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  #1  
Old 2009-10-28, 17:11
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Dyldo Dyldo is offline
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Converge - Axe to Fall

Felt like making a new thread.

http://metaltabs.com/forum/showthre...?t=33128&page=2

Got it.

Hmmm, there's a lot to be said here as there normally is when a great band takes on a more progressive approach. For the most part, the album is pretty solid and I was happy to hear Ballou throw in some solos which was a great new element to bring in. This release is less balls-out face-melting than any of their previous releases but that's not to say that it still shouldn't come with a "Warning: Do Not Operate Around Heavy Machinery" advisory, its just got more dynamics spaced between those parts. Its a welcome change though because they can only do "that" for so long. However...

They should have cut this disk at track 11.

The rest of this "progressive" change is where it gets tricky as its always iffy when a band takes a more progressive approach as it can often mean "we want to do something different but really don't know what".

Queue 16 fucking guest musicians. Seriously? Total overkill! And most of them aren't anyone special. Most disappointing though is that it really doesn't sound like there are 16 new ears and limbs on here and it enhances nothing in the Converge sound. Concerning the two tracks with the most guests: The track "Cruel Bloom" is a bunch of fucking bullshit and is the sound of 8 people trying way too hard, poorly aiming at a hipster audience. It had nothing Converge about it. Wretched World was better and at least sounded kind of Convergeish but still boring and uninspired. These two tracks sound really detached from the album and just kind of thrown on in a "there, now its different" attitude.

I give the album 3.5/5.
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Last edited by Darko : 2009-10-28 at 17:57.
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  #2  
Old 2009-10-29, 14:51
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I agree with regard to the final two tracks in that they don't really fit the record as a whole. In fact "Wretched World" would probably be best served on an Isis album and "Cruel Bloom" sounds a bit like Mr Bungle - yes, I finally managed to listen to California - particularly von Till's Patton-esque low-end croon. I still think they are two good songs though, just possibly not within this context.

The rest of the album is a face-melter, with even the slower songs ("Worms Will Feed/Rats Will Feast" and "Damages") brimming with menace. I don't think anybody will encounter a more feral opening salvo than "Dark Horse" and "Reap What You Sow" this year, even if they were to unwittingly disturb a pack of wolves taking a group shit in the woods.

Dylan's criticism of the guest artists, on reflection, probably does hold some water. I was completely ignorant of the collaborative nature of the album until it was pointed out above, although I did have my suspicions that Bannon was not responsible for the vocals in "Cruel Bloom." Looking at who was responsible for what, however, does reveal that the solos on the record were not Ballou's so I guess that is one argument for the guest appearances contributing to a record that undoubtedly would not have comprised such flourishes. To play Devil's advocate for a second, though, two leads, von Till's voice and some piano in "Wretched World" isn't much of a return for the 16 guest positions.

Another point of view on this matter would be that the band have done a remarkable job holding together the band's musical identity given the huge amount of input from other performers. Make no mistake, this is a Converge record; it couldn't reek more of their inimitable, technical brand of vitriolic hardcore if Jacob Bannon himself materialised in your living room, smeared Kurt Ballou's shit on the walls with his bare hands and proceeded to shriek "Concubine" directly into your face.

In conclusion, and despite a few misgiving over the compatibility of the final two tracks with the rest of the album, it's still a masterful offering from one of the most important bands of the last decade and a half.
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Old 2009-10-29, 15:19
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A great example of Converge doing a very well-done collab is the song Grim Heart/Black Rose off of No Heroes. The guest singer Jonah Jenkins' (who I'd never heard of before) vocals are really fucking great and prove that they are being outsourced for a reason. They've got a purpose which is exactly what is lacking in the newer 16 guests. That song is actually one of my favorite Converge songs.

Shit, none of the solos are Ballou's? I must have glanced over that.

Re-reading my post I sound like I don't like this album very much even though I rated it a 3.5 (that I can see moving up to a 4 soon once I get more familiar with the material). I totally agree with John on the two opening tracks, especially Dark Horse, being a killer opening almost on par with the Concubine/Fault and Fracture intro. "Feral salvo" is right!

I'll be seeing them in Nov with Mastodon and Deathklok so I'm really excited to hear some of this live.

Does it sound to anyone else like the vocals are a bit lower in the mix than usual? They've never been right up front but they tend to sit back in the mix a little more, sometimes melting in with guitar's distortion.
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Old 2009-10-30, 04:06
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Yeah, the vocals are a bit lower in the mix than usual and they're not quite as ferociously jarring as on, say, Jane Doe.

The leads on "Reap What You Sow" and "Effigy" were played by Sean Martin (ex-Hatebreed) and Stephen Brodsky (Cave In) respectively. I think there's another lead later on in the album so this could quite conceivably be one of Ballou's as I can't find it being ascribed to any of the guest contributors.
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Old 2009-11-19, 22:58
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I love Converge, haven't heard this latest album though, will have to get a hold of it here sometime.
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