Reviews Envy Compiled Fragments 1997-2003

Envy

Compiled Fragments 1997-2003

So here it is, Temporary Residence Limited finally is releasing this record stateside negating the need (if you happen to be a hopelessly addicted completist like I myself happen to be) to pay import or international shipping fees to acquire an elusive entry into the Envy oeuvre. Compiled Fragments 1997-2003 is a "singles collection" or more accurately a collection of tracks from various splits, compilation tracks, an unreleased track, and a couple of live tracks. This album and Abyssal are the two most important pieces of the recent market flooding of Envy releases by Temporary Residence as they never were released in the United States prior. What is even better is that the label is making Compiled Fragments 1997-2003 available on vinyl (again, a big deal for fellow vinyl obsessive individuals) for, I believe, the first time (though do not quote me on that).

"A Far Off Reason" contains an ear pleasing guitar melody that lends to the overall song being very dynamic with Envy's usual grand build-ups to a climax in the song. The quiet section where all the instruments drop out and the vocals are yelled from far away gives a nice effect while the truly surprising aspect of the song is actually that it is a bit beefier sounding than some of their more recent material. "Invisible Understanding" has a different vocal style than what I am used to hearing from most of Envy's other songs - the spoken word section sets a pretty ominous mood and the transition out of this is great. It is an interesting juxtaposition to hear these vocals work with the emotive musical style that Envy has developed and lends a more raw quality to the band's sound. The acoustic opening part of "Chacun De Tes Pas" makes for a rather severe sounding transition into the meat of the song; I enjoy the real frantic aspects of the song, particularly the tempo and the guitars, which reminds me a great deal of "All That's Left Has Gone To Sleep" off of Abyssal while the calm bridge works real well and contrasts nicely with the frenzied sound of the other parts of the track.

"Cape of Despair," "This Self Crusaders," "Trembled," and "Guilt" all hearken back to a more traditional hardcore punk sound for the band. "Castle of Lies" does as well but has hints of the melodic guitars that would later become so prominent in the band's sound. "Connected Voice" is the lone unreleased track that is offered on Compiled Fragments 1997- 2003 and it is notable because it seems to be a missing link of sorts in the Envy oeuvre as it combines sounds of their older style with that of their later era. It is a good song that is evidence of the band playing with dynamics while maintaining the raw emotional outbursts that can be found on both A Dead Sinking Story and All the Footprints You’ve Ever Left and the Fear Expecting Ahead, a worthwhile addition to anyone's Envy collection for sure.

The title of this release is apropos as the release lacks the cohesive nature and sound that is becoming the modus operandi of recent Envy releases (see Insomniac Doze and Abyssal for recent examples), but Compiled Fragments 1997-2003 is no less an important aural document for the band and its fans who are unable to procure all of these releases individually. This album also gives a telling snapshot as to the overall trajectory that Envy's sound has taken and gives excellent examples as to the progression that the band has undergone. Do not make the mistake that I made several years ago when I saw the import of this record in the store and passed on purchasing it. Get it because there is a great deal of quality Envy material on the album to make it worth owning.

8.0 / 10Bob
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