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03.09.22 official sputnik retirement 08.05.20 My Favourite Male Artists
08.10.19 What's your reviewing philosophy? 06.25.19 Claire's 2019 mid-year check-in
03.21.19 7 years of sput08.12.18 A Non-Ranking of Converge
04.15.18 A Non-Ranking of Isis 08.16.17 EMO CROWN 2 - Rnd 1
07.28.17 Sense and Sensuality06.17.17 Albums compared to foods/beverages/tast
05.17.17 Just jazzy05.14.17 Ultimate teenage elitist
08.11.15 Musical necrophilia a.k.a. love for the

A Non-Ranking of Converge

A continuation of the series. It’s simple: for each album, I’ll try to sell you on why it’s the best one in the discography.
Halo in a Haystack

Uh, just remember that the band members were around 15 years old.
Petitioning the Empty Sky

There’s a raw, youthful energy to be found on Petitioning the Empty Sky - its menace is straightforward, its vehemence worn on its sleeve. It thrashes against the wall, leaps aggressively, ignores its own wounds thanks to the adrenaline rush. The album is a restless spirit who, so early on, is already trying to break out of cages - unusual grooves can be found on tracks such as “Color Me Blood Red” and “Dead”, the former featuring a particularly fun motif that harkens back to earlier styles of metal.
When Forever Comes Crashing

Taut muscle and alien logic combine to form Converge’s most twisted, enigmatic release (see: “The Lowest Common Denominator” and its utterly bizarre tunings). When Forever Comes Crashing hits at the most unexpected angles, carves mysterious patterns, satisfies cravings for something truly weird; the brief moments of harmony, from the end of the title track to “Ten Cents”, only further the surprise. The creature not understood is the most frightening.
Jane Doe

The album is immediately felt - in Jacob Bannon’s indecipherable shrieks, in the relentless abrasion, in the wrath and smoke. The act of anonymization universalizes the experience, makes it the domain of all; and Jane Doe manages to be disconcertingly close and distant at the same time. After 17 years, it remains the fire that never fails to spark with each listen; even its staunchest opponent is made to stare in awe, before being quickly consumed.
You Fail Me

You Fail Me takes place in the immediate aftermath of personal disaster - it sheds the first tear, represents the very instant that grief begins to bleed into anger. The blades here are slightly blunted, but then an unclean slice arguably draws out the most pain. Hope manages to push through on “Last Light” and its quasi-cinematic climax, and then proceeds to wither away on “Hope Street” - rich irony and a continuous downward trajectory. And how You Fail Me convulses - shrieks ripping through, tongue bitten in a failed moment of repression, endorphins settling in as a distant sweet mist. Carries the intensity of Jane Doe without any of the exhaustion.
No Heroes

Beautiful viciousness, vicious beauty - No Heroes (and especially its centrepiece, “Grim Heart/Black Rose”) possesses both in spades. The fury here is icy, often in the form of torrential hail; desperation and bitterness lend a cruel, cold grimace, but the face that wears it is strangely alluring. As the steady-footed assault of “Plagues” leads into “Grim Heart/Black Rose”, the album truly unfurls - the latter, painstakingly built up over 9 minutes and carried by Jonah Jenkins’ powerful vocal performance, is both respite and effective catharsis. No Heroes may very well be the most merciless release from Converge - rather than using brute force a la its predecessors, it punishes through the cold shoulder.
Axe to Fall

Axe to Fall exudes grandeur and Southern charm, tells a larger story with the colourful cast of characters at hand (fun fact: it contains the most features out of any Converge album). It’s less personal, more folkloric; look to the Gothic undertones of “Cruel Bloom” and “Wretched World”’s sprawl. “Damages” is unique in its demented swagger, a beast born from abandoned desert towns. A strange glee underlies the depths of Axe to Fall; there is an invitation to take secret delight in the tales of monsters and wretchedness, to feel a voyeur’s pleasure. Bare your teeth when you smile.
All We Love We Leave Behind

Crystallization and clarity, wisdom’s advent. All We Love We Leave Behind is painfully lucid, freshly bearing the scars of age and experience; the slowburners of “Glacial Pace” and “Coral Blue” feel like submersion in cold water, a steady seeping in of awareness. And contrary to its title, “Aimless Arrow” is sober, directed; it immediately sets the tone for an album that knows where it will head, knows it is looking back for the final time. All We Love We Leave Behind brings stony resilience like no other - though crippled it runs, bracing against the ache.
The Dusk in Us

The Dusk in Us most fully reaps the fruits of maturity, knows when to hold back to punch at the right times. It bears patience and ruminates well - the sludgy “Under Duress” and “Reptilian” are fine examples of mid-tempo Converge, and the lyrics have begun to soothe, to impart sound advice, rather than simply cry out for help. This isn’t at all complacency, but realized growth - stateliness to befit the latter years of a lifespan, assumption of an inevitable mantle.
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