Envy – Atheist’s Cornea

From hardcore to post-rock and beyond. Eny is a band that’s evolved and changed with age, getting better and better, even as they drift further and further away from the sound that launched their career. It’s been 5 years since the band’s post-rock epic, Recitation. And something’s changed.

Atheist’s Cornea is uniquely Envy. The band has found some of their older hardcore and post-hardcore doors, all the while retaining the post-rock elements that have invaded their sound for the previous 3 records. But Atheist’s Cornea is more than just a throwback to Insomniac Daze or A Dead Sinking Story. It’s as if Envy’s looked back on their career to create something new and fresh, inspired by their previous influences and sounds to keep the album cohesive with what we’ve come to expect from the band.

Blue Moonlight and Ignorant Rain and the End of the World explode out of your stereo. It’s unexpected given Envy’s previous releases, but it’s also refreshing. The band’s brand of screamo comes raging out of the speakers. Both songs feel a little rough around the edges, which again, you want given the nature of the band’s extremely polished last couple of records.

But when you see that Shining Finger is over seven minutes long, you know that things are about to shift. The beautiful guitar opening and spoken word of Shining Finger stand in brief contrast to the album’s first two track. The song builds and eventually explodes, which feels familiar. The action breaks and the track almost feels like it’s fighting to find itself and get on the same page, which it eventually does. The beauty that Envy employed over their last couple of albums isn’t lost. The complete forging of post-rock and hardcore is beautiful and no one does it with as much success as Envy. The string section on Shining Fingers compliments the band perfectly.

Ticking Time and String feels agonizing. There’s a pain in the music and in Tetsuya Fukagawa vocals. The pain radiates into your soul. Since the lyrics are in Japanese and I can’t find a translation online yet, I have no idea about the songs subject matter, but you can feel it’s pain. Even the strings that close the song feel sad and hurt.

Contrast that with Footsteps In The Distance, which feels triumphant. It’s like whatever was plaguing Fukagawa on Ticking Time has been overcome and defeated. An Insignificant Poem is a lighter version of the album’s first two hardcore tacks. Not as piercing and brutal, but just as rough and biting.Two Isolated Souls is big ballsy hardcore! It’s proof that Envy isn’t getting soft in their old age. As heavy as the album’s first two tracks are, Two Isolated Souls is aggressive in a way I haven’t heard Envy since the band’s debut record. Fast and grungey!

Your Heart and My Hands closes the record on a joyful note. It’s the kind of songs that makes you want to smile, jump up and down, and dance!

From pain and agony, to songs that makes you smile and feel good inside, from hardcore to some of the most beautiful string arrangements you’ll ever hear, and everything in between, Atheist’s Cornea is a great record! I had little doubt that Envy would deliver a stellar record. Hopefully it’s not another five years before we get another one. 5 out of 5 Stars!

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