Monday, August 17, 2009

Converge - No Heroes

The new Converge album (Axe To Fall) is coming October 20, 2009 and I had the idea to review previous albums of bands releasing new material in the future. I thought that it should start off with No Heroes.
Hard to challenge something considered a watershed album especially with Converge's case for Jane Doe that was the most honest emotional math roller coaster ride in hardcore to date which paved the way for a new generation of kids of both punk and metal to cross over. After years of touring all around the world post 9/11, they released You Fail Me which solidified their message that they still got the spirit and energy by doing what they do instead of trying to succeed the heavy reception of Jane Doe. It carries on to their 2006 album No Heroes with excellence and larger appreciation than ever before.

From "Heartache" through "To The Lions", Converge does the hot and heavy with riffs reminiscent of their extreme influences. The nihilistic thrashing on the titled song, the Cave In noisy prog rock tendencies on "Orphaned", and the post-metallic build ups of "Trophy Scars", they and the other 12 songs on the album deliver the goods with seemingly no effort done. Ben Kollar's drumming succeeds the math-y tendencies in Jane Doe with pure attack and focus which can even make the prog death drummers jealous. Jacob's completes the Converge circle with shouts the topics of sacrifice outside our home. He is skillfully relentless and loves being so.

Official music video of Converge's "No Heroes"

While entirely awesome, there are certain songs that are just entirely masterful and being the top songs on No Heroes. "Bare My Teeth" manages to put noise rock, jazz drumming, and thrash and sludge influenced hardcore riffs into two minutes which if it was longer, it would have been the most boring one available. As opposed to short and fast, there is the long epic "Grim Heart/Black Rose" where it's a journey into sadness of death and mourning filled with clean yet gloomy guitar and a great singing contribution by Only Living Witness vocalist Jonah Jenkins. It builds up to the quick and immediate punk mix of anger and sorrow where it suddenly dies down to no emotion. Converge no matter the focus of music they do, they know how to make great songs with enough content to avoid the shoegazy sleepy time of other bands and such.

Although it feels like a regression from Jane Doe and in most senses is, You Fail Me and especially No Heroes is supposed to say that's not the point for Converge of this time. Even if beneficial to follow what Jane Doe did and expand the mathcore sensibilities, Converge does excellent on doing what they do while trying to have some subtle left turns which is for the better. It's all about enjoying on what the have and indeed it's enjoyable!


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