Envy - A Dead Sinking Story (Cover Artwork)


A Dead Sinking Story (2003)

Level Plane

I recently remarked to a friend that passion is the reason I love music so much. Rock and roll has, for me, always been a story of danger and adventure. It's kind of like pirates, but with a few more guitars. Anyways, technical proficiency and complicated poetry can only get a band so far. I can certainly dig rockin' solos and artful wordplays, but if the artist doesn't get out there and rock it from the soul, then I won't see anything but a guilty pleasure or worse. This passion is precisely why I love bands like Envy. They have soul like none other, and they rock it hardcore.

A Dead Sinking Story is a fit of intensity. It is epic in design and brutal in delivery. The downpour of emotion is accented throughout the album by poetically moving stretches. The long passages of building up or cooling down give an almost tangible weight to the fury of the harder moments. The reconciling of ambition with passion is what gives character to Envy's music.

Tetsuya Fukagawa's vocal outbursts bring both honesty and pain to the music, no matter the language (it is worth noting that all of the lyrics are translated into English in the booklet). The screaming is often devastating when combined with the wonderful precision of the rhythm section and rambling guitar work. Although his lack of diversity begins to shine through on some of the longer passages, long sections of spoken word and ambient feedback inject variety in sound throughout the hour. Some may say that these long, quiet interludes tend to drag on too long, but I find them to be a wonderful contrast to the intense moments, both as juxtaposition and as a compliment.

If you're a fan of American groups like Taken, City Of Caterpillar, and Shai Hulud, you really owe it to yourself to pick this album up. Even casual fans of hardcore should at least give this album a listen; it rocks on every level, hard to soft. If you aren't accustomed to the genre, you may not be ready for how much visceral power there is in the music, but it's the perfect start to see the beautiful side of rock and roll passion.

[originally reviewed for keikaku.net]