Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: album reviews, Blacklisted, Cave In, Converge, Disfear, Doomriders, Epitaph Records, Genghis Tron, Neurosis, Releases of the Week, The Red Chord, Undertow
PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD Converge’s “Axe to Fall” MP3
WE GIVE IT: 19/20 Watts
In heavy music, there are only a handful of bands that constantly push their own boundaries and strive to be as forward thinking as possible. For those familiar with hardcore or metal, Converge is obviously one of these bands. Axe to Fall, the seventh studio album from this innovative group, is a reminder that no one fuses aggression and experimentation better than Converge.
Even with fourteen (yes, fourteen) guest musicians lending their talents to Axe To Fall, no other record from the band’s repertoire has ever been able to capture the energy of the core members more accurately than this album. It is truly astonishing how organic the collaborations sound.
Opening track, “Dark Horse,” features a galloping drumbeat and a melodic guitar lead that will certainly take long-time fans by surprise. It isn’t as chaotic as “Concubine” from Jane Doe or “Heartache” from No Heroes, but it is a superbly written song and will likely become an anthem at future live shows. “Axe to Fall,” the title track, is probably the most in-your-face song that Converge has ever written, featuring mind-numbing drum fills, super-technical shredding and a breakdown that could induce anyone to throw down in the pit.
Axe to Fall is a wild ride. Each track is a unique yet equally powerful experience. Perhaps the most unconventional additions to the Converge catalog are “Cruel Bloom” and “Wretched World.” “Cruel Bloom” showcases Steve Von Till’s (Neurosis) haunting voice over a backing choir, soft percussion, piano and acoustic/electric guitar. It’s a beautiful song with a jolting climax that Kurt Ballou commands with a doomy chord progression.
“Wretched World,” the closer, easily rivals “Jane Doe” with its epic quality. Featuring all of Genghis Tron and the drummers of Cave In and The Red Chord, respectively, these seven minutes and eleven seconds are literally impossible to describe with words.
It is possible, however, to realize how integral Converge remain to underground music. The release of Axe to Fall only solidifies this fact and brings the decade to a close with a musical triumph.
— Jeremy Garber