This is a review of "Bliss" recorded by Envoys. The review was written by Mick Nelson in 2016.
Bliss is the latest offering from Leeds heavy rock band Envoys. Recorded at 6ft Under Studios in Leeds and mixed at The Grand in Clitheroe, the album kicks off with opening track Strange Attractor. This track is straight out of the starting blocks and writhes around like a worm that you've just cut in half. The music is mainly instrumental and the opener sets the tone. The musicianship is excellent and the production lends a professional finish. The instruments all sync well and play their parts. The opening track begins very full on with everything going full speed but finishes with beautiful strings that float you back down to terra firma, in style. The Hostage comes in with an alarm effect in the background which gets yours truly worrying something is wrong, immersive stuff indeed. Around the 45 secs mark, the track is drenched in guitars that rain down, a slight nod to Sigur Ros, perhaps, although, maybe not. The vocals break in and the songs really gets going, it's now that the band show their true colours and really show their teeth. The song breaks into an anthemic singalong half way through which is then proceeded by a nifty little breakdown before an impressive drum fill kicks the song straight back in like having your face kicked clean off, impressive. Saboteurs goes into full on math-rock/post-rock/post-metal overdrive with dual guitars doing a great job syncopating nicely with bass and drums to deliver the signature sound that this genre is used to representing, the song ending nicely with ethereal strings and a-call-to-arms vocal. Title track Bliss feels like you're locked in the boot of a car being driven down a lonely desert road, on your way to being buried alive with layers of not earth but walls of guitar and the weight of drums and bass. N.A.B starts with a contrastingly relaxing, reflective tone, the album mid-point of note. It soothes and caresses as if luring the listener into a false sense of security before quickening pace and thrusting into full on vocals and wailing guitars which flit between calm and frantic, taking on an almost schizophrenic life midway through. This is then subdued by the vocals of Dee & Kerry, who for me could do with sitting just a tiny bit higher in the mix as you cannot hear what they are actually saying until it's just vocals and drums, the clarity comes through at the end. Like A Son starts with a nice acoustic piece that shows the band aren't just another one dimensional post-rock band. The guitar lifts you and lets the listener soar as it builds and then descend as it does too, a wonderful, welcomed interlude. 5:1 is straight back to business. A no apologies post-rock by numbers tune complete with screamo vocals, it's as if Like A Son never happened, was it just a dream. But, just as I'm starting to think, "next", the track is stopped in its tracks with the heavenly female vocals which lead into a chunky finish. The theme of this album seems to be fast then slow, chilled then manic, this works well, if the whole album was manic then it would certainly just be another post-rock/metal album but the subtlety adds a mature approach that proves the band have thought about what they are doing. Apologies does get going with some juicy riffs later on that are helped along by some nice use of a whammy bar, something Deftones have done effectively on their latest LP, GORE. The drums on this track are particular well produced with a nice amount of attack and a crisp sound to the cymbal bashing, lovely. It ends with a bit of a 28 Days Later feel. Last track, Reflections & Exits is a strange juxtaposition of Leeds accents talking about refugees and an old American man talking about waiting to die. I think the American voice works sublimely but I may have personally left out the Leeds accents. I'm Leeds born and bred, but it just takes the otherwise brilliant sheen off the effect that is trying to be achieved, especially when one of the lads is talking about a pedalo, context considered, sorry boys. The full sound is soon ushered in along with ball breaking vocals. This is a slower number that has meaty guitars chugging along that would have a crowd at Download Festival happily head banging along. The songs gets some more audio spoken word excerpts, reminding yours truly of One by Metallica, that sort of feel, thrash meets the big screen, it's an effective piece of production and certainly paints a powerful image. The songs ends with nice drumming, clearly the guy is talented. This in turn is followed by full post-rock outro as if you're hurtling towards a door, the door is opened, you wake up, it was all a dream.