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

The Range

The Weekly List: 23 Things To Do In The Next 10 Days

Nine Questions: DJQ

More »

Latest in Rhythm & Views

  • Rhythm & Views

    American Monoxide “In Flight Mode” (People In A Position To Know)
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Rhythm & Views

    Wight Lhite “Beyond the Satellites” (Paisley Shirt Records)
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Guitar Hero

    Tucson-raised Robby Lochner always managed to earn a living with his guitar. Then his discipline inspired new life in a suicidal nostalgia act.
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Vintage Vinyl Tucson

    This week: The Spiders 'Don’t Blow Your Mind' b/w 'No Price Tag'
    • Nov 24, 2016
  • More »

Facebook Activity

© 2016 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation