Converge - Axe to Fall

posted 16 Oct 2009, 02:27 by Harry Cooke   [ updated 16 Oct 2009, 02:35 ]
[Epitaph Records]

Release date: 20th October 2009


by Vicky Miller

Axe to Fall” is a more straight forward album than we have become accustomed to from Boston grind/hardcore legends Converge. This is by no means a criticism; Converge can still pack a musical punch that could shatter an iron skull, but the random tempo changes and sudden start/stop songs that punctuated their previous offerings are gone. This album signifies a maturing in the band’s sound, with all the aggression, power and raw emotion of their previous releases still remaining at the core. Instead of the audio collage of random, screaming madness characteristic of ConvergeAxe to Fall features a consistent sound from the first song to the last, sounding not unlike a concept album at times; a hint to the underlying concept possibly outlined in the album’s title

Ben Koller’s drumming is on top form throughout Axe to Fall” and his fills remain consistently impressive. Jacob Bannon’s vocals are fierce and the guitars and bass feature the crushing power that is signature Converge style. The first track, “Dark Horse” has an old school hardcore edge, with some fast, massively heavy riffs and manic vocals. Track five, the emotive “Worms Will Feed merges effortlessly into track six “Wishing Well” which after a steady opening gives way to a punk riff before the musical madness beginsStand out track “Damages” has a dark and desperate feel, evoking a deep and reflective side to Converge that complements their visceral and frenzied bursts of energy.

Some of the songs on this album, notably “Damages” and the darkly melancholic “Worms Will Feed” extend into sprawling meta-narratives. Others, such as the title track which features an unrelenting 1 minute and 34 seconds of intense noisecore, the aggressive Cutter” with its screeching riffs and the acute rise and fall of the track Effigy representing sudden, sharp assaults that are over before we have had time to fully appreciate them.

Axe to Fall contains 47 minutes of hardcore energy, stimulating musical experimentation and raw emotion. With guest appearances from members of Neurosis, Genghis Tron, Cave In, and Disfear, Axe to Fall is a genuinely innovative and imaginative album that is strikingly anti-formulaic and has quite possibly exceeded the high standardConverge set with 2001’s Jane Doe.