Converge
Axe to Fall


4.0
excellent

Review

by Kyle Ward STAFF
October 14th, 2009 | 3672 replies | 118,802 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist


I take a sense of pride in saying that the four-piece metal band Converge is from no more than 30 minutes away from where I live. It’s not that I am saying that it makes the music coming out of my area any better, it’s just that it’s nice to be able to listen to such a great piece of music as their latest release Axe To Fall is and know that it isn’t from some country thousands of miles across the ocean or a spawn of other scenes from the other side of my own nation. Converge is an act which takes their music with a restrained, albeit very intense, sense of seriousness and it shows. A very matured and controlled feeling of complete chaos lies within each and every guitar riff and drum beat, each scream is brought forth with the sincerest emotion and every lyric penned with a certain issue in mind about life as a whole.

It sounds very complicated and such, but when you listen to the music it really shines through as no descriptive words could, because amidst the complete and utter chaos there are moments of beauty which take the listener aback, and when songs like “Cruel Bloom” play it makes you really think about what exactly Converge is trying to convey with this album. Axe To Fall isn’t another Jane Doe, in fact comparisons between the two should be negated because each album is different in its own right. Axe To Fall is a step above the band’s other works in terms of maturity, and also in terms of musicianship. The melting of hardcore punk and extreme metal which Converge is so renowned for in the underground scene is slowly leaking its way into the brighter world of the bigger-name independent labels while still maintaining an attitude and tone which would deceive newcomers to the band into thinking the sound to be a more unknown vibe.

The opening portion of the album consists of what every single person who listens to Converge wants to hear: a ringing bass line transcending into a brilliantly progressive guitar riff, an atmosphere which immediately brings to mind the beauty yet unshackled brutality of such songs as “Concubine” or “Jane Doe”. However, it is immediately apparent that this is a different animal entirely as the vocals wind their way around the inhuman shrieking, punk-inspired chanting, and even borderline clean singing. The song structures are completely unpredictable and change with each passing song, going from the neck-breaking title track to the weaving epic that is “Wretched World”. The complex guitar riffs churn out both punishing chords and more harmonious melodies which are both insanely complex and god damn catchy. The bass is, thankfully, remembered, because the tone of bassist Nate Newton is simply wonderful and the production is key in highlighting this essential attribute to the crucial low-end of Converge’s sound. Also, another key element of Converge’s low-end is the highly technical but always fluent drumming, creating wonderful but complex polyrhythmic beats which compliment the unrelenting technicality of the guitars with utter perfection.

If there is any off-putting element in Axe To Fall it's that some of the best moments of the album disappear far too quickly. “Dark Horse” was such a good track that when it ended, it left me hung on the fact that I wanted more of that brilliant lead riff, and I wanted more of the heavily punk-influenced vocal department. Sure, it’s very dense material, but if you aren’t looking for an impenetrable wall of music, and you aren’t willing to wade around in the mud to find the pieces of gold that lie within, why listen to Converge at all? The less-memorable songs like “Effigy” and “Slave Driver” are totally overshadowed by the more grandiose compositions, but will likely make their way with time to the lists of your favorites.

Axe To Fall is simply an album which must be digested in order to really land its point and let it shine through. Through everything that Converge bring to the table, there is a sense of order and meaning lingering in the background to each and every song, it just takes the right ear to be able to capture it. However, if you do, Axe To Fall is one of the, if not the, most enjoyable metal release in the past year or two. It is an infinitely rewarding album to listen to, all the while being an album which really doesn’t need to be listened to in its entirety every single time. Very manageable track lengths will allow you to dissect multiple songs within a short period of time, and when all is said and done, you are simply left smiling at what you have just heard. It is an auditory tour-de-force the likes of which many bands in the world cannot replicate, but it is a sound which Converge has, time and again, conveyed.



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user ratings (2241)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • LargeTuna (4.5)
    The last two are the glue....

    David James Young (3.5)
    We may get better...we won't get well....

    Rationalist (4)
    Converge still have it in them to churn out some great music....

    Zettel (3)
    Converge returns to please their fans, with a rather predictable album....

  • Jared W. Dillon (2.5)
    Converge's collective of lost boys does little to improve the group's sound....

    Eli EMERITUS (4)
    Legendary metalcore band, Converge, release a solid and well refined album with Axe to Fal...

    Aaron (4.5)
    I never knocked a kid's face in....

    Kyle (4.5)
    Converge make a comeback that not only outshines No Heroes and You Fail Me, but also provi...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Crysis
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2009



16248 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I said I probably wouldn't write a review for this, but oh well.

blindsided21
October 14th 2009



146 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. I think Effigy is one of my favorite songs on the disc. The guitar just sounds really creepy and sinister.

myhigherpie
October 14th 2009



3027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I didn't know you liked Converge Crysis.

and damn, you seriously need to be staff, or at least a contributing reviewer.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2009



16248 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I didn't know you liked Converge Crysis.

This album really made me appreciate the band a lot more than I had in the past.

Thanks for the feedback guys.


EasternLight
October 14th 2009



2700 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

too many 4/4.5 reviews, but its expected

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2009



16248 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I know, this is looking like an Opeth album. I had this at a 3.5 but after listening to it a few more times today it rightfully deserved a 4.

plane
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2009



6085 Comments


This is the review I agree with most. I just love "Slave Driver."

myhigherpie
October 14th 2009



3027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

best song is cruel bloom. tom waits with a slight neurosis nod = win

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2009



16248 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think that "Slave Driver" was one of those songs I initially didn't find that outstanding but over time it really has grown on me.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
October 14th 2009



10585 Comments


I am humbled by such a great review. Awesome job!

Digging: United Nations - The Next Four Years

klap
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2009



10258 Comments


no mentioning of rape/murder/extortion/battery negged


Digging: The Bilinda Butchers - Heaven

Ragez
October 14th 2009



150 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Slave Driver" has one of my favorite Converge bass parts, one of the more memorable songs imo.

NebSnurb
October 14th 2009



535 Comments


I like this review better than the others.


I agree with blindsided21....the first time I heard Effigy it reminded me of some "creepy" shit.

Poet
October 14th 2009



5920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off


best song is cruel bloom

This.

Mordecai.
October 14th 2009



8270 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Good review, but this needs a five pronto, and i haven't even heard it yet.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
October 14th 2009



10585 Comments


Best fer sure, I agree too. Love the lack of rape/brutality paragraph

GBJ
October 14th 2009



495 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This review is pretty spot on. And ya, Converge makes me proud to be from Boston.

YouAreMySilence
October 14th 2009



3727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So you kinda need to be a Contributor right now..

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2009



16248 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haha thanks, I submitted my application for contributor a while back, waiting to see what comes of it.

Sorry for the lack of a rape/savage beating/murder paragraph, but it's sort of implied since its a Converge album. Thanks once again everyone.

Nikkolae
October 14th 2009



4767 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i relly do think this album is superb, but c'mon sputnik, 52 persons digging?, review is great too

Digging: We Came Out Like Tigers - Ever-Crushed at Pecket's Well



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