Review Summary: A dull, uninspired album with two great songs that stand out among a cess pool of rubbish
Converge. The band are infamous for a variety of reasons. Their musicianship is phenomenal, every member is incredibly talented, their vocalist creates some of the most chaotic sounds ever, their song structures are ***ed beyond repair, their tracks are mainly more than listenable. However, every band has to put out one dull album and in their case, it was their debut album. It was called Halo In A Haystack and was released in 1994, four years after the band formed. On this album there is ten songs, and of those ten songs, two are good, three are average and the other five are abysmal and make you wonder exactly what the band was doing in the first four years of their existance. The fact is that they clearly did not hone their talents enough because this album is for the most part quite dull. The pacing of the tracks are really the main problem here. When they are short, there are no problems. Closing song Undo was a clear highlight, clocking in at two minutes eighteen and never dipping in quality. However, songs such as Divinity and Antithesis do not make good use of their four/five minute lengths.
When this album is firing on all cylinders, it is ***ing awesome. Vocalist Jacob Bannon is the best member of the band in this album, with some really nice screams that sound very unique and somewhat forced but definitely suit the music. Whilst the song structures are not as haywire as they are on the band's other albums, they are still pretty weird on here and keep the album moving forward, despite the fact that the songs aren't all that good. Down is the best song here, constantly changing sound and styles, and maintaining a dark mood throughout, with an excellent vocal performance and a surprisingly good guitar performance. Whilst the guitars are nowhere near as hard hitting as on albums like Jane Doe, they are still decent on this song. However this is really the only track where the riffs stand out, as for the most part they meander around and do little to add to the feel of the music. The drum performance is quite dull and pedestrian aside from a couple of moments that leap out, most startlingly in the introduction of Fact Leaves Its Ghost. Sadly, this song only deteriorates from here into a mess of chords and other stuff that does nothing very good.
Unfortunately, Converge's debut is a massive disappointment, where the longer songs are dull and even the majority of the shorter songs do little to nothing to keep it moving. They would go on to accomplish much greater things on the follow up, but their debut is a train wreck for the most part.