With 2003's A Dead Sinking Story, Japan's Envy hinted toward a sound that was more orchestral than screamo. But not even the band's biggest fans could have imagined how fully realized this transformation would become with the quintet's follow-up, Insomniac Doze. From the first notes of album opener "Further Ahead of Warp" to the cathartic chaos of the closer, "A Warm Room," Doze is cinematic in scope and vision without compromising the band's characteristic aggression. The shimmering introduction to "Scene" may sound like Envy's labelmates Explosions in the Sky, but just when listeners are lulled into a false sense of security, distorted guitars kick in and vocalist Tetsuya Fukagawa's hushed vocals morph into a guttural scream reminiscent of metallic monoliths Isis. Envy's ability to alternate seamlessly between these two dynamics without it sounding forced is what separates the band from the rest of its instrumental peers. And although Doze is sung entirely in Japanese, it still manages to speak (and scream) volumes.
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