For the past decade, Envy has been at the forefront of a great deal of the never-ending pockets of music scenes in their native Japan, as well as that of others worldwide. The “screamo” tag has been pinned to them many a time, which is flat-out preposterous — they’re hardly a cookie cutter Warped Tour band like Alexisonfire or… whoever is currently signed to Victory Records. Rather, Envy is one of the only bands out there today who can toe the line between hardcore, prog and post-rock. On the band’s latest effort, Insomniac Doze, Singer Tetsuya Fukagawa lets out some abrasive, yet emotion-filled screams, while the dual guitars of Nobukata Kawai and Masahiro Tobita sound incredibly beefy and pliant.
A frigid breeze aligns “Shield of Selflessness,” which features drummer Dairoku Seki pounding on his skins like glaciers collapsing. Tracks with this much rumble might make some wonder if Envy would have to set up their practice space in a fortress of solitude, deep inside a mountain, in order not to set off Japan’s Richter scales. The moody post-rock, which is transparent in “Scene,” is tantamount to a dim ember which slowly begins to illuminate, an ethereal track that emits film-score levels of emotion and awe.
Envy has a knack for hammering out rock solid, hardcore pummeling and a jagged crescendo onslaught. Fukagawa sings/screams in his native tongue and, while I don’t speak the said language, it seems as if he is either declaring his undying love for someone, is extremely pissed, or perhaps both. Either which way, his blood is boiling. Even numbers like “The Unknown Glow” show the soft side of doom metal (betcha didn’t know it had one). After more than 14 years together, Envy has proven that they are a formidable force of nature.