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Axe to Fall

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Album Review

Converge's eighth studio album is packed with guest performances by kindred spirits from Massachusetts and beyond. "Effigy," one of four songs on the album that comes in under the two-minute mark, features Steve Brodsky and Adam McGrath of Cave In on guitar and that group's drummer, J.R. Conners, behind the kit. Uffe Cederlund of Disfear takes over lead guitar on "Wishing Well," while Steve Von Till of Neurosis sings on "Cruel Bloom" and Genghis Tron' Mookie Singerman does guest vocals on the seven-minute album closer, "Wretched World." But it's the core group that delivers the most astonishing displays of hardcore fury and progressive musical exploration on Axe to Fall. Opening cut "Dark Horse," propelled by a Disfear-esque riff so insane it'll make you think your CD is playing at the wrong speed, kicks off a breathless sprint that lasts all the way to the doomy, noisy fifth track, "Worms Will Feed." From there, Converge continues to mine the dissonant blend of Agnostic Front and Unsane that has served them so well for years at this point. Though Jacob Bannon's vocals are as indecipherable as ever, this album somehow feels even angrier — and that rage is apparently more outwardly directed, given track titles like "Slave Driver" and "Wretched World" — than previous releases like Jane Doe and You Fail Me. Given the furious pace at which they tour, record, and work with their various side bands, it's astonishing that Converge have time to put this much thought into their music instead of just cranking out one more rote album, but Axe to Fall is a big step forward for them.

Customer Reviews

Gotta be in the top 3 for 2009

Absolutely relentless album from Converge, but with a twist from previous records. The lead guitar rises above the 'thrash' on most of the songs which introduces much more variation and complexity to the rhythym. And with the interesting decision to have the final two songs mellowing out as a conclusion (not unlike 'Grim Heart....'), Converge give the distinct impression that they are toying with us and can probably pretty much do whatever the hell they choose. Possibly one of the most under-rated bands going around.

Another strong Converge album? you don't say!

Yet another outing from Hardcore greats Converge. If this is your third or fourth time trying to figure out what all the hype is about and still just not getting it; then you probably never will. If you are new to these guys well then welcome to the party and strap in. For people who have loved this band for ages you shouldn't be disappointed. Converge continue to do what it is they do best with this record; pummelling the listener with sheer speed and violent chaos all packed into a production so claustrophobic that you can feel yourself suffocating under the weight of the power of this music. And Converge manage to remain equally as frightening when they slow down to a crawl as they do at their usual lightning speed, filling the listener with a sense of unease as they wait for the band to come back around and tear their limbs off again. If there is anything wrong with this album it would be an over abundance of guest vocalists. Each one brings an interesting element to the tracks while still keeping it a Converge song, but at some point it becomes tiresome to not actually hear Converge doing their own vocals as inaccessible as that voice may be. Overall another strong album but not without it's small faults but the ups should blur out the lows for most.

Save some cash....

Although I can appreciate heavy music, this album gives me a headache. I bought it with only having heard on track by them off another album, and it turned out to be a lapse in judgement. Musically, it's not bad, but when they mixed everything together, the vocals were too quiet....a good thing for such an irritating singer. Crazy, loud, incoherent, annoying.....


Formed: 1990 in Boston, MA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The punk metal act Converge were formed in the winter of 1990-1991, and after several singles, compilation appearances, and the requisite growing pains, they released their first full-length effort, Halo in a Haystack, in 1994. The Boston-based quartet was initially comprised of vocalist/visual artist Jacob Bannon, guitarist Kurt Ballou, bassist Jeff Feinburg, and drummer Damon Bellorado, with second guitarist Aaron Dalbec joining in 1994 (he later left in 2001 without being replaced). Over the years,...
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