"The Saddest Day" is probably Converge's best work. It doesn't even have some of the variation that other songs, like the more recent "Coral Blue" on the album All We Love We Leave Behind. The whole way through, the song doesn't even seem like it reaches the seven-minute mark. It only feels like four minutes to me. Guttural, screechy barks push through in short bursts. No lyrics are even said, but the effect is mind-boggling, and the tempo change in the middle part of the song gives warning signs of boiling pressure. It doesn't collapse into complete atrocities of chaotic terror when it slows down a bit more in the next part, lightening up the mood somewhat with clean guitar-picking. The trick of it all is when it speeds back up (with a riff you could barely even realize was there at all) to the furious beating of the beginning that you feared long after.
Your headache doesn't soften up at all with the continuation of destructive yowling put into "Forsaken". "Albatros" has some off-key singing, that I feel was put there purposely to make you sink into a state of terror and hopelessness that can't be described. It makes you feel, as if you had just murdered somebody, and the guilt is now put into perspective. The salt really digs into the wound though with "Dead". Harmonious singing that puts you into a state of acceptance/self-loathing, continues with the hardcore punk screams. "Shingles" has a repetitive, but acceptable guitar back-and-forth picking line, that bludgeons listener for another beating that is just there for the hell of it being there.
Rather cruelly, "Buried But Breathing" does nothing to reassure the listener, that anything is OK at all. It is the only track with lyrics that are heard in full detail, and it does something a little cool that Black Flag might have done, with what sounds like several shouting along with the singer at once. Now that you've been along this journey, "Farewell to This City" relaxes you into the coma-like suffering that is seated along for the rest of the ride. The rest of the album is pure agony that isn't felt at all, because of the numbness you are enclosed in, but it is no doubt still worth listening to. (The live track, "For You" is especially notable, because of it's bass line at the beginning, and the guitar riffing that is heard along with it's pleasing continuation).
This is one journey anybody can take, as long as they have the balls for it. Played live I can't imagine the feeling of adrenaline given from all emotions woven together successfully. It isn't stupid and whiny, it is true human emotion. No matter how unaccessible this album seems to be for the casual listener, this can be loved with the right amount of courage. If you want to discover more of the genre of Hardcore Punk, or you are just curious for a definition of it, this could be it for sure. Give it a chance, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised from the amount of ignorance that shall leave you.