Converge frontman Jacob Bannon selects six songs to die with.
We have neither the budget nor the imagination of BBC Radio, so we've borrowed from their Desert Island Discs program to bring you our own scaled down version, dubbed Six Songs To Die With. Every week we ask a noteworthy musical guest to select the six songs they'd be stranded with on an obligatory desert island. Hypothetically, said guest will be dying on this island, so they've been advised to choose wisely. Selections appear in no particular order.
Since launching Lambgoat some twelve years ago, a keystone of our coverage has been seminal Massachusetts outfit Converge. As such, we thought it would be more than appropriate to invite Converge frontman Jacob Bannon to be the subject of our very first Six Songs To Die With. Converge has been around for roughly twenty years, and they've released a small handful of highly regarded albums, including hardcore/metal masterpiece, Jane Doe.
"The Web" - Souls At Zero
: I was initially exposed to Neurosis through their The Word As Law album. When I was a kid, Jonah from Only Living Witness wrote for a great zine called "Look Again," and I read the first few issues a million times over. I believe it was he who gushed about the band and album in a review in those pages. To paraphrase, he wrote something like the Word As Law album was where punk/hardcore was played by true musicians. Sounded cool to me. So on that suggestion, I picked that record up and played it to death. Though I obsessed over that record for a long time, I had no idea what kind of greatness Neurosis would evolve into. A year or two later I bought the Souls At Zero album on cassette at the local record shop, thinking I was going to get The Word As Law Part 2. I was wrong. I never heard anything like Souls At Zero before. It was the first time that I experienced heavy music that was that dense, airy and powerful. It was sample heavy, but in a different way than anything else. It was also socially/environmentally aware like a lot of the punk and hardcore I dug at the time. It also was a gateway record for me that got me into Crash Worship and other more experimental artists of the day.
"Techno-Logic-Kill" - Extinction
: Going to shows when I was a kid, I saw their "pointy" logo on someone's leather jacket and I wanted to know what they were all about. I found the Extinction cassette at a record store and picked it up. Crusty Punk with just enough Metal influence to keep things interesting. Their socially conscious message was also interesting to me at the time. Out of the three proper releases, Extinction was the one that appealed to me the most, though the CyberGod 7" EP is great as well.
"Doomed to Extinction" - Demo 7" EP
: When I was a teenager, my brother and his friends would get together and play covers in our basement. Terry (one of his friends) would come by and play Sabbath covers every once in a while. One day Terry started a band called Disrupt. He gave me their records as they came out for awhile. Disrupt were totally extreme and unlike the hardcore I knew at the time. Terry and his friend Greg also gave me my first tapes of bands like Siege, Unseen Terror, Napalm Death, etc. I also remember them giving me Blood Feast, Wehrmacht and other early New Renaissance Records titles. That was the first label I followed specifically back then, and it was because of those guys.
"In Ruins" - Protestant
: New York and New Jersey had some great bands that called those places home in the early/mid 90's. Rorschach were the most important to me of that area. I adored the Remain Sedate album and the Neanderthal split, but Protestant really shook things up for me. It was an intense record that took all the craziness of metal, aggressiveness of hardcore, and ugliness of punk and pushed it all over the top. Their wild guitar work, groundbreaking drumming, and Charles' rabid vocals were all brilliant stuff. It's hard to pick a standout song, but I'll go with "In Ruins" just because of that opening riff.
"Above The Rafters" and "The Rift" - Crossbearer
: Starkweather are one of the most important and underrated bands in aggressive music, period. Epic song structures, brilliant lyric writing, and stunning musicianship are the only things needed to know about this genre bending band. In the days of fanzines and tape trading, Rennie from Starkweather and I wrote to one another often. Through tape trading, he introduced me to music like Diamanda Galas, Swans, and other things that weren't on my radar when I was a teenager. I'm forever grateful for that. I'm including two songs here, "Above The Rafters" and "The Rift." They are included on later versions of the Crossbearer, but were recorded after the original session. Immerse yourself in everything they have ever recorded when you get the chance.
We let Jake cheat a bit and throw in a seventh entry of sorts...
: Just like every hardcore/punk kid, I thought I was jaded after listening to extreme music by the time I was 18 years old. I thought I heard everything and understood everything that was out there (news flash; I didn't know anything). At that point I started reaching out and digging a digging a little deeper, into things I didn't pay attention to before. I spent more time listening to what people refer to as the "Revolution Summer" era of the Discord Catalog that most people are aware of, as well as the lesser known Dischord artists. I spent a lot of time listening to bands like Ignition, Faith, Void, Scream, Circus Lupus, Shudder To Think, Beefeater, Lungfish, Soulside, etc. Even later era bands on the label like Hoover and Jawbox were very interesting to me. Here are some good videos for you:
Faith & Void in 1982
Embrace in 1986
Ignition in 1988
Shudder To Think in 1992
Lungfish in 1992
Jawbox in 1997