Review Summary: Converge deliver one of their darkest works to date with You Fail Me. It stands as an album that takes the full attention of the listener and sends them on a journey they won’t soon forget.
I’ll admit I never really gave Converge a chance at first. The musicianship was great in their music, no doubt, but Jacob Bannon’s vocals were a real turn off for me at first. I couldn’t even understand what he was saying and at some points it was just downright awful to me. Despite this, I gave in to my instinct that this band might in fact be really great and gave the classic Jane Doe a listen and let the music grow on me rather than judge it by a first listen. I was very suprised. The title track blew my mind and the album was exceptionally good and well written, something I realized once I opened up to their style and saw how different they are from other metalcore bands. After Jane Doe, I moved on into their discography and stumbled upon You Fail Me, which has become my favorite release by them so far.
Having already heard Jane Doe, No Heroes, and Axe to Fall before this; I was expecting something quite similar. Instead, I found that this is much darker and more visceral then any of the others. This record absorbs the listener into its very dark theme and leaves them feeling uncomfortable and somewhat disturbed after the final track, “Hanging Moon”, ends. The instrumental opener “First Light” instantly delves into a depressing vibe with its quiet and melancholy guitar riffs that set the stage for its companion, “Last Light”. Bannon calls for the immediate attention of the listener with his opening lyrics and the song turns into a brutal assault that ends on an awesome note with Bannon’s line ‘This is for the hearts…still…..beating’ with Guitarist Kurt Ballou finishing with several ringing chords repeated in a pattern that sounds like he’s literally beating the *** out of his instrument in a rage. The whole band is truly in top from the moment the album begins.
Following the first 2 tracks, the onslaught continues as “Black Cloud” and “Drop Out” come in. The former features a great example of how Converge can make a short, brutal track while incorporating all of the aspects of their sound, and features a catchy shout-along chorus that has some great vocal work between Bannon and Ballou. The latter has some of the best guitar riffage on the record and must be heard when listening to the album as a whole.
While the first few tracks hit hard, things slow down somewhat for the title track, which is the true gem on here. A heavy guitar riff by Ballou starts the song, followed by the distorted bass line and Bannon joining the fray with his demonic vocal work. The song is pure evil, and the lead riff that starts in the middle of the song and carries on till the ending is haunting. Featuring the best lyrics on the record and pure chaos that just explodes towards the ending, it truly can be considered one of their top songs. Drummer Ben Koller also has his moments on this album, proving that he can dominate behind the kit. “Eagles Become Vultures” contains one of the greatest drum intros ever and keeps the song on a fast, insane pace for its short duration.
Even though practically every song on here is brutal and very intense, there is one track that is every different and sets itself apart from the others, entitled “In Her Shadow”. It features acoustic guitars in its intro which go on for a while before Bannon introduces his clean vocals. While he is a very unique screamer, his cleans are also impressive and while they aren’t amazing, they work with the slow songs Converge write and this track shows that. On this album you will notice that no member is overpowered and the lyrics are some of the best you will find in metalcore. The vocals, guitars, bass, and drums all come together and no one is overpowered, leading to an excellent performance from all 4 members.
You Fail Me is quite possibly the darkest Converge album to date. Not only is it heavy, relentless, and evil; it stands as a proving fact that they continue to get better and better with each release. The material they have written hasn’t sounded this dark since When Forever comes Crashing. The tracks on here flow well together and create an album that demands the full attention of the listener and sends them on a dark journey that they won’t soon forget.