Envy
Recitation


4.0
excellent

Review

by Ian W. USER (20 Reviews)
January 23rd, 2011 | 76 replies | 13,479 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist


6 of 6 thought this review was well written

You would be forgiven in thinking that Envy were just a post-rock band. Opening track “Guidance” and the introduction of “Last Hours of Eternity” heavily resemble the post rock sounds of band akin to Explosions in the Sky and Sigur Ros, yet at the same time they hold their own distinct sound, helped in part by the unique Japanese language. For you see, Envy is a post-hardcore band from the Land of the Rising Sun (Japan), with a large emphasis on the “post” aspect. They do in fact use many of post-rock’s tropes, but they mix it in with the desperate aggression of the hardcore genre. It is this combination that makes Envy, and their latest album Recitation, such a joy to listen to.

One of Envy’s greatest strengths are the vocals of Tetsuya Fukagawa, whose voice alternates between spoken word and a hardcore shout throughout the album. What separates Envy from other hardcore bands, besides the post-rock element, is that these vocals hold this desperate sound to it, almost as if Tetsuya is struggling to make the sound come out of his throat. It’s angry, disparate, and rough around the edges, but that only serves to enhance the numerous climaxes that occur throughout Recitation. Tetsuya alternates between this hardcore scream and normal spoken word to great effect throughout the album, the most well done (and just the most awesome) situation of this in the track “Dreams Coming to an End.” Coming in like a hammer with his hardcore shouting, he continues with Nobukata Kawai and Masahiro Tobita’s excellent guitar work before switching to rapid fire spoken word when the instruments tone down just a bit, then he goes right back into an explosive shout.

Besides this song, Tetsuya uses his voice to great use in “Light and Solitude,” “Worn Heels and the Hands we Hold,” and “A Breath Clad in Happiness.” It’s definitely one of the more memorable aspects of the album, and does a fantastic job of accentuating the climaxes.

Vocals aside, the drummer is truly where the band generates most of its stride. Dairoku Seki totally thrashes away at his kit; and his ability to switch styles on the fly with the rest of the band works wonderfully well to give the rising moments so much impact. Changing between drum rolls, galloping syncopations, or just all out mayhem combining the bass drum and cymbals, Seki does a phenomenal job of increasing Recitation’s emotional impact.

It must be said, however, that the guitars also do a fantastic job at this. Nobukata and Masahiro, much like the drums, can switch styles on the fly, either creating simplistic melodies from which the band builds on or playing extensively in the high register during the climaxes. “A Breath Clad in Happiness” has the guitarists at their best, as they exchange melodies with each other while Tetsuya screams his lungs out. Combined with the pounding drums, it serves to create this clash of sound that creates multiple streams of emotions when listening to the song. The bass guitar is used effectively here as well. Being the lowest end of the band, Manaba Nakagawa does the most work in creating this sonic dichotomy between him and the higher pitches of the guitars.

However, “0 and 1” has the band’s collective talent truly at its finest. Starting with a pounding drumbeat, plucked bass notes, and aggressive guitar tones, the band crescendos into a false climax before collapsing and starting another crescendo. This time, the rising sound is much softer, but abruptly erupts into its climax. Here Tetsuya sounds as if he’s on the verge of crying, while the guitar section continually strike at their strings, and Dairoku pounds at his kit creating a desperate marching sound to it. At the final moment, it all abruptly ends. Then “Your Hand” plays, and the album ends. I am left speechless.

I’m left speechless because I had just been taken on a journey with multiple stops and turns, multiple hills and valleys, and I had enjoyed every step of it. I was taken on this journey by a guide whose language I could not understand but I was still captivated by everything they said. I was left speechless at how simple the instrumentation was, and at the same taken aback by how effectively it was used. I was left speechless because for the first time, an album exposed its greatest strengths after everything was said and done. And in that respect, Envy has rightfully established themselves as one of the foremost leaders of the post-hardcore genre.



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user ratings (202)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
Eli Kleman EMERITUS (4)
While not as groundbreaking as their previous releases, Envy's "Recitation" is still a great additio...


Comments:Add a Comment 
krig9412
January 23rd 2011



791 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Did this review for a good friend of mine.

Is a spectacular album/band.

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
January 23rd 2011



8590 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

been meaning to hear this, thanks for reminding me

Digging: Triptykon - Melana Chasmata

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
January 23rd 2011



23667 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is a really good album. some of the low ratings kind of suprised me.

Digging: Trophy Scars - Holy Vacants

BallsToTheWall
January 23rd 2011



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Lame album is lame,

krig9412
January 23rd 2011



791 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh come on Balls, how can you not get excited by Dreams Coming to an End?

BallsToTheWall
January 23rd 2011



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I like Envy but this album is boring and uninspired.

Hep Kat
January 23rd 2011



14026 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

yeah

Digging: Fucked Up - Year of the Dragon

krig9412
January 23rd 2011



791 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well this was only my second Envy album I listened to, I should probably check out the rest of their discography

alachlahol
January 23rd 2011



7423 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

wow:


Like the kamikaze winds of their birth country


Josh D.
January 23rd 2011



13967 Comments


I still haven't gotten this. I didn't really care for the first song they released.

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
January 23rd 2011



6965 Comments


This is their 2nd best album

Digging: Perfume Genius - Learning

alachlahol
January 23rd 2011



7423 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

not at all but keep lying to yourself. this band functions way better when they put the hardcore in front of the post-rock

Xenophanes
Emeritus
January 23rd 2011



10556 Comments


Just re-listened, and wow did this wear off of me....

What separates Envy from other hardcore bands, besides the post-rock element

I really disagree with this. There is a large number of bands doing this now. Yeah, they sort of got the ball rolling, but it's nothing too original nowadays.

Like the kamikaze winds of their birth country

Remove this. Not only is "divine wind" winds redundant, it's just offensive due to its connotations.





Digging: Saintseneca - Dark Arc

Josh D.
January 23rd 2011



13967 Comments


Oh so this is more post-rock like? I might like it then; I've always struggled with Envy due to the overwhelming screaming they have. I like the albums I have though.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
January 23rd 2011



10556 Comments


You won't like this Josh. It's like post-rock passage, typical Envy hardcore passage, then post-rock passage again.

I'm upset this wore off of me so badly. I remember playing the shit out of it back in Sept/October, and loving it.

alachlahol
January 23rd 2011



7423 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

why wouldnt josh like this

Josh D.
January 23rd 2011



13967 Comments


"You won't like this Josh. It's like post-rock passage, typical Envy hardcore passage, then post-rock passage again"

What about my pie chart, common rec's, lists, etc. would leave you to believe I wouldn't like that, including my Envy ratings.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
January 23rd 2011



10556 Comments


Idk, it's not that great really. If you like most of Envy's stuff, which you said you do, this would probably come as a disappointment, as it's one of their weaker efforts. I'm not telling you to not listen to it, just don't expect much.

Josh D.
January 23rd 2011



13967 Comments


I don't have any expectations, really.

alachlahol
January 23rd 2011



7423 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

time for xenophanes to delete his 4 star review of this album



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