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Converge - "No Heroes " (CD)

Converge - "No Heroes " CD cover image

"No Heroes " track listing:

1 Heartache
2 Hellbound
3 Sacrifice
4 Vengeance
5 Weight Of The World
6 No Heroes
7 Plagues
8 Grim Heart/Black Rose
9 Orphaned
10 Lonewolves
11 Versus
12 Trophy Scars
13 Bare My Teeth
14 To The Lions

Reviewed by on February 8, 2007

"Converge have birthed a beautiful, fully developed and ill tempered progeny in “No Heroes.”"

Few bands are as initially off-putting as Converge. The shrill, dissonant guitars, erratic time signatures and unrepentantly hostile vocals coalesce into an arresting experience. Critics and fans have been praising the band for more than 15 years, as much for their unbridled fury on record as their unflinching passion in the live setting. “No Heroes” finds Converge reinforcing the gritty fury of 2001's “Jane Doe”, while not entirely abandoning the adventurous musicality of 2003's “You Fail Me.”

Never given to subtlety, Converge are quick to remind the listener what they are capable of. A shriek of distortion followed by plodding riffs greets the listener on album opener “Heartache.” Ushered by accelerating kick drums, vocalist Jacob Bannon enters the fray with his lacerated-throat screams. By this point, pets and the uninitiated will have promptly left the room. “Hellbound,” “Vengeance” and the title track wallow in an instrumental violence and sonic delirium that today’s metalcore acts claim their very inspiration from but fail or fear to achieve. The first five tracks combined equate to just over seven minutes, a fact the inattentive listener will not have observed. The arrangements are a literal maze of passages, packed with hairpin turns but few dead ends, one track usually bleeds into the next. Offsetting the band's most violent outbursts, are a handful of subversively melodic songs. While the album's centerpiece, “Grim Heart/Black Rose,” makes wise use of clean vocals, “Trophy Scars” comes off as a bit angsty for a band whose trademark is guttural rage.

“No Heroes” finds Converge at the top of their game, clasping tightly to the “Jane Doe” intensity with a touch of the spit and polish found on “You Fail Me.” Vocalist Jacob Bannon is so unapproachably furious that it seems an entire swat team would fail to subdue him. Guitarist Kurt Ballou pitches one riff tantrum after another, while Nate Neton and Ben Koller ensnare the listener in a web of bludgeoning rhythms. Any Converge fan that found “You Fail Me”'s more digestible appeal a bit repellent may want to give the band another shot. Converge have birthed a beautiful, fully developed and ill tempered progeny in “No Heroes.”

Highs: The first six tracks are phenomenal demonstrations of unadulterated aggression.

Lows: “Trophy Scars” disrupts the mood.

Bottom line: “No Heroes” is a nearly blemish-free demonstration of Converge at their finest.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)