Converge
No Heroes


2.0
poor

Review

by Grant Hunter USER (76 Reviews)
March 13th, 2007 | 106 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Aggressive and over the top, "No Heroes" is an emotion-packed trip, but it ultimately fails due to the lack of coherency and song structure.

In earlier times, the word “chaos” really referred to unpredictability (or even to the Greeks as “to be wide open”), but due to some misunderstanding of early Christian uses of the word, it had its meaning changed to something like “disorder”. The meaning stuck with the word, and now is a common term for anything out of the ordinary or sporadic. In a sense, however, Converge appears to have combined both the past and present definitions of that word.

Emerging from Boston in 1990, Converge is often credited as pushing the limits of metalcore through the blend of hardcore punk and extreme metal and helping to define the genre. With their past release “Jane Doe”, they were even described as “math” metal, which put them along the lines of bands such as Meshuggah (though I believe they sound nothing alike except in their approach to song writing). However, a raging conflict has been going since the band’s birth on what exactly they are, since the members seem to distance themselves from the typical metalcore scene. With their latest release, “No Heroes”, they aim to distance themselves even more by delving into a darker and even more aggressive atmosphere.

‘Chaos’, in all of its definitions, is what this album is. It’s vast, disorderly, and unpredictable, and there-in lies its downfall. There seems to be little direction on “No Heroes”, and their attempt at ‘controllable chaos’ explodes in their faces repeatedly. The first 5 tracks, which are a grand total of about 6 minutes all together, attempt to strangle the listener into submission from vein-bursting screams and heavily distorted pummeling riffs, but the grip that it puts around the listener's neck is rather flimsy, as it slips off quite quick. While they sound exactly the same, these few songs were meant to roll together as one, so to call them carbon-copies of one another isn’t exactly fair, but the songs fail their purpose. Hell-bent on infusing the listener into a sea of emotion, they very well could possibly miss the mark with most, and instead can cause confusion as to what direction they’re supposed to be going in. Take for example the opening track “Heartache”. While the opening riff is downright punishing, Converge begins to fire off in all directions that almost feels as if you have to focus on one member at a time instead of soaking it in. It's a bit overbearing, to be honest.

Each of the songs showcased on “No Heroes” seems to be written with the purpose for the listener to share their pain and frustration, but when there is no coherency, this cannot be achieved in the first place. The songwriting is completely dumbfounding, as each member appears to be gifted, but they lack the ability to play together. The title track and “Bare My Teeth” show the drums, guitar/bass, and vocals flying all over the place uncontrollably. This “chaos” that they create isn’t enough to actually fit a song, as the guitars do one thing, while the vocals do another; they simply never seem to mix together too well. In simpler terms, they gave themselves huge room for playing, but never really brought it together. Bands such as Theory in Practice (the song “Dehumanized” comes to mind) use this approach, but there’s an underlying sense of order that connects all of the members that Converge seems to lack on “No Heroes”.

The vocals are a bit of mix bag overall. While there certainly is an aggressive force pushing out of Jacob Bannon’s mouth, it seems as if they didn’t “up” the volume on it during the mixing stages. It sounds too blended in and very indistinguishable. “Orphaned” is a prime representation of this, as he sounds like another distorted guitar chugging along. His lyrics are actually quite good, with lines such as “No more heroes, No more no more! In my world of enemies I walk alone!”, which would’ve been amazing and moving if you could hear them. And when you can make him out, he sounds like nails against a chalkboard. He’s a bit too harsh, but the appearance of guest vocalist Jonah Jenkins on “Grim Heart / Black Rose” incorporates some wonderful clean singing, which helps contrast against Jacob's harsh voice. Unfortunately, the second part of the song sees him returning to his past form.

Un-coordination aside, “No Heroes” does possess two rather enjoyable songs: “Grim Heart / Black Rose” and “Trophy Scars”. Both feature great musicianship, as well as what appears to be coherency between the members. Not only that, those are the two songs in which Jacob turns to his clean singing approach, which gives off a wonderful calming sensation.

In the end, “No Heroes” lacks order. It’s too sporadic and chaotic for its own good, and it ends up crashing due to that. The members go off on their own too many times and don’t regroup except for really two songs. There’s talent to be found here, but they need to play together in order to advance.

Overall – 2/5

Recommended Tracks
Grim Heart / Black Rose
Trophy Scars



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Comments:Add a Comment 
south_of_heaven 11
March 13th 2007


5438 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Mmk. I'm gonna go play God of War 2. Neg, yell, do whatever, but I think I did alright here.
BTW, "Trophy Scars" is totally cool. I wish they had more songs on here like that, cause then I would love it...

Thor
March 13th 2007


10202 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

...This Message Edited On 01.14.09

Digging: Black Crown Initiate - The Wreckage of Stars

south_of_heaven 11
March 13th 2007


5438 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I'm torn on them. Sometimes, I want to shoot the guy in the face, but when he sings clean, he's really, really good.

Syncratic
March 13th 2007


756 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Trophy Scars" is tits.

Excellent review.

trustxdialect
March 13th 2007


1502 Comments


I like this, but you back up your opinions well. I'll pos, but you're gonna get flamed.

Side-note: Ahhhh, God of War 2. I'm getting that tomorrow. It's gonna own me.

south_of_heaven 11
March 13th 2007


5438 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I can really hear some good muscianship from these guys individually, but they just don't bring it together here. And yea, I know, I'm gonna get negged to Hell...oh well.

jrowa001
March 13th 2007


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^^^i dont even have GoW2 yet but it already owns me haha. im hoping to get it soon. i like this cd a little, but you do back up your opinions. the vocals are very tiresome though so i normally can only listen to 1 or 2 songs in a row

Syncratic
March 13th 2007


756 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

What'd you think of Jane Doe?

trustxdialect
March 13th 2007


1502 Comments


That reminds me, I still don't have Jane Done. -2 points for me.

Angmar
March 13th 2007


2689 Comments


i like this cd a little


Then why do u have it rated a 5 :confused:

Good review what ive heard from this didnt strike my fancy.

Ire
March 13th 2007


41828 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Very well written soh.

Oddsen
March 13th 2007


1127 Comments


ah, we have another brave soul. I'll read this later when i have the chance. What i've heard from Converge hasn't interested me at all. I guess i'm not HARDCORE enough

trustxdialect
March 13th 2007


1502 Comments


edited cause i read into things too muchThis Message Edited On 03.14.07

Channing
March 13th 2007


497 Comments


wow way to read too far into his comment

LifeInABox
March 13th 2007


3709 Comments


you spelled Meshuggah wrong but otheriwse its a decent review

Intransit
March 13th 2007


2797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really good review. You backed up your opinions well, although I do think this is pretty much meticulously crafted musically, and everything does lock in pretty well together, but alas, opinion.


IsItLuck?
Emeritus
March 13th 2007


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I do not get how it is not coherent. If you want to listen to something that is truly not coherent, listen to psyopus.

Oddsen
March 13th 2007


1127 Comments


really awesome review. You pretty much nailed it. Not really long, catchy intro, descriptive and clear. cool

and trust it wasn't really a serious comment

south_of_heaven 11
March 13th 2007


5438 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I don't think it's really your place to say this. Yeah, the album may be unstructured, but maybe that's one of the reasons why people find so much to identify with emotionally. I think you'd be better off saying that YOU can't enjoy music that's so disorderly and giving solid examples of the breakdown in structure rather than evaluating that element of the music.


You're right. Throughout this whole review, however, I really tried to stay away from my own personal feelings (like saying "Man I hate this album so much!") and be as objective as possible that I wrote that without giving a proper example. I'll change that, thanks for the heads up.This Message Edited On 03.13.07

Tyler
Emeritus
March 13th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You definitely backed your points up well so I will totally vote for this. I just have to say it, you really just don't get this band.

But that's okay.

But for some people these guys mean a lot. Jane Doe for me is a really special record, and this falls right behind it. Whenever I feel down, depressed or just frustrated I can rely on these albums. Sure it's weird that the lyrics are so well written, yet nearly indistinguishable, but for me that's part of the appeal. With each listen you uncover something.

I digress. It was a solid review and for the most, you proved your points pretty well. Solid stuff.



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