(Homemade CD cover, image used is En (Round) by Morita Shiryu - avant-garde calligraphy, from the Thames & Hudson World of Art: Japanese Art by Joan Stanley-Baker.)
There's a new Envy split coming out this year, with Jesu. I'd already heard about the one with Thursday, whom I don't actually know that much about (so I won't say anything about), and may in fact be set for release even later in the year. Jesu, however, is an act that I'm interested in although I may not qualifying as liking them per se. Either way, mega bonanza, right?
I just had a listen through the whole thing, and it's good. The opening Envy track is a real further progression on what they've been doing the last while, and the Jesu side is solid and interesting stuff. Another listen is required to say anything more detailed, but so far I'm quite impressed.
A little under two weeks ago I got my hands on a full set of Envy LPs from Temporary Residence. That is, All The Footprints You've Ever Left And The Fear Expecting Ahead, A Dead Sinking Story, Collected Fragments, Insomniac Doze and Abyssal. The first two are reissues, from HG Fact and Level Plane. In total that makes 8 12" records, since all three of their last full-lengths are double LPs. Both Collected Fragments and Dead Sinking Story came in clear stoney-coloured vinyl with some rather nice burst patterns.
Artistically, the albums are brilliant - part of the reason for buying them, of course - but especially Collected Fragments. It's only recently and for the first time been released on vinyl, so some extra effort was put into packaging the full-length compilation. Apart from the record itself, the cover is a metallic grayscale silhouette, which is reproduced to the same silvery effect on the labels of the records and on the sheet for the liner notes inside. I'll see about getting some nice photographs up.
Musically, Collected Fragments is a mixed bag. The majority of it is taken from various split releases, so it spans the full range of Envy's hardcore sound. And as such, my favourite part of it is the A side which features the tracks from the then most recent splits. Let me explain it thus: I like the Envy hardcore sound, from A Dead Sinking Story back, but I adapted to their more post-rock-y bent - which a lot of fans are reticent about - pretty quickly. So it's the stuff on the cusp of this transition which I like best; and getting this compilation originally as a bunch of mp3s, it made sense to select those favourites and burn them onto an EP-length disc for easy listening (the full-length also has a brace of live tracks recorded from the 2004 ATP festival in the UK, the second of which, 'Go Mad and Mark' from A Dead Sinking Story, I included for good measure).
You can enjoy the selection below; like I say, I think it captures quite well one span of Envy's artistic development. It's actually in reverse order to the LP, as I though the earlier of the two splits - the one with French band Iscariote - is more immediately the better sounding. 'Invisible Understanding' and 'Chacun de tes pas' (especially the latter of which, being the first Envy song I ever heard) could probably be the best of the ir pure 'screamo' songs, while 'A Far-Off Purpose' and 'An Adventure of Silence and Purpose' take more time to build, but ultimately rock out just as hard.
(again, homemade cover. Fifth [live] track not listed)