01. First Light
02. Last Light
04. Drop Out
05. Hope Street
07. You Fail Me
08. In Her Shadow
10. Death King
11. In Her Blood
12. Hanging Moon
You Fail Me
The chaotic lure of You Fail Me, the new album from iconic punk-metal quartet CONVERGE, is about to blow your unsuspecting mind. Through the inexplicable power of the band coupled with Bannon's unique lyrical vision and throat-ripping screams, the Boston-reared group's brute force is flat out stunning.
"We feel this record is as relevant, if not more, than any other release under our belts!"
You Fail Me
Piano on "In Her Shadow" by Shawn Mosely
Recorded by Kurt Ballou at Godcity, Magpie, and Witch Doctor
Additional Engineering by Chris Moylan and Shawn Mosely
Mixed by Matthew Ellard, Kurt Ballou, and, Jacob Bannon at Godcity
Mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side
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US Rel. Date: 09/21/2004
EU Rel. Date: 09/20/2004
Fail-safe - Jacob Bannon and Co push the boundaries. Again.
If You were asked to describe Converge to someone who'd never heard them, you'd use phrases such as "white noise"; you'd talk about indecipherable vocals being screamed by a man who sounds like he's just had his legs cut off without an anesthetic; you'd talk about schizophrenic drumming, the pace and jerkiness of which could be of concern to epileptics; and you'd add that, in terms of melody, you'll not find anything even vaguely hummable here. At which point that person might look at you, squinting, and ask, "Why would anyone listen to Converge?"
And they'd have a point too. Certainly the Boston quartet aren't for everyone -- in fact, in the scheme of things, they're for hardly anyone. But for those who embrace bands that push boundaries, view their music not in commercial terms but in artistic ones and, crucially, operate at the more extreme end of the spectrum, few come close to touching Converge.
For 13 years now, the Boston noisemongers have led from the front, effortlessly redefining what is to be a hardcore band. 2001's landmark Jane Doe album was, until now, their crowning glory, a white-knuckled exercise in anguish and extremity. Thing is, when you've pushed that angle as far as you can go, you need to start looking somewhere else. Which is where You Fail Me comes in.
Make no mistake -- this is still abrasive, ugly stuff. But there's a restraint here, a controlled aggression and a higher understanding of dynamics that makes You Fail Me a more complete album than Jane Doe. Where that album simply pummeled, this one actually grooves -- see In Her Blood and Last Light. There's even an acoustic song here, In Her Shadow, which not only offers respite from the chaos around it, but makes that chaos all the more heavy and unpleasant.
In a year that's produced some remarkable extreme-music albums -- Dillinger and Neurosis immediately spring to mind -- Converge have produced another; an album that will leave most playing catch up for the next five years. Listen and learn.
CONVERGE kicks off "You Fail Me" with "Last Light", a track with a particularly intimate quality that dives right into the heart of the dark nature of the group. The driving percussion fuels the track, but it's Jacob Bannon's lyrics that make this song as menacing as it is (it also kicks your ass live, which doesn't hurt either). "Black Cloud" is a track that CONVERGE purists will enjoy, a brutally intense song with relentless vocals and a restless tempo. "Heartless" is a moshpit waiting to happen, while the title track is a genuinely terrifying mood setter, with a guitar line that is simple but so evil it smears a twisted grin all over your face. "In Her Shadow", an acoustic act sandwiched smack in the middle of the album, shows the group's abstract ability and creative prowess, but doesn't sit well and leaves a sour aftertaste. Maybe it's because of the tempo killing acoustic song, but the final four tracks of the album don't seem as solid as the first six or seven tracks, serving more as a jumble of average material that keeps this disc from really reaching the monumental status of the unyielding "Jane Doe".
"You Fail Me" starts strong, but gradually tails off towards the end of the record. It's a fine record, and as I said before easily one of the best of the year, but it doesn't compare well to "Jane Doe". Rather, it is a suitable follow-up with just a handful of tracks that are "Jane Doe" quality. While fans eagerly anticipated the group's next disc, CONVERGE took the opportunity to branch out slightly (let's face it, they couldn't have written anything that would match "Jane Doe"), adding more experimental elements to their sound while maintaining their uncompromising, brooding metal. When you're CONVERGE, however, you're so-so material is still better than 90% of the stuff out there today, and I'm just fine with that.
Average Fan Rating: 4.86