Axe To Fall


Epitaph, 2009

REVIEW BY: Allen Hunter


The frothing mouths and callused hands of DIY heroes are full of anticipation for Converge’s latest album. What could fans expect from the seventh studio album from a band hailing from the notorious Boston hardcore scene? Well, if they were looking for depth, they leaned over the edge too far, falling head over heels into well-crafted metal. Straight from the beginning of the opening track, “Dark Horse,” the lead guitar unleashes an onslaught of noodly riffs, launching into a fast-paced head-banger. The melodies are strikingly melodic, building up into a mountain of palm-muted chunking that we all love so much. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Over twenty years of constant touring and production of full-length albums, as well as a menagerie of EPs and splits, Converge has never failed to feed their cult-like following from the North East, expanding the globe throughout their continuous international endeavors. Prolific songwriters and founding members Jacob Bannon (vocals, lyrics, visuals) and Kurt Ballou (guitarist, songwriter) received high accolades upon sold out arenas supporting their Axe To Fall, touring with the likes of Mastodon and High On Fire.

Axe To Fall was released in 2009 under Epitaph records, with Ballou recording, mixing, and producing the album in the summer of that year at his own Godcity studio in Salem, Massachusetts. Bannon, inexhaustible graphic artist that he is, created the album artwork. His art has gained a positive reputation throughout his career, resulting in his designing countless cover art for numerous bands such as Poison The Well and As I Lay Dying. The quartet is rounded out by Nate Newton (bass) and Ben Koller (drums).

This four-piece set of brutal dudes lays out compositions that blend hardcore, thrash and punk, as always with absolute taste. Axe To Fall pumps out tunes like “Reap What You Sow” and “Losing Battle” that perpetuate the standard of traditional Converge. “Worms Will Feed / Rats Will Feast” extends a breakdown shift within its theme centering on Neurosis-felt influence as raspy vocals demand attention over a slow pulse. Innovations include “Cruel Bloom,” with an opening reminiscent of a Tom Waits ballad, and closing track “Wretched World,” which features a melancholy progression and melodic vocals, stringing the listener along into ambience. Never a disappointment, the band has produced some of their best work yet on this disc. 

Rating: B

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© 2011 Allen Hunter and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Epitaph, and is used for informational purposes only.