Review Summary: If you don't like Converge, I hope you're OK with holding your wedding in New Hampshire
“No more heroes / no more / no more / in my world of enemies / I walk alone “. And so with their new record “No Heroes”, metalcore legends Converge once again prove they are the most intense motherfu
ckers on the block. To understand part of the intrigue of Converge, number one you have to understand the presence this band has. Let’s just say as a live show, their concerts have been known to be most similar to a contained riot. At Converge shows people have had bass guitars smashed against their heads, had entire crowds fallen on them, and had lead singer Jacob Bannon grab them by the shirt and throw them off stage, and that’s all just in one show. Calling Converge the most intense live act is widely considered a very accurate declaration. The next important factor to Converge’s success is the ridiculous technicality in the band's music. Every member of Converge is a master of their instrument, and considering there are only three instrument playing members in the band, the amount of sound this group generates is unfathomable. Kurt Ballou is one of the most inventive and skilled guitarists in the realm of extreme music today, bassist Nate Newton’s tone basically fills in the role of both a rhythm guitarist and bassist, and drummer Ben Koller is one of the most talented and inventive drummers I’ve ever heard. Finishing off the trio of musicality is lead singer Jacob Bannon, who basically sounds like hell coming out of a man’s mouth. Finally, the last piece to the Converge success puzzle is the ultimate "fu
ck you" that the lyrical content provides. With lines like, “You are nothing more than a dim lit whore,” and, “Death to cowards, traitors, and empty words,” this band isn’t a group of guys you want to cross in a bad way. So basically you combine all three of those aspects, add some new ideas on thrash metal that have been picked up since Converge’s last release “You Fail Me” and spearhead those four aspects with their history and you’ve got what is in my opinion one of Converge’s finest records, and one of the finest records of the year 2006.
“No Heroes” doesn’t start off with any sh
it interlude like Converge’s last endeavor; no, we get four straight punches in the face. All four of these tracks are less than two minutes, and have more tempo changes in them than the entire Mars Volta discography. The songs are typical Converge affair, but rolled in with a few thrash metal spices to give the band a new even more aggressive taste. While the “soundscapes” that were behind the songs on “Jane Doe” are no longer present, this band still knows how to fu
ck up some hearing aids. Worth noting is the track “Weight of the World” which could easily be confused as a counterpart to “You Fail Me"'s intro “First Light”. After the “Broken Vow”-esque “No Heroes” and sludgy “Plagues” we are treated to what many will consider the albums highlight: “Grim Heart/Black Rose”. Featuring guest vocals from Only Living Witness’ Jonah Jenkins, “Grim Heart” is in essence an epic metalcore song that builds up to post-rock delights. While Converge already demonstrated their ability to create sprawling epic tracks with the closer of “Jane Doe”, “Grim Heart” is a completely different monster based more in the styling of epic crescendos (GYBE) than the effect-ridden finale (Sigur Ros). Following “Grim Heart” we have the emo-sounding “Orphaned” and the melodic hardcore “Lonewolves"; basically Converge is showing us they can kick your as
s in whatever genre they want. The album has a late highlight with the chant-ready “Trophy Scars”, which is one of Converge’s best songs in their entire discography. Finally, the album concludes with the fade out of “To The Lions” which, while anti-climactic, is still a worthy ending to an excellent album.
So, I’ve been raving about Converge for awhile now but this album isn’t a 5/5, so what’s the problem? Well in all actuality there are really no bad tracks on this album. From the fifty-eight second burn of "Vengeance" to the nearly ten minute “Grim Heart/Black Rose”, “No Heroes” is completely successful in delivering a great array of extremely heavy music. Wherein then lies the problem with “No Heroes”? Well, it’s essentially in the ordering. Since the most enjoyable tracks are all laid in the front of the album, it almost seems at times like the album isn’t worth fully listening too. Had the album been structured with more a mixture of sounds in various spots, it would in my opinion be perfect. Really, nothing can be criticized besides the order on this album. Bannon’s lyrics are at top shape as always, the band has taken their loved sound and experimented with it enough to keep it fresh, and most of all like every great Converge record it just completely fu
cking wrecks your notion of what the peak of intense music should be