You know those albums that get a lot of praise solely based off the first couple songs while, if the album was shortened to an EP size, it could be far easier to sit through, let alone enjoy. Converge, the epitome of relentless anger, unfortunately falls into this trap here. Petitioning The Empty Sky is their third album, and sees Converge well on their way to the cacophonous sound they’re known for today, however does not follow through with the conscious insanity of Jane Doe or the raw power of You Fail Me. While those two albums certainly had their flaws scattered about as well, Petitioning is unaware of such faults, therefore making most of the material sound pretty juvenile.
As anyone who’s heard this before, The Saddest Day is one of Converge’s best songs. It follows no pattern, incorporates a few math-metal sections, and is ridiculously unrefined in terms of performance (possibly due to the high-treble production), but it doesn’t hurt it in any way aside from the poor clean vocals. It shows that the band is now capable of something worthwhile even though they don’t realize it yet based on Albatross. It’s basically the same thing as Forsaken drum-wise but more catchy and with more clean vocals, bearing a strange influence of early, early post-hardcore. Dead and Buried But Breathing have similar concepts, following the ideas of bands like The Accused and Born Against and it doesn’t hold up very well. The use of clean vocals throughout the record is very shiver-inducing as they are usually off-key and simply sound very weird. That’s not to say clean vocals don’t fit, but it’s too bad someone else couldn’t do it, and it ruins what could be considered worthwhile moments (see Farewell Note To This City).
This is possibly the most disjointed album Converge has released, due to the band still trying to come into their own and incorporating far too many influences all at once in an incoherent manner. Sure a Converge fan will enjoy this, but as far as anyone else it’ll sound a bit lackluster compared to anything they do later (except No Heroes, that was just bad), so if you feel like you still want to listen to this record, just listen to the first track and move on to something else.