Regarded by many to be the pioneers of metalcore, Converge are a band like none other. They blend metal and hardcore with technical riffage to make the definitive sound they will always be known for. Their second true full-length release, Petitioning The Empty Sky
, defined metalcore and heavy music to come way back in 1996, and is thought by some to be their best release to this day.
begins with "The Saddest Day", which is appropriately the best song on the album and arguably the greatest song Converge have ever done. If you must listen to a Converge song, listen to this one, because they don't come any better. Amazing breakdown, awesome vocals, killer riffs. What a way to start an album. Listen. Now.
The tracks that follow "The Saddest Day" may not overtake the afore-mentioned juggernaut, but they sure as hell try. "Forsaken" almost feels like a reprise of "Saddest" at points, and that's certainly not a bad thing. Jake's vocals have already broken in the album by the second track, and man are they killer. His screeches are unyieldingly powerful, and his "singing" is... debatable. When Jake sings, usually there are backing vocals shadowing the same notes, and of course they are out of tune. It sounds intentional to me and I would suggest that it is, because it certainly is creepy as opposed to beautiful, which is fitting following his screeching.
Not mentioning the guitars that are tearing across these tracks would be a misstep as well. They shift seamlessly from pounding palm-muting to high technical lines. I especially like them on "Shingles" as the album goes on, though it's often not considered a signature Converge track. "Farewell Note To This City" and "Color Me Blood Red" close out the original tracks and are a fantastic end to the record. Hey, "Farewell Note" is actually pretty! Of course, "Color Me Blood Red" shreds that to pieces with the intro riff, but it's not hard to see that coming.
Onto the extra live tracks (in a radio studio, of course). "For You" is a letdown to me. It's just too friggin' long and tedious. Pretty rare for a Converge track to do that as far as I'm concerned. But aw man, "Antithesis" is a killer. And at the huge pause before the heaviest section of "Homesong", there's a big break so one of the guitarists can change a broken string, with some discussion about Jake hitting his head on the mic stand and "bleeding like a siv". Then of course, they blast into the heavy section. Hilarious and great, definitely a good track to close on.
So all in all, if you enjoy Converge, this is a must-have. If you haven't heard enough Converge, buy this record. This is the best place to start and arguably the best album Converge have made so far.
: "The Saddest Day", "Forsaken", "Farewell Note To This City", "Color Me Blood Red", "Antithesis", "Homesong"