Published Oct 24, 2010It's been four years since these Japanese post-hardcore innovators released Insomniac Dose, an album that represented a significant departure for the legendary group. While past releases leaned more towards the classic late '90s screamo wail of bands like Seatia and pg. 99, Insomniac Dose was the band's first attempt at truly exploring the bold, atmospheric soundscapes hinted at in their earlier work. Like a long-lost fusion of Mogwai and the original Level Plane roster, that record set a new standard for the band, one which is met by latest full-length Recitation. The speed here is further diminished; "Last Hours of Eternity" builds for four minutes before its slow, explosive three-minute finale, while the "Rain Clouds Running in a Holy Night" comes closest to the frenetic energy of the band's old material, balancing its aggression with a gentle, spoken bridge. Recitation is certainly not background music; it is a record that demands your attention through massive dynamic shifts and lengthy, slow-burning instrumental passages. And it is a record that is worth your attention and time.
What have been the biggest changes in your personal listening habits that have influenced the evolution of Envy's sound over the years?
Vocalist Tetsu Fukagawa: It hasn't changed at all; I've been listening to all kinds of styles of music and my favourites are still the same. But I don't listen to hardcore anymore, because that's what we play.
The break between Insomniac Doze and Recitation was the longest yet between Envy records. What was keeping you guys busy in the interim?
It has been four years since the last album, but we've released a single and two splits during that period, so actually we've made enough songs to make into an album. We just write new songs constantly.
You have a pretty fanatical following outside of Japan. What do you think allows Envy to transcend borders and languages when a lot of bands outside of North America have trouble achieving much notoriety outside of their home country?
I truly believe you can reach people if you sing sincerely from the bottom of your heart. We have toured all over the world, but I never felt the language barrier. Music is the strongest weapon to break through the walls of cultural and racial difference.
There have been rumours that Recitation may be Envy's final release. Is there any truth to that?
I hear that from a lot people, but I've never even thought about breaking up. We're already coming up with plans and will be recording the next album pretty soon. But for now, we'll be touring all over the world. (Temporary Residence)