Review Summary: Converge create a masterpiece with their album Jane Doe, which is an album that people who embrace it, will not forget it.
Jane Doe is often used describe a person of anonymity. People use it to mask their identity whether it be the female (Jane Doe) or male (John Doe) version. Converge used a specific Jane Doe that led to an album for the ages. This album is tacky, with intelligent lyrics that create a story about a girl that once was something, and now is nothing. For instance, “Fault and Fracture” are the holes and gaps in the relationship in which there are the occasional fight or argument. “Distance and Meaning” is what happens when time is spent apart from one another and you find out more about yourself and your partner. “The Broken Vows” is like the promises that were made but never kept. “Thaw” is the time after the relationship where they are just getting over the whole thing and then end it with a most perfect song “Jane Doe” which expresses that this once love is just some other person, not even remotely important. They are simply just a figure of nothing. An album about someone who is nothing sure does pack a lot of something.
Jane Doe begins with two of Converge’s most grind influenced songs, "Concubine" and "Fault and Fracture." Both songs are equally aggressive, but have their own defining moment. “Concubine” is initiated with an infectious slapping-like guitar riff. From there on, the pace is feverishly aggressive. Meticulous guitar riffs in "Fault an Fracture," provided by Kurt Ballou, and intricate drumming highlight the song over brutally coarse vocal work. If "Fault and Fracture" tells anything about Jane Doe
, it is that they are businessmen when it comes to their songwriting. And while the first two songs may have initiated a thought that this album was overwhelmingly relentless, the pace changes quickly with "Distance and Meaning" and "Hell to Pay." " Distance and Meaning" has a somewhat relaxed verse with a chorus that energy is pulsating off. On the other hand, "Hell to Pay" is quite possibly the slowest song that Converge have ever recorded. It provides a needed break for the forthcoming songs.
"Homewrecker," "The Broken Vow," and "Bitter and Then Some" are some of Converge's pinnacle songs. Instead of continuing with a true metal approach to the album, "Homewrecker" sounds more like a hardcore/punk song (hence their genre label of metalcore). It is this versatility that put Converge on higher plateau than metalcore legends like Botch. Lyrically, Bannon is remarkable as "The Broken Vow" ends with the beautiful repetitive line, 'I'll take my love to the grave' until the end. The short-lived "Bitter and Then Some" continues the assault of well defined riffs and fills on top of choatically fitting vocals. Would you expect anything less from Jane Doe
? After all, "Thaw" and "Phoenix in Flight" continue to shape this album into the absolute classic album that it is. It is perfect, especially after their most dynamic song yet.
"Jane Doe." Perhaps the most fitting and complete closer to any album in this decade. The sum of the parts is riddled with endurance and constant energy (something that isn't new to the album) that makes it perhaps the most complete song on the album. Bannon's vocals are breathtaking, the guitars are huge and boisterous. Every element combines to create an epic result. Behind it all, the line 'I want out' is softly sung as the chorus in what is a plea to escape, an escape from the album, an escape from Jane Doe. As the song ends, a guitar riff starts at about the nine minute mark that builds layers upon layers of the same riff. The ending is a complete masterpiece, a truly terrific buildup to end such a masterpiece of an album that ends with the final words spoken, reciting, 'run on girl, run on.'
Few albums have such a fulfilling effect after listening to, especially within this genre. From start to finish, Jane Doe is full of liveliness and astonishing variations among each track. This album left me wanting more and more of what Converge was, and what they had to offer. One would figure if they could produce this masterpiece, what they would come up with next would just as pleasurable. Converge’s work Jane Doe altered a genre and the musicians that followed. Maybe Jane Doe is not so anonymous after all.