Review Summary: It's James Fucking Murphy Dude!
James Murphy is a brilliant guitarist. It’s a statement that as obvious as saying blue cheese smells bad or that an obvious statement is obvious and that a *** analogy is ***. His patchwork career has enabled him to expand his palette as a musician to a considerable scale yet conversely, bar Disincarnate, he’s never really had a chance to shine on the merits of his own material. This is why Convergence
is such a significant part Murphy’s discography; it’s one of his few solo outings, one that standouts because it blends all the different influences from all parts of his career and beyond.
The formula isn’t always successful of course. Some sections of some songs outstay their welcome a little because they’re devoted to instrumental noodling a bit too much as well as some experiments in other genres seem ill-advised and boring such as Devin Townsend’s guest vocals on ‘Since Forgotten,’ the camp ‘Red Alert’ or the monotonous, failed attempt at grunge ‘Deeper Within.’ However despite its detractions and despite the album being half instrumental, it’s still a very consistent and atmospheric piece of work.
James’ guitar work is, as expected, very impressive, his work being a constant fountain of melodic ideas that rarely, if at all, grows wearisome. Even on the instrumentals where soloing takes up a greater portion of the songs, it never feels contrived or aimless, just focused and expressive much like the riffs that propel the album forward. The guest spots also provide some of the highlights on the album. Unlike his first contribution Devin Townsends’ soaring performance on ‘The Last One’ perhaps stands as one of his finest while Chuck Billy’s singing is the cherry on the cake for what is arguably the best song on the album ‘Touching The Earth’; a near perfect Testament-influenced ballad on steroids. Not to mention Matt Guillory’s keyboard work provides a subtle and lush backdrop that significantly enhances the overall atmosphere of the albums. All these pieces add muscle to the strong songwriting of Murphy and help create what is, despite its faults, a fantastic album. But then what else is did you expect?