Overall Score: 8.4/10 : /10 : /10 : /10 Pros: Cons:
It’s difficult to describe the sound of Converge. From their first inception almost 20 years ago they have been producing aggressive music and never swaying from their initial vision. Whereas many bands deliver the standard pre release boasting about how ‘the new album is far heavier, our best work yet, the album we’ve always wanted to make’; Converge simply write the songs that they enjoy, the result being that they will always be leaders through their honesty and producing music that challenges both themselves and the listener.
‘Axe To Fall’ was released in October of 2009 and is there most progressive album since the genre defining ‘Jane Doe’. The albums opener, ‘Dark Horse’, with it’s frantic rhythm work and spiralling riffs delivers so many twists and turns in it’s 2.55mins that you are genuinely left wondering what hit you. The build up and subsequent breakdown at the end of the song is devastating. And then before you really have time to take a breath you are thrust face first into ‘Reap What You Sow’ with precision riffing and machine gun drumming. The tracks often segue into the next giving the album a more cohesive feel. It sounds effortless throughout, instinctive songs that have evolved naturally. The band have also opened the doors to members of Cave In, Genghis Tron, and Neurosis in both performance and in song-writing which gives new dimensions to their already overwhelming sound.
Production duties are handled as ever by Kurt Ballou who manages to capture the chaos perfectly. On first listen it is like being hit with a spade in the face, second spin is similar to putting your face in a furnace but upon repeat listens you begin to absorb it. Once you get ‘Converge’ there is nothing else like it. ‘Axe To Fall’ is brimming with standout moments, from the total mayhem of the title track through to the dying embers of ‘Wretched World’ you are kept on the edge of your seat throughout. The musicianship on the album is second to non, be it the unrelenting abrasive vocals of Jacob Bannon, the jagged guitar of Kurt Ballou or the powerhouse of Nate Newton / Ben Koller providing the backbone to the controlled frenzy.
What makes Converge so special is their longevity, the albums don’t date. Whichever album you decide to play sounds every bit as vital today as it did upon release, ‘Axe To Fall’ continues to surprise me with every listen. The songs sound devastating on CD but in a live venue this is going to be weapons grade stuff.
- Dark Horse
- Reap What You Sow
- Axe To Fall
- Worms Will Feed / Rats Will Feast
- Wishing Well
- Losing Battle
- Dead Beat
- Slave Driver
- Cruel Bloom
- Wretched World