal performance is a mix of spoken words, clean singing and - undeniably the trade mark - those extremely hoarse and brutal screams and grunts, which feel like singer Tetsuya Fukagawa is just one second away from miketysoning your ear off.
Obviously I cannot elaborate on the lyrics, but I can at least recognise that the Japanese language lends itself very good to those deep aggressive vocal performances.

Of course every language, no matter whether you understand it or not, always has a certain influence on how you perceive music. Clearly understandable german vocals can distract me from the music (or blend it into the background) easier than english lyrics do.
On Envy's new album there are a couple of kitschy passages and almost the whole song "Rhythm" (with a female guest lead vocalist), where I'm not sure if I only accept them because they are sung in Japanese, and only the interplay with the speech melody makes them work.

Curious, but I'm wandering off into the realm of the hypothetical, I know.
Because what actually is happening on the eleven tracks of this record, just kills from the beginning to the end.

This is a wild, grand, elevating, punishing ride and I can hardly imagine anyone being disappointed by this more than respectable comeback.

Pelagic Records offers "The Fallen Crimson" as CD, standard double LP and in various lovely colour variations, which are probably already all out of stock by now.

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