In case you have been living under a rock for the past decade, CONVERGE are without a doubt a modern-day version of BLACK FLAG meaning they not only grow as musicians but musically they make leaps and bounds with just about every album they put out and that's by far the hardest thing for a band to do. Doesn't matter if you are average Joe rocker whose knowledge of music doesn't exist past NIRVANA, or if you are a thuper-duper underground music fan extraordinaire who skeets themselves to that INFEST seven-inch you purchased off EBay last Tuesday night, CONVERGE are beyond those clichés and are constantly evolving, creating, pushing boundaries, and again growing at a rate that's very hard to hold onto if you aren't lucky enough you just might miss a damn good musical evolution happening.
2001's “Jane Doe” was and is their break-through album into the more mainstream conscious. It also solidified their status as modern day's Metal/Hardcore/Punk keepers of the old guard while opening their doors open to a new generation. The best way to describe CONVERGE is in their own words: “A bunch of Hardcore kids with left-over SLAYER riffs”....couldn't be too far from the truth because musically it's extremely caustic, suffocating, and at times cathartic. “Jane Doe” is essentially an album that shows one man's love and passion for music more so than the company of a woman. It's the ultimate middle-finger to conventional ideas of love and lost and it's full of raw fucking emotion. Like this is the emotion that you get when your ex says certain things that feel like WWIII went off in your head at a second's notice.
The songs here don't range for the most part. They simply start/stop at moments and in those moments are where we find the raw emotion this album conveys. Jacob Bannon's voice sounds like the howling and buzzing of a swarm of locusts swooping down to prey upon its victims. Kurt Ballou's guitar tone is without a doubt heavy enough to remind Metalheads of the likes of ENTOMBED, GODFLESH, and the likes while giving Indie music fans a taste of THE JESUS LIZARD and FUGAZI where he so ever cited for the inspiration for this album. Nate Newton's bass gives the band a MOTORHEAD almost DISCHARGE-like fuzz where drummer Ben Koller delivers a Hardcore Punk-like battery against the skins....all of this which creates a super mega-charged explosion of pure energy from the band that goes off like a nuclear missile annihilating the weak, false and incinerating the fat in a furnace of aggression that not too many bands can achieve.
From the opening micro-E blasts of “Concubine” to the murderous diatribe that is the title track, we see no shortage of not only riffs, breakdowns, moments, but lyrics as well. Take for instance the simple line to the song “The Broken Vow” where we have lead singer Jacob Bannon shredding his vocal chords with a powerful bellowing back-up gang chant “I'll take my love to the grave.” This isn't some ho-hum teenage love song. This is a song about Jacob Bannon having to make a choice between his love for his music and artwork or the female that inspired him to do such a manic-like album. There's even a two-part song where we get a more ethereal haunting side to CONVERGE'S music with “Phoenix In Flight” only to end in a noisy build-up with the 42-second “Phoenix In Flames” almost as if Jacob Bannon didn't convince the listener enough of how much bitterness and anger he feels to having to make a decision in a way.
“Jane Doe” is like a runaway train going at break-neck speed through your living room and the band is clearly off the rails in a good way. Like the Tasmanian Devil destroying anything and everything in a cyclone of violence only to stop briefly for some grunts, groans, and indecipherable language, CONVERGE basically keep doing that and have been doing that to this day. Recently they just released a split with U.K. Grindcore legends NAPALM DEATH. If that right there isn't enough to possibly give you an idea of how chaotic CONVERGE is, then my friend you are missing out on a stroke-inducing album. “Jane Doe” is what happens when the right influences, the right energy, the right passion, everything just fits right into place and is you in all of its shining brightness is unleashed in musical form.
(Online August 24, 2012)