Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009, a retrospective pt. 6

#6



Converge - Axe to Fall

In 2000, Converge covered "Disintegration" by the Cure for a compilation of Cure covers by hardcore bands. It swings from unsettling, razor-sharp beauty to horrific violence without undermining either quality, and it's something that I used to think was unmatchable. It is one of my favorite pieces of music, cover or not, and I'm happy to say that this album finally, and firmly capitalizes on the potential displayed on that song.

While all of Converge's releases have been notable, this one is indelible in the way "Jane Doe" was, smashing and scratching into your brain case, and making a nest inside your freshly tenderized skull. Ben Koller and Nate Newton cement their reputation as metal's most formidable rhythm section, and Kurt Ballou cements his reputation as one of the most creative guitarists in metal today. Jake Bannon's shriek is unmistakable, and utilizes a scathing vitriol unseen in their repertoire to date. This album is also notable for a sizable guest list, ranging from all of Genghis Tron to Ulf Cederlund. Converge proves themselves to be masters of their sound, comfortable with experimentation and cunning enough to know what works and what does not. The second to last song on the album, "Cruel Bloom", is an epic dirge featuring the unmistakable roar of Steven Von Till and still manages to sound unmistakeably like Converge. For a band with such a unique vocalist, this is an exceptionally impressive feat. With "Axe to Fall", Converge's position on the top of the extreme metal/hardcore pantheon reaches legendary proportions.

Converge - Axe to Fall

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