Seimei begins with spoken word. Something builds, overtakes and almost smothers the voice. A sudden cut, another phrase and “Seimei” sees Envy firmly move into the dramatic. The rhythm heaves and drags whilst the guitar rages with precision; Everyone plays loud and hard whilst the spoken word continues onward.

From here “Seimei” moves through a few different stages of quiet and loud whilst retaining continuity. Eventually both the quiet and loud meld into each other at one point and the speaking gives way to screaming. It’s an emotive moment and a high point that, at the right point gives away to more quiet. It’s here where the song could end pretty comfortably.

Instead of ending the song becomes massive once more. It’s cathartic, feels like the culmination of realisation and hits all the right notes. It also sees one more move to quiet, at least for a few short and perhaps sombre notes as it ends.

Whilst “Zanshin” is more direct and agile than “Seimei”, it also feels more atmospheric. A sense of tension comes through strong, but there’s something almost around the song, seemingly blurring what lies beyond. In a way everything also feels restrained, but in the end Envy break free and launch into a blistering close. Once more it’s a strong close to an emotive song.

“Zanshin” could’ve stayed really straightforward, and in a way it does. However, Envy keep a sense of range throughout without losing thrust. There’s some space in parts that leads to a slight ebb and flow, but it’s the contrast between the vocals and instrumentation that stands out here. Screaming would’ve been fine, but instead the vocals are clean spoken word for the song’s entirety. It reinforces the tension and adds urgency without throwing more guitar at everything.

Seimei closes with “Tamayura”, a rather gentle piece that flows outward and onward as it moves toward a state of peace and quiet. Much like the rest of Envy’s music, there’s an emotional space here that feels justified and earned. It’s touching and effective, and a good way to end the EP.

Envy are still going and it’s great to see them doing so. What’s better is that they sound more like they’ve worked out how to progress and deepen as a band here. If Semei is a sampler for the next album, then it’s more than welcome. If it’s its own thing, then it’s a strong and emotive release from a wonderful group.

Seimei is available here.