November 21, 2009

Converge - Axe To Fall (2009)

For 20 years, Converge has been reinventing themselves while still staying constant with one thing.... playing disturbingly good hardcore. The Boston natives released their 7th studio album, Axe To Fall about a month ago. I have been waiting to get receive the LP in the mail since its release, and hadn't listened to a single song. Now that I have it, it hasn't left my ears for three days. In fact, I listened to the album for 10 hours straight today. The album is 42 minutes long, but truly feels like an ep. Among the 7 studio albums, Converge has released a slough of splits, comps, and eps. The music they produce is always heavy as hell, and Jake Bannon's vocals always rip me to shreds. Over the years, they have gathered a cult following, and its for good reason--Converge makes music that is like no other band in the world.
Axe To Fall is no exception. It gets better and better with each listen. Their album Jane Doe is on my top 5 list of hardcore albums ever, and I've been muttering to myself, ".....this might be better than Jane Doe". The severity of that statement can not be appreciated unless you are a hardcore kid that grew up with Converge. Converge has taken everything that I love from each of their previous album, and woven it into their unique style seamlessly to create Axe To Fall.
The opening track 'Dark Horse' sets a pace for the album that makes me feel like the Maxell cassette tape dude in the chair. The onslaught continues for three more songs one of which has 3/4 of Cave In (Steve Brodsky, Adam McGrath and J.R. Connors), called "Effigy". The album then slows down with the two part beast, "Worms will feed/Rats will feast". "Wishing well" starts another four song theme of more doom/sludge songs, then leads into my personal favorite track, "Cutter". Machine gun/galloping drums command the song, and rattle the fillings out of my head. "Slave driver" is the 'last hoorah' before going into two absolutely amazing and unique songs that I still haven't decided if I can consider them Converge due to the guests on the songs. "Cruel bloom", is a Tom Waits/Black Heart Procession/Mike Patton song that is fronted by Steve Von Till of Neurosis. It makes me want to howl at the fucking moon. I LOVE THIS SONG. The closer is another amazing song that has almost all of Genghis Tron (Mookie Singerman, Hamilton Jordan and Michael Sochynsky), called "Wretched World". Its another very mellowed out song, that I think closes the album beautifully.
I'm still undecided about whether or not this album replaces my beloved Jane Doe, as the best Converge album. Axe To Fall defiantly has made the top three albums of the year list, and perhaps is my favorite album this year. Its a testament to how great bands can always reinvent themselves, while still embracing their own style. Converge is an amazing band, and this is an amazing album. Enjoy.

Other guests on Axe To Fall are John Pettibone (Undertow, Himsa), Ulf Cederlund (Entombed, Disfear), Sean Martin (Hatebreed), George Hirsch (Blacklisted).


Nightrain said...

Hol-eeee-shite. That "Axe To Fall" video made my hair stand on end.