Hey, welcome to Sunday metal school. This is the series where I introduce you to metal bands that provide a nice accessible entry point to the genre. Usually the format is that I’ll explain a little about the band and any interesting points about them and how they relate to metal history before I break down their sound a little. But with Envig, there’s a tiny issue with that. The most interesting thing about the band (apart from the fact that the music is some of the best fun I’ve had listening to death metal this year) is that they’re a ghost. Up until about a week ago, as far as I can tell, they didn’t exist. And that’s fascinating to me. Bands don’t just have to fight the record labels and the public to get their music out there. They have to fight themselves. Most bands who release an EP this polished have a trail of musical footprints leading up to the point where they had finally gotten their shit together. A few small live performances. A Facebook page to connect with local fans and bands. Bedroom recordings posted on Soundcloud. But in Envig’s case, as far as my Google detective skills tell me, there’s nothing. Even their logo, cool as it is, seems deliberately designed to obscure the band’s name. So all I can tell you is what precious little I can learn from their Bandcamp page. Their name is Envig. They come from Lidköping in Sweden. And their cracking demo, Warmachine, has appeared from nowhere to awaken your inner death-metal addict.
The secret to Envig’s immediate appeal, in spite of their bone-crunching heaviness, is that the music has much in common with crust punk. Their songs follow the classic verse-chorus-verse and the riffs are often crafted from simple musical building blocks. There are plenty of times that the riffs feel like a crust band with death metal leanings and a coating of musical grime layered on top to amplify the grim effect. Also, despite the mysterious nature of the band itself, the music doesn’t obscure its purpose behind walls of complexity. Everything is right there on the surface. If a part is meant to be creepy, you will find it creepy. And when a part is meant to get you moving, there is an excellent chance you will give yourself whiplash.
This straightforward, punky approach to death metal is underlined by the band on final track Booze, Violence and Misery, a cover of a song by Swedish crust punk crew Warcollapse, but the effects are everywhere on the album, from the compact song lengths to the defiant bark of the vocalist. The combination of death metal kick with punk hookiness gives the album an earnest, irresistible appeal that translates into an urgent impulse to hit the replay button. And that’s the best thing about the album. It’s a stomping death punk party piece that keeps inviting you back. It’s music to rock out to in your car while passing drivers wonder what the hell that nutjob’s nodding so vigorously at and music to use as your alarm clock the next morning. This is what a shot of musical adrenalin feels like.
Envig have a brilliant little demo here. With music this catchy and blunt, I’m not surprised that they just dropped the mic and walked away. Opening track Warmachine is embedded below and you can stream the full demo for free on Envig’s Bandcamp.