Converge "No Heroes" CDPosted on Friday, November 17th, 2006 @ 10:19am » permalink
Admittedly I've never been a huge Converge fanatic. A longtime fan, yes. A respecting supporter, sure enough. But Converge is one of those bands that has legions of borderline worshippers out there, and I've just never fit that bill. More than a decade-and-a-half down the line, though, and these fuckers are still cranking out extremely solid and undeniably valid material. But that being said, I almost don't even want to write about this record just because I feel like everyone on the planet has already done so – and many in a much more gushing fashion than I will – so it almost feels like there's nothing more that can be said about "No Heroes" (Epitaph). The fact of the matter is that it does, however, warrant the attention.
Now, I was sort of disappointed by "You Fail Me". I don't think I've even listened to it since the first couple of weeks when I bought it (which was right when it came out in 2004). So, by comparison, "No Heroes" absolutely obliterates that record in every way. The recording on this thing alone gets me drooling like an idiot: The warmth of the rhythm section; the dingy, smoldering grit of the guitars and vocals; the raging thump of the prominent and well-defined basslines; the balance of the mix… it's all just awesome. Some of Ballou's finest work, and probably the strongest and most consistent Converge has ever sounded. From a songwriting standpoint I wouldn't call this a huge departure or anything like that, but something about the overall record feels… I don't know… more listenable to me? The complete brilliance of the recording definitely carries over into how the songs themselves come across, but beyond that there's perhaps something to be said for what might be a greater attention to how the dynamics transition into one another. But you'll still find plenty of searing acerbity (some of which borders on an almost thrashy presence in terms of aggression and pacing) and chaotic (yet controlled) energy – with some slower, darker atmospherics seeping in on occasion – not to mention some of the band's most fucked up and twisted "skronk" to date. And I love how damn short many of the tracks are. Areas of the album just fuckin' blaze right through. For example, you pop this thing in and before you know it you're on the fifth or sixth track! Of course, midway through is the mammoth 9+ minute epic "Grim Heart/Black Rose" (which is actually my favorite track herein), with lead vocals courtesy of former Only Living Witness/current Raw Radar War frontman Jonah Jenkins, so… like I said… dynamics and refinements.
I don't know. It's weird. I'm definitely not saying this is Converge's best record. But then again, I don't really know what the hell I think the best Converge record is. "They Stretch for Miles" is still my all-time favorite Converge moment, but… I mean, in the grand scheme of things, I guess "No Heroes" could be pretty high up there. It certainly crushes the last album, and overall I think I like it more than "Jane Doe", too. Fuck it, I don't know. The recording is pure gold, and song-wise there are a number of total rippers on this thing that would easily stand up against mildly comparable work from the group's "back in the day" years, so… yeah. The end.
Downloading is for loser assholes (Though, if you really want to, you can score these jams from iTunes, but remember: No lyrics + no packaging = crap.), so show some love and make the buy if you dig the tunes: