Converge
Jane Live


4.5
superb

Review

by Jankus USER (8 Reviews)
May 12th, 2017 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A fantastic live rendition of a classic album that will convert even the staunchest non-listeners of live albums!



Jane Doe is an album that hasn't been topped in the hardcore scene in its 16 years of existence. It's an album that I hated upon first listening, as I believe many fans of the album did, but slowly grew on me with each listen. Even if you find the music on the record completely unlistenable at first due to the density and beyond-intense nature of the music, there's an alluring quality to it that urges you to give it more listening time. It's unlike anything else you'll ever hear. For me personally, as well as a wealth of other listeners, it completely destroyed the barriers of what I thought music could be. I had never heard music this intense until I heard this album, and it opened me up to many new bands with similar styles that I now rank up there with my favorites. Jane Doe is an offensively chaotic exercise in a particular brand of dissonant, ugly and yet simultaneously heartbreaking brand of hardcore that Converge have become known for.

Admittedly, I looked at the announcement for Jane Live with relative indifference. I knew I would listen to it, but for me, live albums have just never been my cup of tea. Although not always true, many of them just seem to find a way to sap any energy that might have been found on the original recordings out of the tracks live, which is ironic considering that there should be MORE energy in a live album. On this live recording of the classic album, that is exactly what Converge did. In fact, I'll go as far as to say this recording blows the original out of the water. It's THAT good.

The major difference between this and the original is the production. On the original recording, the production can be described as midrange-y and harsh. That really isn't a bad thing, as I think it complements the vibe of the record well. However, this live recording is on a whole new level. The kick drum on Ben Koller's set is very noticeably louder and punchier, which really adds a whole new level of intensity to the music. In the original, the drums were present but never seemed to pop out like they do on Jane Live. Frontman Jacob Bannon's distinctive, unintelligible shrieks sound fresh and as subhuman as ever. Kurt Ballou's guitar tone cuts through better than on the original recording, and he does more with less in this setting, seeing as that he is the sole guitarist in the majority of the tracks, save for the last few. I found that I didn't even miss many of the overdubbed guitars found on the original, although when guitarist Steven Brodsky joins the band for the title track at the end of this album, it sounds absolutely massive. Bassist Nate Newton sounds very familiar on here; I couldn't find much difference from the original, however, his backup vocals, particularly the ones found on 'Hell To Pay' are much more present in this mix. I had honestly never heard them in the original, but after going back I could hear them way in the back of the mix to the point where it made no difference if they were there or not. Having his extra screams and backup vocals adds another dimension that was just lost on the original.

I can't review this album without at least touching on the incredible overhaul the artwork received. The main cover, redone by Ashley Rose Couture, is a real life rendition of the iconic Jane Doe artwork, and it is absolutely stunning. Converge have always maintained a visual aesthetic to complement their music, and they did not disappoint on that front in the slightest with this release.

I would highly recommend this live album for those who know and love Jane Doe. For newcomers, listen to the original first. It will give you that much more appreciation for how incredible this live release is!



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user ratings (142)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Demon of the Fall
May 12th 2017


3106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review. Completely agree with your first paragraph as it was a similar experience for me. I really need to hear this at some point.



Has anyone noticed the user ratings for this are sort of weird... has it been investigated? It's just odd that there are 5 '1.0' ratings yet no 1.5 or 2s & only one solitary rating for both 2.5 & 3. Very odd.

Digging: Enslaved - Axioma Ethica Odini

FullOfSounds
May 12th 2017


15579 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I found this underwhelming but there were a couple of moments that stood out.

JigglyPDiddy
May 12th 2017


3225 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This was good, but the album art is in fact porn.

Digging: Fever Ray - Plunge

FullOfSounds
May 12th 2017


15579 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It was a bit of a revelation that her eyes are closed haha

TVC15
May 12th 2017


8821 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Well that took a while

Digging: Black Magick SS - Kaleidoscope Dreams

SCREAM!
May 12th 2017


14954 Comments


"It was a bit of a revelation that her eyes are closed haha"

What? They look pretty closed even on the OG

PumpBoffBag
May 12th 2017


882 Comments


cover art is sick

AsleepInTheBack
May 12th 2017


5125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I thought the OG was meant to be looking down at the listener, diminishing them in a sense

owen
May 12th 2017


4939 Comments


me too, but now I can't see it that way anymore
r u i n e d

Digging: Brandon Seabrook - Needle Driver

Lelle
June 21st 2017


2397 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

It's great at what it does and for what it is but I just wouldn't rate this as high as I would a "real" studio album

Digging: Converge - The Dusk in Us

SCREAM!
June 21st 2017


14954 Comments


"I thought the OG was meant to be looking down at the listener, diminishing them in a sense"

Huh I'd never seen it that way before but I can see how it would look like that

I'd always seen it as her having her eyes closed although if I look at it a certain way it can also look like they're wide open and pupil-less and it's kind of terrifying

TrantaLocked
June 24th 2017


1780 Comments


I'd love to hear an Axe to Fall live album. Imo it's the most coherent album this band has released and just as much deserving of a full playthrough as Jane Doe.

SpiritCrusher2
July 29th 2017


5731 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

it's impossible for me not to smile during this entire performance. a beautiful celebration of one of the greatest albums ever created.

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
July 31st 2017


24412 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

love this but it lacks some of the stuff that makes the original so perfect, i.e. the production, consistent vox. something about hearing jacob yell "this next song is titled... jane doe" gives me chills tho

i hope one day i can hear that song live

SCREAM!
August 10th 2017


14954 Comments


"that will convert even the staunchest non-listeners of live albums!"

Eh finally listening to this and, although its a great rendition of the album, there's nothing here that would make me want to put this on over the original

Hawks
September 26th 2017


51983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Finally jamming this.

Digging: Gamma Ray - Land of the Free

Demon of the Fall
September 29th 2017


3106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I could essentially copy & paste 'Scream's' comment. This is a great live album (& I'm not usually a fan of such things) but not sure whether listening to this over the original is particularly worthwhile.

AsleepInTheBack
September 29th 2017


5125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I actually prefer a couple of the cuts on here over the original, but yeah it is largely inferior to the original

XingKing
October 2nd 2017


12470 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I prefer enough of the tracks on here that I might even like this better than the studio recordings.

Confessed2005
October 2nd 2017


3907 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The latter half of the performance is phenomenal.

Digging: Converge - The Dusk in Us



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