Review Summary: Converge's forgotten masterpiece4 of 4 thought this review was well written
When someone thinks of Converge the first thing they think of is Jane Doe. Anyone who has heard of Converge at least knows the name Jane Doe; whether they've listened to the album before or not. I'd be hard pressed to find anyone who can say there is a more pivotal metalcore album. This is because of what the album accomplishes. Jane Doe is an expression of the most raw, unbridled release of the deepest emotions. This is something that has yet to be accomplished by any band as well as Converge did. This in turn makes Jane Doe the greatest of all the top Metalcore albums. The emotional aspect puts it on another level above Botch's We Are The Romans, Dillinger Escape Plan's Calculating Infinity or Coalesce's Give Them Rope. But, one must ask what Converge could have done to get to this level. It is true that Converge already was a band for 11 years when they created Jane Doe but there must be some sort of stepping stone that enabled them to get to this level, to create such a monumental album. This brings me to When Forever Comes Crashing.
When Forever Comes Crashing was originally released in 1998 but due to bad production the album was quickly turned aside by listeners. I haven’t actually heard the original mix myself but I’ve heard it was bad, really bad. This was until it was re-released in 2005 by Equal Vision records; completely remixed and remastered by Converge’s guitar player/producer Kurt Ballou. This finally gave the album the listening quality it deserved. The album is very abrasive, and raw while at the same time being airtight. Members of the band play their parts perfectly; there is not one part of this album that seems wrong. ‘My Unsaid Everything’ comes out swinging full force with lots of gritty guitar shredding and Jacob Bannon’s signature rasp. Converge thrashes away constantly shape-shifting with tempo changes and odd time signatures. No part is repeated twice and each song has its own personality. The breakdowns on this album are perfectly placed such as the pummeling outro of ‘My Unsaid Everything’. When Forever Comes Crashing shows a very experimental side to Converge also. ‘The High Cost of Playing God’ ends with a strangely melodic chord progression with Bannon crying out “Spare me the day when I discover a new found low.” ‘In Harms Way’ sounds like waking up after being nearly beaten to death by a psychopathic murder. The murderer is Bannon, wispering eerily in your ear “Goodnight dear angel, I won't be back here in burden. I don't think we'll ever meet again.” A jangly guitar riff drifts in and out of tune and you can faintly hear the cries of a man in pain in the background. When Forever Comes Crashing is the soundtrack to an unwritten horror movie. At the end of ‘In Harms Way’ you hear screeching electronic drums and what sounds like a saw buzzing. ‘Conduit’ is crushing with slow breakdown parts and mind-boggling tempo and time signature changes. ‘The Lowest Common Denominator’ is downright chilling. It pounds away at the pace of a death march with the sound of a man screaming in the background. ‘Ten Cents’ is the strangest song on the album. It honestly sounds like a love ballad that The Smiths would write. The guitar playing is soft and soothing while Bannon is singing gently over the tune. The song is about the heartbreak he felt when his girlfriend dumped him and he felt it was because he was inadequate. “She just slipped under harmony and now I'm empty handed. I'm just half empty, a second best.”
Converge are absolutely on the top of their game on When Forever Comes Crashing. There is not a moment on the album that I find boring or unnecessary. Every note they play sounds exactly how it should. The sheer intensity and technicality of this album is phenomenal and so tastefully done. I must tell you that this album is downright violent; the excellent mix in this album brings out an almost 3D quality. Converge simulates the sounds of someone being kidnapped by a psychopath and they drag you unwillingly as the plot unfolds. I personally enjoy and think this album is better than Jane Doe. I know many people will hate me for this but I’m not a follower. Listening to this album is easier to sit through than Jane Doe. The heavier tracks on this album are absolutely unforgettable and oddly catchy. Converge show how a band should do a breakdown on this album and it’s great to here them because they fit perfectly in the music. You know the second ‘My Unsaid Everything’ starts that they are going to do anything to make the music as heavy and undeniably good as possible. It ends with a simple and catchy breakdown similar to ‘Forsaken’ ‘from Petitioning The Empty Sky’. ‘Towing Jehovah’ is short and sweet; jam packed with pummeling dissonant riffs to the very end. The song ‘When Forever Comes Crashing’ starts off a breakneck speed until they demonstrate their creative breaks within songs to give each song a chance to breath. It slows down into a very despairful sounding dirge with Bannon crying out ‘If this is need then I never wanted you.’ ‘Year of The Swine’ is very faced paced filled with catchy and dissonant Slayer-esque riffs. ‘Letterbomb’ has a vibe very reminiscent to riffs of Between The Buried and Me’s ‘Silent Circus’. This is something that I believe BTBAM intended; I think they’re biggest Metalcore inspiration is Converge’s When Forever Comes Crashing because if you compare the riffs they are similar in a lot of ways.
When Forever Comes Crashing may not have the epic closer that Jane Doe has but instead demonstrates epic parts along the way and that might be the only argument that I could agree with anyone on. Other than that, this album is much more alive and well… fun. WFCC is very entertaining and has some of the best songs Converge has ever written. There is not a song on this album that is bad at all; every single song stands out perfectly on it’s own. Any die hard Converge fan or music elitist can argue with me; I personally love Jane Doe but after listening to this more and more I found that it is just well… better. The one thing that Jane Doe has that makes it better is that as a whole it is more cohesive than WFCC. The story of Jane Doe unfolds perfectly and wouldn’t be the same without the 11-minute gauntlet title track that closes this album. So what I’m saying here is that this Converge album is awesome and too easily forgotten. It is too damn good to be a shadowed over by Jane Doe. I’m glad that when I went to the record store and saw this album with it’s sick cover of a faceless white figure seeming to tower over you that I thought “Hey this album name sounds awesome, this cover is awesome, I wonder why I never hear anyone talk about it”. If you ask me I don’t why people don’t care about this album that much. I’d say it’s because all anyone ever talks about is Jane Doe; like you can’t even talk about any other Converge album. Listen, Converge is awesome and to me WFCC is what proved that too me. If you are new too Converge or aren’t convinced that you like them that much yet, then buy this album and then listen to Jane Doe; then you will get it. Both these albums together cover so much ground and ill let you guys believe Jane Doe is better. But you better not forget about WFCC because it is awesome. There is so much energy and creativity to this album; you can tell they weren’t afraid to try anything, hell there’s even electronic parts on it. This album is ground breaking and an undeniable classic… don’t forget it.