For a list of all Envinity albums, go here: www.cdbaby.com/all/envnity
SWEET PAINFUL REALITY REVIEW
By Joel Steudler / www.RayGunsOfDeath.com
It often takes bands several albums to realize their full potential and hit upon a sound that is both uniquely their own and superbly crafted. I can't say for sure that Envinity's mastermind Niko has reached the upper limits of his ability on 'Sweet Painful Reality', but I can say with
conviction that he has produced an expertly shaped opus of progressive gothic rock.
Astoundingly, this is his (and Envinity's) debut album. If 'Sweet Painful Reality' is only the tip of Niko's creative iceberg, I can hardly wait to hear what will surface as his artistic skills mature. Some songwriters simply seem to have a gift for knowing how to arrange lyric, flowing music. Niko and his cohort Thomas blend brooding keyboard chords, emotionally charged vocals, various electronics, and heavy guitars into a smooth and powerful listening experience.
The mood throughout 'Sweet Painful Reality' is generally somber, melancholy, or wistful... but Niko doesn't mope around. Mid-paced tempos drive the music along, and there always seems to be something interesting to listen to popping up over the course of each lengthy track. The full album weighs in at a hefty seventy-one minutes, but it never feels like it's been overextended or bloated with filler. The active and dense instrumental arrangements and generally lively percussion see to it that the listener is never bored.
Niko's vocals are the highlight of the album. His voice reminds me of Jon Olivia or Zak Stevens from Savatage... though not as powerful as the latter nor as gruff as the former. Niko delivers the lyrics with an expressive mid-range timbre that is well suited to the style at hand. Too often these days, bands seem to feel that they're obligated to include either a classically trained female vocalist or a growly, menacing male rasper on their albums. It's refreshing to hear a band (if you can call two guys a band, anyhow) rely on a single male vocalist who employs clean vocals over the course of a whole record. Even more pleasing is that the performance never becomes stale, and the lack of vocal variety doesn't hurt the music at all. Note to other bands: having clean, emotionally charged vocals can be just as effective and intense as gravel-throated rasping!
Fans of dark, progressive music with a gothic edge are likely to love this album. I can safely recommend it to anyone that appreciates the smoother side of dark music, especially those that enjoy articulate and stirring clean male vocals. For a debut album that was independently funded and produced, Envinity's 'Sweet Painful Reality' is a very mature offering with high production values. It is easily on par technically with any other commercial release from the big record labels, and deserves to find its way into the hands of what should become a broad fanbase.