Converge
Axe to Fall


4.5
superb

Review

by Kyle USER (17 Reviews)
October 13th, 2009 | 101 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Converge make a comeback that not only outshines No Heroes and You Fail Me, but also provides some competition for the classic Jane Doe.

Converge: Axe to Fall Review

You’re walking down the street in a crowded city block, simply walking down to the local liquor store to pick up some fun times. It dawns upon you that you could take the alleyway that cuts behind Wal-Mart. Finding this to be the faster and more efficient route, you stray away from the main road and wander down the dark, grim alley. Tiny puddles splash beneath your feet as you start to become slightly scared; the alley being a very creepy environment, and not to mention a group of shady fellahs are chilling a few yards ahead of you. So you nonchalantly attempt to walk past the people, only to be met with a knife and a threat, “Hand over the money bitch!” You do what comes as an instinct and pull out the only money in your possession: three dollars. The men then begin to mercilessly beat you into submission… rapidly kicking you in the ribs, face, and anywhere that hurts (the lower extremities being the worse). You’re left with broken ribs, bruises, cuts, gashes, and anything that describes damage done to the human body. All you feel is a constant stream of searing pain and you begin to realize you just got your ass kicked.

After listening to Converge’s newest adventure… this is how I felt. This is usually what is expected from the metalcore tyrants, but when your brain is melted and you feel happy at the same time, you know something good just went down. Thus, we enter the realm of Axe to Fall, a beautiful yet hellish realm all in the same.

While this album still features your typical Converge: bone-crushing breakdowns, sometimes blazing speeds, and vocals that equal that of a lion’s roar… it still manages to pack a few surprises. First of which includes the incredible selection of guest appearances ranging from Steve Brodsky of Cave In to Steve Von Till of Neurosis. All of the guests manage to supply unique twists to the album, one of the standout moments being supplied by Steve Brodsky. He displays huge amounts of guitar skills in the fast track “Effigy,” which begins with heavily distorted riffs, followed by Brodsky literally sexing the guitar strings. This basically goes on for the entire song, and it pretty much stands out as one of the best tracks on the album. This isn’t to say that Kurt Ballou doesn’t get his fair share of action, as he clearly displays competence in the track “Cutter.” Ballou fires mini-solos at the listener left and right almost the entire song, all of which display fair amounts of speed and emotion.

Speaking of speed, does Ben Koller ever stop providing consistently awesome fills? The answer is, simply, no. He is constantly keeping a solid rhythm going, which is especially evident in the breakdowns. Not only does Koller tear it up behind the set, but we also have J.R. Connors making a guest appearance on “Effigy” with Cave In’s Steve Brodsky. While Connors doesn’t really differentiate himself from Koller, he does a great job of keeping the excellent drumming at a consistent standard.

Everything about Axe to Fall is above average, destroying any standards I made previous to the album’s release. If that wasn’t enough, the album features a legend in the world of metal and hardcore: Jacob Bannon… who screams and sings his heart out almost the entire album. His vocals especially soar on “Worms Will Feed” where he and Nate Newton on the bass guitar trade off sorrowful and incredibly angry yells, screams, and roars. The song eventually goes into a quieter section where everything begins to build up slowly while Newton whispers, “The worms will find a way.” It then explodes into a furious bridge as both Bannon and Newton scream that same line at the top of their lungs. Raw vocals meet perfection.

This is also where the album begins to compare to Converge’s acclaimed masterpiece, Jane Doe, as “Worms Will Feed” smoothly transitions into “Wishing Well.” This is in fact so well done that if you weren’t paying close attention, you would still think you’re on track five. Axe to Fall also makes sharp comparisons to Converge’s 2006 release No Heroes, as the first four tracks are quick, to the point, and tear you to pieces. The last two songs are possibly the slowest and most emotional songs Converge have ever written. “Cruel Bloom” could be confused as a Tom Waits cover and “Wretched World” has some very striking similarities to classics such as “Farewell Note to This City” and “Grim Heart/Black Rose.” Both of these also have different lead vocalists, “Cruel Bloom” featuring the fantastically grim Steve Von Till of Neurosis, and “Wretched World” featuring a crooning Mookie Singerman of Genghis Tron. Both vocalists supply the album with an excellent dose of clean vocals.

When it comes down to it, Axe to Fall is your typical Converge, but with more technicality and even higher quantities of raw emotion. It features the smooth-flowing composition of Jane Doe and the breathtaking emotion of Petitioning the Empty Sky and No Heroes. Converge still manages to pound your mind into oblivion and provide new tweaks to their ever-changing formula. Do yourself a favor, buy Axe to Fall and realize what listening to the album of the year feels like, because there’s no doubt in my mind that the Converge has everyone beat.



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user ratings (2280)
Chart.
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Si1v3RfaNg
October 13th 2009


817 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Sputnik, how do you italicize things?

Turtlelephant
October 13th 2009


168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

1st paragraph just may be the worst thing I've ever read in my life. Mind you, I've read many of John Hanson's reviews, and I've read my own reviews over.

BallsToTheWall
October 13th 2009


44471 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Its not that bad. 1st paragraph aside.

Digging: Tove Lo - Queen of the Clouds

joplinpicasso
October 13th 2009


427 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Okay, it seems you have a mind for what's going on musically, but you could have mentioned more songs, not to mention the lyrics (which not even I am familiar with that much yet)

Si1v3RfaNg
October 13th 2009


817 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I would have mentioned the lyrics... but I can't pick up on all of them yet and their not online yet. Also of the fucking million people who neg me who actually read past the first paragraph?

joplinpicasso
October 13th 2009


427 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Lyrics are on SongMeanings.net (really good, actually). Review was alright, seemed a little rushed.

Si1v3RfaNg
October 13th 2009


817 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

No, I mean it gives it some competition... I still think Jane Doe is better, but this is the best of the three newest albums.

BassDemon333
October 13th 2009


3379 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Album is incredible. Review is alright.

Si1v3RfaNg
October 13th 2009


817 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Oh didn't know they were up... I looked over a bunch of different lyric sites. Thanks man. Maybe I'll add another paragraph for lyrics.

illmitch
October 13th 2009


5429 Comments


review really isnt bad at all, most of you guys are just negging it because it's silverfang.

a few points of contention:

Jacob Bannon… whom screams and sings his heart out


should be "who". you only use "whom" when it's the object of a verb or a preposition, as in "the
man whom i saw" or "the man with whom i spoke". as a rule of thumb, use "who" when you would say
"he" (in this case, you wouldn't say "him screams and sings", you would say "he screams and sings")
and use "whom" when you would say "him".

Everything about Axe to Fall is above average

i think i understand the point you're trying to make with that, but "above average" doesn't sound
very conducive to a 4.5 rating. similarly, there is the quote "fair amounts of speed and emotion" -
spice these adjectives up.

otherwise, good job.

cfbassist
October 13th 2009


330 Comments


review seemed a bit fanboyish

only listened to the album once, didn't get me hooked

illmitch
October 13th 2009


5429 Comments


a few other things:

The song then explodes into a furious bridge as both Bannon and Newton scream that same line at the top of they’re lungs. Raw vocals meets perfection.


there are a few problems here. first, i wouldn't start two sentences in a row with "The song". if one sentence is talking about a certain thing and the next sentence talks about the same thing, you don't have to restate what you're talking about. just say "it then explodes..."

"they're" should be "their". this is a distinction you should have down: "they're" means "they are", "their" refers to possession, and "there" refers to location.

in "raw vocals meets", "meets" should be "meet".

Si1v3RfaNg
October 13th 2009


817 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

To Mitch: Yeah I had they're as their, and I had meets as meet, and fucking Microsoft Word had it as mistakes.

illmitch
October 13th 2009


5429 Comments


that's weird. word fucks up sometimes.

Prophet178
October 13th 2009


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the album features a legend in the world of metal and hardcore: Jacob Bannon…


How can the album feature someone who is in the band?

erasedcitizen
October 13th 2009


716 Comments


A feature is just a component.

Si1v3RfaNg
October 13th 2009


817 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah... I'm happy at least 8 people pos'd it.

burnafterbreeding
October 13th 2009


1466 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Not a chance. You Fail Me > No Heroes > This

Prophet178
October 13th 2009


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

But this followed up No Heroes.

Knott-
Emeritus
October 13th 2009


10197 Comments


Haha first paragraph is cringeworthy. Review is pretty decent. Still need to hear this.



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