Converge – You Fail Me (CD)

I’ve gotten into many an argument about how revolutionary Converge was, and “You Fail Me” starts out in a way that backs my argument perfectly – while they are not immediately able to be thrown in a genre, they are not changing the face of music with each note of “You Fail Me”. In fact, “Widows” is a track that lacks anything in the way of harmony and song-structure, and it is only during “Black Cloud” that some sort of argument can be made against mine. With a more radio-friendly metal sound for “Black Cloud”, including an echoed-out chorus and fairly straight-forward sound, Converge shows that they are much more impressive when working under constraint. The amoung of freedom given each individual member of the band seems too much for them to bear – while the drums, bass, and drums are all intricately played, they are at odds with one another throughout most of the disc. Things may come together fairly well during tracks like “Drop Out”, but again, this is only when more traditional structures are followed.

The one things that stands out for me in the first third of the disc is the breakdown in the aforementioned “Drop Out”, in which guitars, drums, and vocals all align to make a brutal-yet-impressive amorphous mass of sound. Other tracks seem to blend into the background, even with “Heartless Bonham” using drums similar to Sepultura; the track just treads the same ground over and over, and even more than that, just seems uninspired, even during their brief bouts with differing time signatures. The brooding nature of the title track is a shot in the arm for the entire disc – the plodding bass lines and drum beats push the track into realms that would make newer Metallica and Korn members, even if the contually screamed out vocals keep the bass and drums away from total irrelevance.

“In Her Shadow” is the first major derivation from the formula that Converge works with on the entirety of “You Fail Me”, allowing for a more ethereal sound to creep into the mix, during the 2-minute acoustic leadup. Still, the rest of the track is fairly uninspired, allowing for a set of tragic vocals to creep through that reminds listeners more of Marilyn Manson than Sick of It All or Minor Threat. For background music, “You Fail Me” is a fairly solid listen, keeping a fast tempo to exhort listeners on, but substantively, it leaves listeners clamoring for more.

Top Tracks: Eagles, Black Cloud

Rating: 5.5/10

Converge – You Fail Me / 2004 Epitaph / 12 Tracks / http://www.epitaph.com / Reviewed 06 November 2004

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