Thursday / Envy

Split

Written by: PP on 16/12/2008 12:52:12

There's probably two questions on your mind just before checking out the split album between Thursday and Envy, the first one being "Did Thursday get a real producer for this effort and what does it tell about the band's future direction?" and second one being "just who the hell are Envy?". While the first question is answered to any Thursday fan's satisfaction, the real focus here is on the magnificent music of Envy, a Tokyo, Japan-based experimental screamo/post-hardcore band that has successfully managed to blow me away with just three songs. And that's probably why Thursday decided to do a split album with them, after all doing a split with such a seminal emo/post-hardcore band as Thursday means tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of new fans will now have raised an eyebrow for the band.

But first things first. Thursday's half is the one that opens the album with "As He Climbed The Dark Mountain", a track which could've easily been on "War All The Time". The Toys'R'Us instruments of "A City By The Light Divided" have been traded back to real ones together with great production, subsequently leading into massive soundscapes and Mr. Rickley's trademark croon dominating the atmosphere. The screams have also returned to the throat-aching, lung-piercing ones that we previously saw on songs like "For The Workforce, Drowning", which is fantastic news to any Thursday fan. Similarly, "An Absurd And Unrealistic Dream Of Peace" is quintessential old Thursday and something to love and cherish for any emo/post-hardcore fan, as when Thursday are at their best, they are one of the best, if not the best band in this genre.

While both of these songs are great reminders of what Thursday stands for, the focus (at least from my side) lies on the other two tracks, the all-instrumental "In Silence" and the equally silent "Appeared And Was Gone", which show a new side of Thursday songwriting we haven't experienced before. Weirdly enough, you don't even notice the absence of Rickley's vocals here, as the soundscape and build up of especially "In Silence" is fucking beautiful, you'll notice Thursday sounding distantly like Isis meets Godspeed You! Black Emperor while still retaining a distinctly Thursday vibe throughout the song. But see the accompanying video for the song, it adds so much feeling to the song.

As for Envy's part, I can only say that I'm fucking stunned. The six and a half minute "An Umbrella Fallen Into Fiction" starts off sounding sort of like the background music of Spore during the cell-part of the game, the typical artsy video-game sort of music that's relaxing and perfect for background menu music. Before long, the song has developed into accelerated atmospheric shredding and full-blown extended-screamo fest... it's hard to put in words, but lets just say that Envy are one of the most unique band's I've heard to date. Although sung in Japanese, the screams are stupendous, echoing all across the soundscape that sounds like it extends several miles into every direction, and it does this without sounding annoyingly loose or uselessly spacey or anything like that. Majestic is the only proper word to describe this song.

"Isolation Of A Light Source" is a considerably shorter affair, and subsequently also more chaotic. The high-speed clean shredding is still the driving force here together with Fukagawa's characteristically vibrating and warm scream, really putting focus on the band's ridiculously good songwriting talent. "Pure Birth And Loneliness" basically combines the two approaches, with a few spoken-word passages that transition smoothly into the prolonged screams. In fact, were I to name the two elements that most characterize Envy's sound, I'd point out the smooth transitions and great vocals, because without these, there'd be a great chance of the band drowning itself underneath a soundscape that's far too vast. But as it stands now, I'm damn impressed and have already begun to check out their past material (they date all the way back down to early 90s), I guess that's mission accomplished for both bands, then.

To wrap things up here, the Thursday / Envy split basically shows the former at their best, sounding like they did during the "War All The Time"-era with some newer influences obviously received from Envy's majestic sound, and the latter overwhelm any Thursday fan that didn't know of the band before (like me) with sheer brilliance. Sounds like a damn good split to me.

8

Download: Thursday - In Silence, Envy - Isolation Of A Light Source
For the fans of: Thursday, Envy, post-hardcore
Listen: Thursday Myspace / Envy Myspace

Release date 04.11.2008
Temporary Residence

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