Album Plug: Converge - Axe to Fall
So I’ve covered one or two albums in the past here on my blog that no one really reads. Hearing my imaginary readers pleas for more… more…. MORE … I feel I must accede to this request, in the face of so much wild demand and popularity.
This time around, I’m going to cover a certain album I’ve been listening to nonstop for a few days now. This one is for the crowd out there who appreciates the heavier side of music, and a bit of the ol’ “cookie monster vocals”.
Today’s album is Converge - Axe to Fall
I’m embarrassed to say I actually had this album lying around for a couple of months before I got around to listening to it. I’ve been a little closed-minded in recent weeks, and haven’t really been trying new music out. I’ve never really listened to Converge, however Axe to Fall is their seventh studio album since they started in ‘94.
The first time I listened through this album, my media player failed, and 3 songs were missing. You probably won’t believe me, but when I queued this album up for the first time at work and listened through, when I finished the last track I honestly felt like there was something missing. Once I fixed the missing tracks (Effigy, Wishing Well and Cruel Bloom) up, I gave it a second listen.
This album blew my mind.
The album begins with Dark Horse, a relentless track that holds nothing back, from the intro right through to the final moments. The band then barrels into Reap What You Sow, which I thought sounded very early-Mastodon-esque, like a fusion between Lifeblood and Remission. Again, another uncompromising track that leaves you dizzy by the end.
From here we move on to the title track - Axe to Fall. I dunno what to say here, great track, however it didn’t really do much for me. The next track however, is probably my favourite on the album - Effigy. At this point, there’s been no breaks in the album, just one track careening into the next. Effigy is no exception, the track begins with some spastic jazzy drumming just like Dark Horse, and then launches into some CRAZY riffing and noodling. It’s just 1:44 minutes of insanity. It’s in the upper echelon of crazy fun you can have with music in less than 2 minutes. If you’re not going to listen to album, at least give Effigy a listen.
With that madness over, the album takes a bit of a turn with Worms Will Feed. A much slower song, it’s still brutal in its own way. If you’re an kind of fan of heavy music, you will not be able to listen to this track without headbanging uncontrollably. I would even say with RECKLESS ABANDON. The riff on this song is just so infectious, you cannot help but succumb to it like some kind of mindless zombie. I don’t care if that sounded lame, you’ll understand when you give it a listen.
The album then moves into Wishing Well, which again is a bit slower in the tempo department, though it does go into a few moments of paradiddling, riffing and noodling frenzy.
Damages, Losing Battle, Dead Beat all have some very contagious riffs and beats to groove to. In a way I feel like these songs are the jazzier side of the album. Where the first 4 tracks were just madness, and the next 3 were off-beat mosh tracks, this batch is more elaborate in some way…
Slave Driver is a lot of fun, with a very catchy shouted chorus type deal. Yet another song on this album that I would destroy myself in the mosh for.
Cruel Bloom is a pretty jarring shift from Slave Driver, with a very mellow piano kicking off the track. The vocalist on this song is none other than Steve von Till of Neurosis fame. Von Till has the most badass voice out there, just listen to any Neurosis album and you’ll see. Anyway, Cruel Bloom is a very haunting … well, I’d call it a power ballad.
The album closes with Wretched World, which is another mellow track weighing in at 7:10. It’s a pretty awesome way to end the album really, when you consider how much energy they poured into the earlier tracks. The album is very a roller-coaster ride until the end where it lets you down gently… and you walk away with weak legs and headspin. Some metal purists might call these last 2 songs fizzers or something… But I think they were a great choice, and another example of the awesome talent the band has. It’s also a credit to Kurt Ballou, the guitarist who melted your face throughout the album, as he also produced this work of art.
Go get this album. ‘Nuff said.