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Converge Axe To Fall

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01. Dark Horse 02. Reap What You Sow 03. Axe to Fall 04. Effigy 05. Worms Will Feed 06. Wishing Well 07. Damages 08. Losing Battle 09. Dead Beat 10. Cutter 11. Slave Driver 12. Cruel Bloom 13. Wretched World
2009 Epitaph Records
Our score 8

by Nick
10/27/2009

Is there any other group more qualified than Converge to hold the 'Most Influential Hardcore Band of the Last Decade' title Converge's impact is undeniably far-reaching, whether it be in the well-carved niche of Jacob Bannon's Deathwish Inc., Kurt Ballou's constant recording presence through his Godcity studio, or even in just the sheer number of listeners deriving inspiration from the unit as a whole. At a high-level, the ability of a small group of musicians to have such a noticeable effect on an entire subculture is rather astounding. So let's give credit where credit is due. For many -- myself included -- a new Converge release is as big as it gets. Axe to Fall is the result of the band attempting to simultaneously cover diverging paths, and managing to achieve an impressive level of success given such an arduous challenge. As with any veteran band possessing a quintessential sound, there will always be a strong pull for the act to retain the same style and mentality. Conversely, the internal desire to continually push into new sonic territories often increases exponentially as a band presses on, especially after they've eclipsed the fourth or fifth record mark. This much is relatively easy to gather, but how does it manifest itself in Axe to Fall Well for one, the album exudes an almost restless feel when relying on "old" Converge tricks. But relying is far too strong of a word, as the band is still unparalleled in their ability to churn out metallic hardcore. The disc leads off with a trio of tracks that are immediately forceful and jarring, packing almost as much energy as the stellar one-two punch of "Concubine" and "Fault and Fracture" from Jane Doe. Take your pick of energetic leads and intermittent bursts of pounding double-bass in "Dark Horse," frantic, dive-bombing guitar work in "Reap What You Sow," or a massive breakdown in the title-track; all three showcase the qualities that listeners have come to expect out of the foursome. But then there's a lengthy list of guest appearances attached to the record that reads like a who's who of hardcore and metal and not-so-faintly hints at the fact that the Converge camp opened themselves up for a uniquely collaborative effort (either out of artistic frustration or ingenuity -- you be the judge). What this amounts to is an interesting underbelly of Axe to Fall that attempts to move away from the expected metallic hardcore sound and eclipse the high bar for experimental departures in past albums (When Forever Comes Crashing's "Ten Cents," Jane Doe's "Phoenix in Flames," You Fail Me's "In Her Shadow," etc), albeit in a completely different manner. The most direct example of this shows up in the pair of closing tracks, "Cruel Bloom" and "Wretched World." "Cruel Bloom" borrows the dark, crooning vocals of Neurosis' Steve Von Till to piece together a track that transitions from a somber, twang-tinged mood into a highly cathartic climax. "Wretched World" is analogous to No Heroes' "Grim Heart/Black Rose," thanks to a lead vocal effort from Genghis Tron's Mookie Singerman. How anyone discovered that Singerman could be such a great fit is beyond me, but the end product is a fantastically heavy and brooding conclusion to a record divided in musical vision, but still very much exceptional. At the end of the day, it's clear that Converge is still trying to venture into new musical areas, all without sacrificing the sound that made the act what it is today. It's a tough goal, and although Axe to Fall might jump styles unexpectedly, it's still quite a stellar record. After all these years these guys are still at the top of their game -- a very admirable feat, indeed. Bottom Line: Converge's Axe to Fall seems to straddle the fence between gladly delivering the sharp metallic hardcore anthems of which the band is known and venturing off into a completely uncharted songwriting territory. The musician guest list (pulling from bands like Cave In, Disfear, Blacklisted, Neurosis, and Genghis Tron) and its resulting departures showcases the desire to operate in a different sonic area better than any other aspect of the album, and although it ultimately causes Axe to Fall to fall slightly short of being a cohesive masterpiece, the variation is much appreciated. More than anything, Axe to Fall feels like a hint at a major change brewing in the minds of the band members. It appears that there are a few musical itches that need to be scratched, and makes one wonder if something massive, like a musically bipolar double album, might be on the distant horizon. That just might be the only thing left for Converge to conquer.

Comments (61) post new comment
Fur_Beach_ 10/27/2009 3:50:11 PM

8/10? very surprising.


al_czervik_ 10/27/2009 3:56:09 PM

suprised at an 8/10, figured it would have been less. thought it ripped though.


Godfatherofsoul_ 10/27/2009 3:56:53 PM

I have no life


2scene4u_ 10/27/2009 4:59:12 PM

first post


Dammit_ 10/27/2009 5:32:20 PM

Unfortunately I'd have to give this album a 6/10 It's just not blowing my head off like I thought it would. It's almost like No Heroes uglier more choppy step brother than anything. Still a tight band, still heavy as all f*ck. But I found myself at the end of a good handful of these songs just thinking "Eh..." Oh well, theyre still Converge. And that might be all they need. But this album is kinda weak. And that sucks to admit.


Mickey Rooney_ 10/27/2009 5:52:32 PM

Nick didn't give this a 7? I'm so confused right now.


HBDad_ 10/27/2009 6:05:47 PM

Good CD, but still one of this year's biggest disappointments. It is just to repetitious except for a few tracks here and there. The first 3 or 4 songs feel like one song almost.


johnfuckingdenver_ 10/27/2009 6:23:48 PM

9/10. this record f*cking rules and i can't comprehend people thinking "meh" after listening to it. some people's ears don't work right, i guess.


The Board Of Directors_ 10/27/2009 7:14:11 PM

10/10 Terrible review. Way to get into the "psyche" of the band, and then review 2 songs. Album of the year.


Convag_ 10/27/2009 7:23:32 PM

dck To Suck


HBDad_ 10/27/2009 7:25:01 PM

"No Heroes" was a much better album in my opinion. In fact, No Heroes is my favorite Converge CD. No Heroes had much more variety, better sound, and flowed better as an album.


Balls Mahoney_ 10/27/2009 8:35:03 PM

this album was WEAK AS f*ck and you ALL KNOW IT.


anonymous 10/27/2009 9:41:22 PM

i don't get why people aren't into this album. i'm all for converge trying some new shit out, and there's still plenty of what made past albums great.


Mike_ 10/27/2009 10:49:12 PM

Such an incredible album. One of the best Converge albums, even one of the best this year. I doesn't get much better than this.


Gridiron_ 10/27/2009 11:17:20 PM

I hope this band never breaks up. They have been a cornerstone in my music catalog for the last 10 years. This record is pretty close to being there best. Just as far as every record they make is so deeply entrenched with how far they have come as a band. Converge is an almost perfect name for what this band truly represents. A constant convergence within themselves and there scene. If you can't respect that. Than you obviously haven't been around long enough to know 5+ record bands just don't e


monolithic_ 10/27/2009 11:29:01 PM

Great album. Far superior to No Heroes, which I thought was an inconsistent, heavy-handed mess.


Murph_ 10/28/2009 12:46:58 AM

I love Kurt Ballou's chord voicings/guitar textures on this record. Always heavy and still unique sounding. This band is still great after putting out its sixth full-length, which as mentioned earlier almost never happens in hardcore any more.


vcreationv_ 10/28/2009 1:24:10 AM

this album is at least a 9/10. It's solid as f*ck. Easily the best thing they've done since Jane Doe. It's everything I hoped it would be. I really dont understand the haters. Your brain is broken if you listen to heavy music and are dissapointed by Axe to Fall. This shit is glorious.


xote_ 10/28/2009 2:28:38 AM

Really, it sounds like Converge and Converge is awesome. Thats all anyone needs to know.


fuckthisband_ 10/28/2009 7:48:36 AM

10/10 because it gave a lot of perspective to the rest of their discography


anonymous 10/28/2009 8:27:47 AM

this album is everything they've ever done... better. 10/10 dum dums.


donkeyrocket_ressurection_ 10/28/2009 9:08:47 AM

10/10 It sounds like led zep with anger problem and on mass amounts of cocaine, LOVE IT!


conduit_ 10/28/2009 10:22:10 AM

better than no heroes but still far from their best


Mike_ 10/28/2009 11:42:00 AM

Converge new album is just as good as all their records. The production isn't as clean as their last record but that is what people usually want in a record at least here. I thought the tracks on this record worked great from start to finish, If you listen to the last two songs you know who guested on those tracks because it does have the sounds of pygmy lush and genghis tron sound. The rest of the tracks sound like Converge with a more epic melody sound approach to make each song themed.


Godfather_ 10/28/2009 12:06:41 PM

I enjoy swallowing mouthfuls of c-m while listening to this record.


Omegaman_ 10/28/2009 12:58:46 PM

I agree with this review for the most part, Nicks best. People talking shit remind me of n00bs that always bag on Rollins era Black Flag that really don't know what the f*ck they're talking about, they just want to be controversial.


dogslayeggs_ 10/28/2009 1:57:40 PM

Another solid record by Converge. Wouldn't expect anything less from these guys. Pretty accurate review, even though I tend to not agree with Nick, 8/10 sounds about right. I always enjoy their experimental shit so I'd have to say the closing tracks are probably my favorite so far.


Jayson_ 10/28/2009 3:00:31 PM

10/10 album.


Nowonmai_ 10/28/2009 4:08:57 PM

after several listens this album really is tight good review


chubacca_ 10/28/2009 5:47:52 PM

surprisingly, i agree 100% with this review


black ship wreck 9_ 10/28/2009 5:49:37 PM

heavy metal solos?


Fur_Beach11_ 10/28/2009 9:19:55 PM

Gridiron, your punctuation and awful spelling are offensive. So is your opinion. Kill yourself.


andropause_ 10/28/2009 9:42:40 PM

Really, did somebody really say that No heroes was better than this? No heroes was their WORST album by far. I would give Axe to Fall at least a 9. I was very surprised that I would like it that much as I wasn't expecting alot after No Heroes bored me to death. This CD=Jane Doe on crack


james_ 10/28/2009 11:06:34 PM

cory should've reviewed this


jeff_ 10/29/2009 12:41:10 AM

why is it nobody else gets that jacob bannons vocals sound like a bobcat. its like a thrash feline version of caninus


anonymous 10/29/2009 1:29:46 AM

i think everyone else realizes that sounding like a bobcat is f*cking awesome


anonymous 10/29/2009 12:33:09 PM

why jacob bannon is a staple to the "hardcore" scene I'll never know. Deathwish puts out some awesome records but Bannon is up his own ass.


Mr. Mister_ 10/29/2009 2:29:18 PM

Pick up an exclusive free T-shirt with Axe To Fall AT SELECTED HOT TOPIC STORES. Converge is garbage now. This album is sell out shit. Sorry but it had to happen sooner or later, I mean HOT TOPIC, cmon.


Sean_ 10/29/2009 5:37:19 PM

Great album but the lyrics are awful. Did a 13 year old scribble these out on the back of a five star notebook during earth science?


idaho_ 10/29/2009 6:43:24 PM

artwork/lyrics/song titles have always been about the same, which are all by Bannon's hand. However, bannon live is undeniably incredible. boosh.


anonymous 10/29/2009 7:37:13 PM

from this review i thought it would have been 9/10 regardless i think this album blends all of the best parts of converge


lomyst_ 10/29/2009 8:17:20 PM

enough great songs to make the whole thing great... dead beat is above 'm all though


andr0ne_ 10/30/2009 12:46:34 PM

I'm going to have to agree with every word said here. I was utterly stoked and counting down the days for Axe to Fall, and when i slid my lil' disc into the player; I was completely content with the first few tracks. Then everything else just seemed on par for Converge. super dope and heavy as all, but nothing sticking out so much to make it on a personal top 10


TA_ 10/30/2009 7:09:52 PM

good album


anonymous_shithead_ 10/31/2009 12:40:44 PM

I think an 8/10 is pretty accurate. If Jane Doe were 10/10 I'd give ATF a 9.


HBDad_ 10/31/2009 1:26:51 PM

I can't believe how blind some of you are to the fact there is very little variety on this CD (the last two songs are really the only ones that sound different) and shit production. The album is very "tinny" in sound and every song is pretty much the same exact tempo and beat. No Heroes was their best release in my opinion followed closely by Jane Doe.


Severed_In_Two is a homo_ 11/1/2009 12:24:49 PM

8/10 huh? Can someone come in and actually review the album without being bias? This album is actually pretty boring. No heroes was great, you fail me sucked, jane doe was phenomenal...these dudes seem to be on an every other album rules kick. We'll have to wait for the next one. I'd give this a 5 at best.


wasted_life_ 11/2/2009 2:33:49 AM

9/10. one of their best. tied with jane doe. all haters are complete gays.


turrvis_ 11/2/2009 10:17:48 AM

what the f*ck is wrong with you uppity hipster hardcore kids?this is the goddamn best thing they've done since jane doe.jesus f*cking christ,appreciate good hardcore and not the shit your younger stepbrother spoonfeeds you.


zombiesaretight_ 11/2/2009 4:10:08 PM

8======D~~~~ converge....... this band needs to break up already


DudesDock_ 11/3/2009 9:32:44 PM

Converge can record a full length comprised of unreleased Emmure b-sides and you gays would still be stuffing over it. If this exact record was released by a band nobody ever heard of there's no the reviewer would have even given it a 6/10


GOKILLYOURSELF_ 11/4/2009 3:05:16 PM

shit band. -10/10


pukkkkkkkkke_ 11/5/2009 9:49:57 AM

"Conversely, the internal desire to continually push into new sonic territories often increases exponentially as a band presses on, especially after they've eclipsed the fourth or fifth record mark." 10/10 sentence, would read again


anonymous 11/5/2009 2:48:28 PM

This CD strattles nipples


weak sauce_ 11/10/2009 3:42:06 AM

Lambgoat continues to suck Converge's dck off, what the f*ck else is new


Nowonmai_ 11/23/2009 12:47:57 AM

album took me like two weeks of not listening to it after a quick play through before I got the ears for it. will be listening to it more.


YOURGREATDEVASTATOR_ 11/24/2009 11:57:16 AM

a lot of these comments remind me of this dave chappelle bit, where he talks about how women have been getting too much advise about men from other women, who...REALLY DON'T KNOW WHAT THE f*ck THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT...for someone to say that 'no heroes' is their best album, is an absurd statement that a f*cking moron with no merit would make, but that's also besides the point...this record ANNIHILATES 'no heroes' and as far as shitty production, you obviously have no clue what the f*ck you're tal


sj_ 12/4/2009 2:15:18 PM

Fair review. i love the entire record except for worms will feed. kills the entire momentum of the album.


Letterbomber_ 1/6/2010 6:06:44 PM

YOURGREATDEVESTATOR, you clearly cant comprhend the personal attachment that goes along with Converge's music. You have absolutely no say in what their absolute best album is, no one does. Its a personal kind of thing between us and the music, and for you to declare that Converge is this now or that then, is f*cking bullshit and an elitist overlook. PERSONALLY I think this album was their biggest disappointment, and while I can see where it would kick someone in the nuts. Im just not feeling Con


LonesomePete_ 1/7/2010 3:30:54 PM

Dang good record.


anonymous 12/5/2010 7:42:55 AM

Oh yeah love that awesome country song at the end of this album, f*cking Bon jovi on steroids, gays just need to go back to basics. And Jacob bannon needs to stop this gay splatter art trend on EVERY ONE OF THEIR CDS SINCE JANE DOE.