If you love heavier, more direct music, and you happen to be from the Boston/ Salem Massachusetts area, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have heard of Salem’s own Converge. This band has been making noisy awe inspiring music for over twenty years now, and if you’ve heard their last few records, you know that they’re only getting better. Today I gave you my Top Ten Best Converge songs. Rock on, and enjoy!
10. Jane Doe, Jane Doe
We open our Top Ten Converge songs with the first of four title tracks(For some reason they take up the first four spots on our list.) Anyway, many consider “Jane Doe” to be the landmark metal record of the time, and it’s well within reason. The album as a whole is blistering and emotional, but it’s this song, which clocks in at over eleven minutes long that seals the deal in regards to the albums overall greatness. Jacob Bannon screams and tears through the track, but the real star here is the melody and scope the band manages to present. When Kurt Ballou belts “I Want Out,” you feel the intensity of the situation. Having said that, it’s not an easy thing to keep the in your face momentum, but Converge seem to do it without missing a beat.
9. Axe to Fall, Axe to Fall
“Axe to Fall” is an unrelenting track in an unrelenting world. Theres’ no other place to start really. The song is unbridled in it’s appetites for destruction, but that’s how it goes in the world of Converge. The song comes in at a quick and you’ll miss it two minutes, but it’s so insane for it’s duration that even that length leaves you needing a breather. The drums are completely rabid here, but that’s not to disregard the other important musical moments. Few bands are as furious as Converge, and it’s a song like this that makes you aware of just how good the band is.
8. You Fail Me, You Fail Me
Number eight on our Top Ten Converge songs comes from what’s probably my second favorite album the band has ever done. This album was hailed upon it’s release, and it’s extremely well deserved. The guitar parts here are brooding and dark, and the overall themes of the song pull you into a chaotic trance that follows you all day everyday. I love the way the background vocals simply poke out every so often, and how they move the song alone. Going back to the guitars though, the chord progression around the two minute mark is done superbly, and it’s pulled straight from a dark, midnight suspense thriller. When I hear “You Fail Me,” I can’t help but imagine a dark, smoky cabin in the woods, and the people there who have no idea that not only has trouble found them, but that it’s already too late.
7. All We Love We Leave Behind, All We Love We Leave Behind
More or less, Converge seem to get better as they go. I’m not trying to say they might be the metal Radiohead, but how they build their craft, as well as the dynamic they seem to have with each other makes me think of the aforementioned British band. This song, off their most recent record, is a prime example of how far they’ve come. The gradual build of guitar, bass and drums is perfect, and quite simply, it’s a more mature and contemplative song than they may have been capable of years earlier. Ben Koller’s drums are as precise and rapid as drums can be in the genre, and the beat never leaves them. Bannon’s vocals also depict hopefulness in a world where it’s hard to find, but ultimately it’s too late. In this case, sadly the title of “All We Love We Leave Behind” is true.
6. Hell to Pay, Jane Doe
This steady song takes the bands places that they hadn’t ventured to before, but it’s an awesome song nonetheless. The lyrics though are the main attraction for me on this one. It’s a cool calm type of delivery that you don’t get too much in the genre, but maybe more bands need to take a cue from this Salem boys, because clearly they’ve been doing the right thing for a long time now. “Hell to Pay” is no exception. The bass part is highly original and really fuses the unnerving aspects of the song into one nice, albeit dark bow. There’s a reason this record is held with such high regard.
5. First Light/ Last Light, You Fail Me
If “Jane Doe” is the band's masterpiece, then “You Fail Me” is the point in which it became clear that this band was going to keep evolving and challenging themselves and their listeners with brilliant music. The opening of “First Light” forebodes coming anger, but by the time “Last Light” echoes out in the world, it’s already too late to turn back. It’s a song full of positivity and light, and the lyrics drive that point home. Converge is able to go dark when it’s needed, but they’re also adept at giving light to hopeless situations and informing us that all is not lost, and that we need to “Keep breathing, Keep living, Keep searching, Keep pushing.”
4. Hanging Moon, You Fail Me
Another off this solid record, number four on the Top Ten Converge songs list comes to “Hanging Moon.” The drumming, and volatile sound propels the song in a exacting direction, and although it’s not exactly danceable, there’s a certain groove to the song that makes it easy to let go in. Bannon’s vocals and the way they get delivered are erratic in the best way possible, but there’s a human element there that really speaks to me. It’s almost as if he’s not even trying to sound perfect because in songs like this the spirit and energy of the message are what’s of the utmost importance.
3. Fault and Fracture, Jane Doe
There’s no better description for this song than the title, and that might be why this killer of a song works so well. It rampant in it’s need for danger, and the crashing of the cymbals and the aggression of the guitar only solidifies it’s ferociousness. Having been fortunate enough to see this band twice over the years, this song really captures the intensity of the live show, and trust me, it’s absolutely insane to see this four guys murdering it on stage. It’s a sight, and on songs like “Fault and Fracture,”the band doesn’t leave any stone unturned.
2. Dark Horse, Axe to Fall
One of the best opening songs on any albums, this tracks starts the album off in a perfectly driven way. the chants during the chorus, adding intensity to the ever growing stubbornness of the guitars and drums to never give up, really make the song one of their best songs period. The whole album has a sort of immediate response to it, but in the end it’s the number wo song on my list of the Top Ten Converge songs that sets it going in the right direction. I mean, c’mon, that guitar part is face melting at it’s best, and Converge deserve all the recognition they get for truly pushing the boundaries of what metal should be.
1. Concubine, Jane Doe
“Concubine,” which opens the seminal “Jane Doe” album not only delivers in its brutality, but it also brings us into the world of the unsuspecting “Jane Doe.” The song, at a brief one minute and nineteen seconds, explodes from the first seconds and doesn’t let up. Ballou’s guitars, Bannon’s vocals,and the overall anger of the song drive points home that sometimes get lost in modern metal, but like i said previously, Converge is one of the only bands doing things in the genre that are worthwhile. A Big part of that is the genius behind the severely revered record. It’s been probably ten years since this song was first introduced in my life, but as you can see, it’s still their best song to me without question,and “Concubine,” as well as the entirety of the “Jane Doe”record, really drives home the importance of the band. Thanks for reading.
Landon Murray is a published writer and an avid lover of music, books and films. He's also a lover of the New Orleans Saints. He was born in 1982 and has a chainsaw tattoo on his arm.
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