Favorite

Converge: Axe to Fall (Epitaph) 

Converge set the metal-core bar so high with 2001's Jane Doe—a sci-fi-tinged concept album exploring the idea that heartbreak, at times, is akin to brutal first-degree murder—that the Salem, Mass., quartet has struggled ever since to again reach an epic and unforgettable plateau for aggressive music.

Clearly, Axe to Fall aims to recapture a bit of the profoundly alien sensibility and weird terror that consistently puts Doe at the top of any metalhead/punker's desert-island disc list. Thanks to guitarist Kurt Ballou's angularly nimble guitar licks, "Dark Horse" barrels out of the gate with cosmic attitude and effortless authority. "Reap What You Sow" and "Cutter," meanwhile, stand as Converge's thrashiest numbers to date, giving Megadeth's Dave Mustaine a run for his peace money.

But then there's the doomy, four-chord "Wishing Well," a surprise turn into Sabbath territory. Still, it isn't until "Slave Driver," with Ballou's tremolo-picking drone creating an eerie backdrop, that we finally get a taste of the interstellar overdrive that makes Converge impossible to ignore. It's a short-lived moment, however.

If you can stomach the indie-folkish "Cruel Bloom" and predictably constructed post-rock pastiche "Wretched World," then Axe to Fall will surely carve you up. However, if you're hoping to get your mind blown wide open, you may be disappointed to learn that Converge appears more interested in assimilating diverse musical styles into its volatile foundation.

More by Jarret Keene

  • Death on Two Rails

    Salvadoran journalist rides the deadly migrant trail
    • Jan 16, 2014
  • Daft Punk and Beyond

    Some of our critics' favorite albums of the year, part one
    • Dec 26, 2013
  • Thighs Like Us

    Ron Terpening's Cloud Cover reveals a sexy supporting character
    • Dec 19, 2013
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Facebook Recommendations

The Range

Tonight: Red Medicine and Our Sacred Maiz is Our Mother

Harry Potter's Quite the Rap Cover Artist

Double Release Day for Fort Lowell Records

More »

Latest in Rhythm & Views

Most Commented On

  • Hard Lessons

    On the other side of his struggles (and with the help of Gabriel Sullivan), Billy Sedlmayr is telling his story on "Charmed Life"
    • Oct 2, 2014
  • Soundbites

    Your best bets for Halloween
    • Oct 30, 2014
  • More »

Facebook Activity

Tucson Weekly on Facebook

© 2014 Tucson Weekly | 3725 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation