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.