Review Summary: Twelve steps to bleeding oneself dry of humanity.
As beautifully portrayed as it is in fiction, love and everything assigned with it can be the most crushing defeat any individual will experience in their existence. It is the most frequently conversed premise in music and the most relevant kind for everyone, varying from expressions of dedication and adoration to the grief of not being loved. Regardless of my pretentious evaluation, there is no record sharing the same premise (at least in my listening experience) that can be held in the same bleak light as Converge’s masterpiece, Jane Doe.
From its frenetic, two-piece opener, ‘Concubine’ and ‘Fault and Fracture’, Jane Doe is conceived. She is bitter, marred and devoid of everything that makes a human being what it is. Like her name suggests, she is the anonymous dead. Voiceless and fuming with anger, her story is told through the gut-wrenching, often inaudible screams and harmonies of vocalist and lyricist, Jacob Bannon. Though it may seem like a hindrance to its telling, the inaudibility of Bannon’s voice – once familiarised with – is needed to fully understand and appreciate Jane Doe. Each of the twelve tracks is a retelling of the events in a relationship she shared with another human being, leading up to her transformation in the apocalyptically beautiful closing title track. The vocals are backed by the masterful Kurt Ballou, Nate Newton and Ben Koller, who constantly trade technical blows with Bannon, creating a perfectly chaotic backdrop for these events. To delve deeper, the lyrics express more than what is apparent upon first listen through the cryptic vocals (deafening screaming for no apparent reason). There is a reason, and that reason is to feel for her as she can no longer do so.
Every second of Jane Doe’s forty-five minutes is airtight, masterfully executed and raw, leaving no room to breathe as this bitch ruins you in her wrath. So few artists can express emotion and passion vocally, lyrically and instrumentally as Converge have done with Jane Doe, especially in such an inaccessible and vulgar manner. It is easy to not understand and hate Jane Doe at first, but it is difficult not to embrace and love her with time. In all her fury and ugliness, she is a keeper.
I only started listening to Converge this passed February. Been working through their records in order of release and quite slowly (haven't bothered with EP's). I've been eating, drinking and sleeping Jane Doe for the past two weeks, so yeah, explains the score and all the cock sucking present in this review.
Sorry for the pretentiousness in it, too. I didn't want to sound too much like an amateur posting dodgy reviews on Tumblr.
@Michael: The album's 11-years-old and reviewed to death. I'd rather focus on the concept of it and the album as a whole, seeing as it's a concept album, than break it into pieces and write a lengthy review where I'll blabber about things I don't know and risk repeating what's been said before. I do wish I could learn about music on deeper levels (instruments and all) than what it is at face value.
@foxxxy: Thanks, dude. I'd write more if I knew more about music. D:
Yeah this review is awesome. I clicked on this review with the "urgh another jane doe review" kind of attitude but the brevity/the concentration on the concept rather than the music made this a really, really enjoyable read. Props, especially considering it is only your second. Hope to see you around and posting more.
@TheSpirit: Thanks very much for the positive feedback. I'd read enough reviews of the album prior to listening to know that it is incredibly technical, but I doubt I could have produced a review that expressed what I enjoyed about it while differentiating from the mass of reviews praising it as the holy grail of metalcore if I'd talked about instrumentation and whatnot. I'm not too familiar with musical terminology either.
@Insurrection: I'm waiting on IcyLily to drop in here and show me how to write real reviews, lol.