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Converge "No Heroes" CD

Posted on Friday, November 17th, 2006 @ 10:19am » permalink

Converge - No HeroesAdmittedly 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.

Converge "Bare My Teeth"
Converge "No Heroes"

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:

@ RevHQ
@ Very Distribution

14 Comments...

  1. music freak says:

    Yeah it really hard to choose the best album from Converge. Every album has their own very good tracks and some they are a little more average. I didnt listened much You Fail me either. Although i think (if I dont put older material here) that Jane Doe was a little better than No Heroes. For me song structure on this album is a little weird. First some short songs, than everything is slowing down for I dont know 10+ minutes and then again short songs.
    Booklet is again top-notch although lyrics arent much readable. Its hard to say.
    I listen Caring in Killing very much in a past, I have to listen some album more…
    In the end I still think they are better than 95% of other chaotic bands out there…

  2. Thomas says:

    When Forever Comes Crashing is my favorite for sure

  3. Anonymous says:

    great band/album, but i think WFCC is their best. the remaster really makes it sound so much better.

  4. Anonymous says:

    about remasteres. I have really split opinion. OK re-releases usually sound much better, but I think if you really like band a lot then you will buy both. The original recording have probably some "pure" idea how artwork will be looking. Although some original copies is very hard to find, only maybe or eBay or something…

  5. Devin says:

    Excellent review of an excellent record. Quick note about the lyrics – the band posted them on their website in a MUCH more readable fashion the week before the record came out. I'd recommend checking them out there. They're pretty viscious this time around.

  6. Anonymous says:

    yeah i know they are posting them on web. Allthough booklet maybe wouldnt be so good, i preffer
    to have them "in hand". they could put some papir or something inside…

  7. Chris says:

    They are amazing, no question.

    I must be alone in having 'Petitioning The Empty Sky' top my list. I just have a lot tied into that record and worship every song. For me…perfection.

    And I have to agree that getting this record without album artwork is like only hearing half of the instruments. Jacob Bannon is one of the best designers in music…heavy or otherwise. Very inspiring stuff.

  8. Ed says:

    Great review. Personally, I thought this was lot punkier than their previous efforts in a very good way (I guess because of the shorter songs and grittier recording), and it sure devastates You Fail Me and is on par with Jane Doe. It's cool that they're doing different things each time and not try come up with When Forever Comes Poacher Part II.
    But what they do consistently is they never fail to impress live. Just saw them with Modern Life is War last week and they put on an awesome set as usual although many people bitched about how they didn't play the Saddest Day.
    Hundreds of bands compare themselves to Converge and Botch, but how many actually do successfully?

  9. Dick says:

    Great review, great record. I've been listening to "Orphaned" ten times a day ever since the record came out, and it's still the best thing I've heard this year.

  10. Mike S says:

    I'd have to agree over the last couple of records – I just never got into 'You Fail Me' at all, which is a direct contrast to 'Jane DOE' which kicked ass.

    This one on the other hand is a real grower. Initially it didn't make sense, especially the relative diversity in styles. But I've given it a chance and I'm starting to really dig the record, most notably due to the greater range of vocals and the (as mentioned in the review) terrific production job.

  11. Pim says:

    I so do not like Converge haha, but I loved the guest vocals Jonah Jenkins did :)

  12. Jonathan says:

    great write up! I would have to say I like it quite a bit more than You Fail Me, although I thought that album was pretty good as well. The best Converge album to me is probably Jane Doe, there is just some amazing songs on it.

    I just love how No Heroes completely rips through the first four tracks. Doesn't even give you time catch your breath. Just comes out swinging, fuckin' awesome.

  13. Anonymous says:

    @andrew@averionline: its pretty offtopic but i didnt found any review of Creation is Crucifixion. I think they are pretty good band so they deserve some write-up…

  14. fmmiii says:

    you should at least listen to tracks 1-6 on YFM. those tracks alone are worth anybody's time.

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