Review Summary: That random act of kindness
In our modern world of consumerism and social media, I’ve noticed more and more that art is becoming a simulacrum for even the most basal of human emotions. Whether it’s through film, video games, novels or indeed music, we feel a stronger need to feel emotions that are absent in our day to day lives of routine and predictability. The reality is that compassion has been dumbed down to a short comment on Facebook wishing someone the strength to cope with the loss of a loved one. Empathy only goes so far as to the point where we start to feel uncomfortable. It is in most of our natures to want to help people, but an overabundance of comfort has made it so that we’re only willing so far as it’s convenient within our own schedules and self-imposed boundaries. Poke through all the hurry and rush, and you’ll notice people are always busy going nowhere, doing nothing.
And yet, for all of this (or maybe because of this), how often has the slightest of gestures made someone’s day? A gentle hand on the shoulder, a good work “comment” from your manager, a smile from that cute co-worker. It costs the giver little to nothing, but can bring about huge change, especially now that these random acts of kindness are getting more and more infrequent. This is exactly what makes good
art so important. It is that tap on the shoulder, that little comfort that can completely make your day, and It is the picture that Envy’s The Fallen Crimson
manages to convey perfectly.
To me, The Fallen Crimson is
emotion. From the opening minutes of ‘Statement of Freedom’, the diverse music (from shoegaze to screamo to post-metal) revels in its duality. It layers conflicting feelings together to form a bond that serves as a particularly comforting experience. It paints empathy through hurt, compassion through hopelessness and strength through vulnerability. Note that I specifically say that it paints, not preaches. Contrary to the album- and song titles, Envy performs its music solely in Japanese. The fact that it’s all done in a language I don’t understand is freeing to me, since I don’t feel forced into a specific emotion that the creator is forcing upon me through lyrics. It opens me up for my own interpretation and internal maelstroms, making my personal connection with the album all the stronger for it.
Thank Steven Erikson for my current obsession into the human state and psyche, but I feel I’m getting more and more selective in my consuming of ‘escapist’ art. There is too much media out there trying to sell us fake emotions. One quickly notices how much of it is hollow. It’s not conveying anything genuine, but is made surely for the purpose of handing us short-term emotion on a silver platter. The real reason is singular: entertainment. Envy is the opposite of this; every scream, every softly sung word and every musical passage feels sincere and therefore important. ‘Dawn and Gaze’ for example, lulls you into a false sense of security with a soft melody, before bursting open in a musical outcry of hope. The following distorted and spoken word vocals are only the interlude to the incoming screams, with Fukagawa’s tortured wails crying out in dread and almost dripping with pain.
You might’ve noticed that I’m refraining from diving too deep into the musical aspects and songs themselves. There are two reasons for this; the first is that by dissecting the variant compositions, flow, production etc. I might lose some of the magic and sensations that come to me while listening to The Fallen Crimson
. The other is that my purpose is to get you to give this album a listen. With music such as this, I will not convince you by going into detail about the specific musical aspects that make this a great record. I might however, by telling you this hits home when you let it.
That is not to say that The Fallen Crimson
is for everybody. For a record loaded with emotion, 54 minutes can be on the long side and I know that to me it is quite a draining experience, if a wholly satisfying one. The vocals are also something I can completely understand people running away from. Even though it moves me, I can see people calling it hysterical or over-the-top. It is not an effortless listen, but it is one where you get out of it what you put in. If you want it to, it can open up to become a black pearl of atmosphere and sentiments, and can be that random act of kindness that lifts your spirits.