“When Forever Comes Crashing” is Converge’s most evil, disgusted, experimental and usually overlooked record; a cacophonous rendition of romance and despair, this album reinvented the band you once knew and led them down a dynamic path to “Jane Doe” and “No Heroes”. Before this milestone you could compare Converge with other bands in a casual fashion but now, thanks to “When Forever Comes Crashing”, their legendary status commands the utmost respect and open-mindedness. This album is a beastly nightmare; brash rhythms and haunting screams lead the way into darkness, telling the tale of a fall from grace hardly disguised behind longing metaphor. Bountiful is the reaping of emotion, but the seed of happiness scarce as you may guess before even hearing the ghastly words of front-man Jacob Bannon, a gem in the musical world of wails and screams. Converge’s songwriting capabilities do have borders but they are widespread. Between the walls of their limits, the band creates harrowing narratives and revolutionary styles, and “When Forever Comes Crashing” is no exception. The ominous breakdown during the title track insinuates a will to express their feelings as violently as possible, and once that song ends, the tranquil Ten Cents
shows a compassionate side to music commonly perceived to be extremely turbulent. While they aren’t a primary example of diversity, it would be foolish to think of them as superficial, since their music always seems urgent to communicate a message of great importance. This isn’t the first Converge album to deal with an amorous affair, one that crashes and burns…I’m sure you remember “Jane Doe”, but on this record the story is told from a spousal perspective, and the subject might be a woman, but she is not the victim. The album chronicles the plague of a rusting relationship as it fizzles out and dies, exploring the depths of hatred, fantasized revenge, yearning, and a glorious rebirth akin to the conclusion of “Jane Doe”. While the harsh breakup may be a cliché, the execution of ideas is vital in music and the execution of this one was quite savvy. “When Forever Comes Crashing” solidified Converge’s significance, an impeccable prototype.
This is essentially progressive music. Denying routine, the sound is in constant flux and brings forth many varying ideas that work excellently. For example, band leader Jacob Bannon explores every typical vocal realm, and despite his inability to sing in key, his tormented cry fits the horror of a scary song like In Harms Way
, a song so innovative you may wonder if it can be topped, but keep listening. This album is full of character – Conduit
’s brooding bass-lines build up to a catastrophically loud electric guitar performance that recalls fond memories of your favorite metal bands, only to outdo them as the song’s despair withers into Lowest Common Denominator
, an exhibition of unadulterated anger and ghastly production techniques. As the song quiets down, Bannon’s vocals scream from far away, desperately, like a fellow pedestrian warning you of a bus careening towards your frail, vulnerable human flesh. Like any self-respecting Converge record, this one is rather difficult to digest after a first, second…perhaps even your third listen. But the difference between unlistenable bad and unlistenable good is intrigue. You want
to listen again, to decipher each lyric and enjoy every badass Kurt Ballou riff (who, by the way, is a huge driving force on this record, an imperative performance surpassed only by Jane Doe). Even after you’ve figured it all out, the album retains its flawless replay value; tempo, theme, and the simple volume of each song changes within them constantly, and if you consider yourself a veteran listener, most likely something new will be there to surprise you every time. This variety of emotion reflects the bi-polar feelings that usually occur in the final moments of and days, weeks, months, and sometimes years after a relationship ends. Aside from being one of the most anarchic musical responses to that situation, “When Forever Comes Crashing”, as mentioned earlier is a landmark breakthrough in the band’s career, and I will describe to you why that is so.
Only towards the ending of “Petitioning The Empty Sky” do Converge tap into their deepest inner hate; from Color Me Blood Red
to Love As Arson
(also a track on “Forever”), the blueprint for the epic subject of this review is written. What’s the difference between the first and second halves of “Petitioning The Empty Sky”" Notice how the album progresses toward a gruff, hellish sound as it goes on, distinguishable from the straightforward metal-core littered throughout the beginning, gruff enough to adorn the track-listing of “Forever”. The significance of this is the clear evolution taking place between these notes – Converge are known for hinting at other records in their discography during any one of them, but this is the musical subconscious working at its fullest potential. They allowed pure emotion to take over the writing process, and behind every emotion there are thoughts that cause them. I suspect that while composing “Petitioning The Empty Sky”, the lyrical subject matter present on “Forever” was taking place in reality. ”There was nothing that I ever wanted more than for you to hold this deep within your heart. To lay beside me as my halo burns deep to cinder and to wake me from my tired life.”
–an excerpt from Conduit
. One who is there to comfort a person in desperate need is typically considered god-like to the sufferer. But the anger present here shows their leaving to be a devastating event, which helped create a beautiful bi-polar mess. Showering their vocalist with befittingly inspired instrumentation, one of metal’s most chemic rhythm sections shove the issue in the face of that one who betrayed their man, their leader. Behind the sludge, “When Forever Comes Crashing” is hiding a story so engrossing one might feel encouraged to write their own tortured ballad about treacherous, two-faced lovers. Good art breeds well. Do not be mistaken, this record is absolutely drenched in love, and for those who have truly experienced it, you know that it comes in many forms. We can only feel passion because there is a diverse fervor to balance it out: hatred. A human will be crushed if it sees only one side of this flipping coin, so next time, call it tails.