Converge- No Heroes

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Converge has always been one of the frontrunners of the extreme metal and hardcore punk genres of music, blending extremely intricate instrumental compositions with blistering vocals. With their latest album, No Heroes, the group is just as loud as ever. While not as experimental as 2001’s Jane Doe, Converge instead focuses on a mix between extremely fast paced assaults on listeners’ senses with a brief break for the 9 minute epic “Grim Heart/Black Rose” which hints at a doom metal sound. But everything works well, and even if fans don’t regard it as the band’s best, they will find it to be yet another high point in the career of a group that has outlasted many of their peers.

Jacob Bannon’s intense screaming is what makes each and every song on No Heroes intense. His screams are extremely deep and his style sounds like almost no other vocalist out there. It really baffles the mind to think that Bannon has been able to keep this style up for so many years, as his performance on Converge’s latest album is just as heavy as any of their previous work. The song “Grim Heart/Black Rose” features ex Only Living Witness vocalist Jonah Jenkins singing, which brings an interesting change in sound to the traditional Converge style song. But despite this, the focus is still undeniably on Bannon. His lyrics may no longer solely revolve around failed relationships, but this actually helps to make things even more interesting. Jacob Bannon has always been an excellent songwriter, and this shows clearer than ever on No Heroes.

Converge’s instrumentalists always seem to push the limits of their playing, composing extremely intricate riffs and drum beats that move by at a blistering pace. No Heroes continues this tradition and sees guitarist Kurt Ballou producing extremely intricate and heavy riffs while bassist Nate Newton fleshes out the sound, sometimes almost acting as a rhythm guitarist through bass playing. In addition to this drummer Ben Koller constantly changes his drum beats and grooves, bringing some variety to a genre that often sees drummers repeating the same double bass drum patterns over and over again. With complicated riffs that will shred away at listeners’ ears, Converge is clearly still at the top of their game. And good luck to any bands that hope to cover songs from this album, as the riffs may end up being pretty hard to decipher.

Hardcore fans that have been following the genre for any extended period of time have most likely run into Converge at one point or another. And while No Heroes isn’t as experimental as Jane Doe (the album that many consider worthy of almost classic status), it is an aggressive release that fans and newcomers will be able to enjoy in unison. Despite being around for over 15 years, Converge is still surprisingly at the top of their game.

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