Review Summary: Converge lay it all out on the line and end up recording one of the best albums of the 2000's
When listening to Jane Doe
in full, one can't help but to appreciate the non-stop pounding ones ears obtain from the onslaught. Every inch of this album is layered with brilliance; brilliant guitaring, brilliant song structures that mix it up even when the sound doesn't, and brilliant lyrics even if they are completely indecipherable. Jane Doe
packs a mean punch; a metalcore record that ingeniously mixes styles of punk and grind that matches intensity with any other album ever made. Other bands of this similar aesthetic attempt to create this type of aggression and terrible beauty, but ultimately fall flat to the standards set by this remarkable jrouney into the heart of a tortured man.
"Concubine" shows what you're in for immediately with Kurt Ballou's signature dissonance shining through until the song enters at a frantic pace. Drums thunderously move along fast
under the harsh discontent of Jacob Bannon's otherworldy yells and Ballou's tasteful riffs. While the album never really lets you go, the brilliance in Jane Doe
is that each song is outstanding on its own when taken out of the context of the album because each song is composed differently, albeit using the same cacophonic aesthetic throughout. You can choose to let jane doe brutalize you entirely by daring to go from "Concubine" to the title track, or you may choose to selectively destroy your ear drums with maybe the hard punk "Homewrecker" (complete with a fabulous chorus that will send you into the heavens) or the slightly slowed down yet heavy as hell "Hell To Pay". The latter focuses more on the excellent bass playing of Nate Newton rather than letting Ballou lead the songs charge like in the rest of the album. Even the quick burst of "Phoenix In Flames" is strong on its own accord regardless if it is set up nicely by its longer and more thought out counterpart, "Phoenix In Flight".
All that doesn't really prepare you for the ending track however, the properly titled "Jane Doe", which is arguably one of the best songs of the past decade. Huge guitars that correlate well with the drumming keep you on the edge of a cliff throughout its ride, and the sense of urgency and fear of what is around the corner make this beginning section of the song outstanding. despite its multiple parts, the song flows very well; so well, in fact, that the crushing ending is completely shocking, even if it is your 100th play through the song. Giant screams of "run on girl, run on" only begin this ultimate ending, where guitars and bass swirl around a pulsating bass drum and constant cymbal work, which hyperbole aside, is the sonic equivalent of the end of the universe. It's what makes Jane Doe
so amazing in the first place; to have an album pound you into submission throughout its entire run time, only to end on an even more crushing note leaves you literally gasping for air after the ending slowly dissipates into silence.
There is no time to catch your breath on Jane Doe
, no time to wonder about what is actually going on inside your headphones, no time to dissect and realize. There is only love, only emotion to be found here, the ultimate release of ones self-enclosed demons. The amount of precision and thought put into this album is only engulfed by its own fury. Jane Doe
is a monster that cannot be caged, it is the moment where you let everything go and rely on the only thing that makes you human in the first place; passion. Incredible.