Converge
Axe to Fall

I’ll come clean. I love Converge. Ever since discovering them when The Poacher Diaries came out, I became a manic obsessive, drooling over Petitioning the Empty Sky, and When Forever Comes Crashing, frequently and almost to a point, lovingly. Now, since Jane Doe, came out, my interest hasn’t waned in the band. Far from it, but if you gave me the choice between When Forever.., and You Fail Me, for instance then I’ll plumb for the former almost every time, just because it fits my vision of musical perfection more acutely then it’s ugly sibling, which in fact, satisfies a different part of my palette.

Anyway, enough fan boy babbling, let’s get onto Axe to Fall. Converge are still exploring the darkened, skewered path that they set upon from Jane Doe and if anything, they are getting bitterer and more twisted and even more harrowing then on their former efforts. As with the records since Jane Doe, and mirroring closely “No Heroes,” the opening compositions come thick and most importantly, fast, hacking and slashing with deadly speed and precision, but this time, they take a sizable chunk out of your ear before they have concluded.

“Dark Horse,” amalgamates so many elements, it’s equally crusty, yet simultaneously it melds beautifully gleaming metallic crunches, Jake’s wounded howl and his vicious scream. “Reap What You Sow,” continues the chaos, but focuses more on dancing stuttering riffs, similar to those found on “Thaw,” on Jane Doe. They dance and poke with resolute fury before giving way to a ripping solo and barrage of double bass. The title track keeps the blood pressure pumping, with riffs skipping up and down the scales, and coalescing into crushing segues that pound and pound and pound, seriously Mr Koller, what are you on? It concludes with a scything, and of course crushing, blackened, crusted riff, ducking and diving with faultless poise and precision.

This bloodbath concludes with another grinder in the form of “Effigy,” which seems redeemed co-conspirators Steve Brodsky and Adam McGrath bringing the noise again like it was 1998. Up next is one of the album highlights, “Worms will feed,” a gargling, damaged and utterly addictive sludge monster that crawls insidiously, mingling in glassy, prickly riffs amongst the demented sludge.

Of all the collaborators on Axe to Fall, the one that perked my interest the most was the one with Mr Von Till from those Oakland Monoliths Neurosis (just in case you didn’t know). The piece “Cruel Bloom,” is decidedly delicious, reminding that Converge aren’t afraid to tread the damaged folk path as they did with “In Her Shadow,” from You Fail Me. Von Till is equally soothing as he is raging, cracking out his fierce bellow smoothly from his coy croon, musically, it’s equally impressive, with the doomy riffs lurking with insipid menace colliding sumptuously with dreamy, ethereal strumming, it’s a massive, brave and above all, beautiful track.

I could go on about the numerous highlights through the album beyond those listed here, but that would be spoil the surprises and other shocks contained within, just get this and revel in its evil, evil genius.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Benjamin DeBlasi
November 6th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: Brandon Duncan

    Definitely in my top 10 for 2009…This cd is absolutely insane! Damn it has been a good year for metal!


  2. Commented by: xaden

    it’s always a good year for metal.converge don’t really play metal but every release is stunning.


  3. Commented by: Sandwiches

    Favorite cd of 2009 so far! Sooooooooo fucking good


  4. Commented by: AARONIUS

    I just completely don’t get this band. I know I know, I’m an idiot or whatever, but these guys truly do nothing for me at all.

    I own Jane Doe, but I find it almost unlistenable.

    The review commented on Jake’s vocals and how wounded and vicious they sound. Yeah if you distort anyone else’s vocals as much as his they’ll all sound vicious. Sorry I don’t mean to be overly critical cause I’m not against “noisecore” as a whole, but I’m not impressed by Converge.


  5. Commented by: gabaghoul

    I tried Jane Doe recently as well and didn’t enjoy it either. Will check this out anyway.


  6. Commented by: Reignman35

    I feel you Aaronius… It’s uncool to say it but we are not alone. This just sounds like a pile of dissonant shit to me. Like they’re trying WAY too hard to sound technical just for the sake of being technical…


  7. Commented by: xbenx

    Everyone, thanks for the comments, Aaronius, gabaghoul and Reignman, interesting points you have raised and ones that can surely be considered valid. Aaronius, you make a fair point about the vocal distortion, but with or without, Bannon sounds like a maniac, be it live or on previous releases where his voice was definately effect free. And no way are you an idiot at all, Converge are not an easy band to digest, and truth be told, I’ll always prefer their late 90s material over that which has come since Jane Doe, in fact, I wholly recommend both their late 90s albums, “Petitioning,” and “When Forever,” it’s more Slayer riffing and chugging then the chaotic squalling that has come to signify their later work.


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